Can music be gentle and intense, expansive and intimate? Seval answers that question in the affirmative on i know you (482 Music), eight tracks of sonically rich and emotionally uplifting music that is cozy and airy, panoramic and passionate, but never slight or lethargic. Formed by the Chicago-based cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and filled out by Stockholm's Sofia Jernberg (vocals), Patric Thorman (bass), Emil Strandberg (trumpet) and David Stackenäs (acoustic guitar), Seval is rooted in jazz but doesn't stop at jazz's borderline. The quintet's meticulously composed songs stray far enough away from the genre's conventions until Seval, on i know you, emerges with a sound truly their own.
The members of this group are all active in the Swedish new music/improvising scene," says Lonberg-Holm, and this projectwith its fixed melodies and more traditional harmoniesis more of an anomaly for all of us. In spite of the restrictions placed on us by the material, we find a way to re-build and invent the music differently each time."
Lonberg-Holm's background uniquely qualifies him to lead such an adventurous ensemble. The cellist's principal projects have included his Valentine Trio and Lightbox Orchestra, and he has recorded solo records for the Emanem and Flying Aspidistra labels. He is also a member of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago 10tet, Frame Quartet, Friction Brothers and Fast Citizens. Over the years Lonberg-Holm has been credited for work on dozens of jazz, rock, pop, contemporary classical and country recordings.
Although the cello is still something of a rarity in jazz-associated music, Lonberg-Holm looks beyond the accepted notions of what the instrument is capable of. As he told the Swedish magazine Spisa, Rather than having a monolithic idea of what the cello sounds like (and thinking cellists are all of one cloth), now I think a lot of people can hear and recognize individualism on the cello like they can other, more historically common, instruments in improvised music."
Some of the songs on i know you were initially recorded as instrumentals, although most of the lyrics were written at the same time as the music. With the addition of the ethereal voice of Sofia Jernbergwho was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Vietnam before making Stockholm her homethere was little doubt that i know you was meant to include lyrics and vocals. Fleshed out by trumpet, acoustic guitar and bass, the music exhibits a full tapestry of multiple hues and moods.
Although Lonberg-Holm is Swedish in ancestry, and lived there for a couple of years during his childhood, he grew up in America. Still, he says, This project causes me to dig back into my formative years and re-address some of the things one has forgotten (or hidden) for decades." It's safe to say that no one who hears i know you will soon be forgetting this impeccable collection of music from a superb new band of virtuoso musicians.