Jazz: Young, gifted and Swedish

ANDERS BERGCRANTZ BULLS HEAD

LONDON

AS HE rather sheepishly admitted in his introductions, there is a note of fraudulence about trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz and his quartet appearing in the Swedish Jazz Extravaganza, an event which is dominating the jazz calendar in London this week. Two members of the band come from Denmark.

On a freezing night in Barnes, though, all four men seemed quite at home, and the soberly-dressed group warmed up a curious audience with unapologetic vigour. Bergcrantz, like most of the leading young voices in European jazz, is scarcely known here, but his several records - mostly on the Stockholm-based Dragon label - are full of bountiful music, and this London debut was an unassumingly exciting occasion.

It's a daring thing for a trumpeter to lead a rhythm section by himself, without the valuable prop of a second horn player as confidante and balance, but one never missed another voice, so graceful and inventive was the leader's playing. If his albums suggested a cutting, sometimes curt intensity, in person he consistently took a more measured line without surrendering the incendiary quality which is a trumpeter's birthright. Opening with "Invitation", a sophisticate's choice of standard, he respectfully set out all the contours of the melody before building a long, complex, but logical improvisation out of it.

That was the pattern for the night, with solo space generously allotted and the players consistently justifying their time. Pianist Carsten Dahl uses a compendium of styles that he melds together so forcefully that one forgets about the derivations and enjoys his infectious brio. Kaspar Vadsholt is the antithesis to the doggedly laidback bassman role. A frenzied puppet of a man, he animated the bandstand by himself. Drummer Peter Nilsson - the other authentic Swede - refused to take any solo limelight, but frequently beat six-dozen bells out of his kit. They do nothing that jazz hasn't already heard before, but they certainly remind you as to why it is still able to sound so exciting.

A slight figure, Bergcrantz gets a smooth and unruffled sound out of the horn, and he's in the tradition of the legato melodists of hard bop, such as Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw. A flugelhorn ballad called "I Won Her Heart" was all shining sweetness. But "Marie Antoinette", a rarely exposed Wayne Shorter tune, was about as severe and abstract as hard bop can get, and they played "Impressions" at a tempo as fast as anyone's ever done it, and it proved itself a superb piece of brinkmanship by the whole band.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea