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Sean Nowell - Stockholm Swingin' (2011)

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Sean Nowell
A blossoming career that started in Birmingham, Alabama recently had a stop all the way over in Stockholm, Sweden. For tenor saxophonist Sean Nowell's third album (all of which are on Posi-Tone Records, by the way), Nowell and drummer Joe Abba flew over to Sweden, joined Frederik Olsson (guitar), Leo Lindberg (piano), and Lars Ekman (bass), toured the country for two weeks, and ended the jaunt at the legendary Glenn Miller Cafe in the capital city. Stockholm Swingin' is a souvenir from that gig. There's no boundaries being pushed on Stockholm Swingin', but everything is done rather well. Old-school straight ahead post-bop jazz with standards like “Blues On The Corner," “Chelsea Bridge" and the local traditional “Ack Värmeland du Sköna" are blended in with originals that sound almost like standards themselves, like the bluesy groove of Lingberg and Olsson's “Harlem Woman" (Youtube below).

Nowell, who has worked with jazz and jazz notables of every stripe, plays sweet but strong sax on this set, not too unlike another American tenor guy who spent a little time in Scandinavia, Dexter Gordon. Lingberg, who is still in his teens, is a talent to keep watch for; his relaxed and in the pocket manner on “Woman" evokes Sonny Clark. Abba shows just what a tasteful rhythmist he is on Duke Ellington's “Amad."

Sean Nowell's alliance of American and European jazzmen is yet another in a long line of successful such coalitions. Stockholm Swingin' released just yesterday, on August 2nd.

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