The Reviews-bg

Lasse Lindgren Big Constellation Plays in the Spirit of Maynard Ferguson

Swedish trumpeter  Lasse Lindgren pays tribute to one of his greatest idols, Maynard Ferguson who died last year, with a CD featuring a large jazz group that is a complete energy knockout, from the opening “Birdland”, the Joe Zawinul classic in an almost ecstatic version, to the conclusion with the Ferguson favourite “I Got The Spirit”.

And between these for instance was Ferguson’s hit ballad “Maria” from Bernstein’s “West Side Story”, in an ultra-cool interpretation with blues-soaked solo playing by Lindgren, with imaginatively arranged brass and wind parts.

In fact the brass and wind arrangements are an outstanding part of the whole production, colourful and hard driving, but at the same time very well disciplined in the elegant collective ensemble sound.

Equally remarkable are the solo contributions, often interwoven in the ensemble with maestro Lindgren in a central role. A powerful rhythm section and the extra spice of a Hammond organ hardly make things less appetising.

This is some of the best Swedish jazz by a large ensemble that I have heard in a long time.

Ulf Gustavsson/Uppsala Nya Tidning

Pull up a chair and listen to this wonderful Sandviken Big Band and this superb trumpeter, Lasse Lindgren.

This will be some very pleasureable listening for any Big Band fans and especially if you like a lot of high-powered trumpet acrobatics. Lasse Lindgren is one of the new breed of young players who has spent a tremendous amount of time learning a lot about the various styles of trumpet playing throughout history. You’ll hear a lyrical ballad style ala Harry James; you’ll hear tremendous technical facility ala Doc Severinsen; you’ll hear influences of Maynard Ferguson and Arturo Sandoval’s upper register skills; and tucked away in there are Swing and Be-Bop influences of Dizzy Gillespie and especially Clark Terry and Roy Eldrige.

As a trumpet player myself, I can tell you he is really SOMETHING ELSE!! The Sandviken Big Band sounds better then ever. I had the opportunity to perform with them a couple of years ago and was more than impressed at that time, but NOW, they sound BETTER, STRONGER; MORE EXITING. It sounds as though they really loved doing this recording. The energy level is really explosive and the swing feel overall is just wonderful!

My compliments also to the arrangers, very nice writing. I hope the entire musical world gets the opportunity to hear this super CD! Thanks for being there guys! 

Bobby Shew, Jazz trumpet artist

”WALKIN’ AROUND” With Lasse Lindgren Hip Bop Constellation

Electric energy. The most energy-packed CD of the year.

It’s not difficult to heap superlatives over Lindgren’s Hip Bop Constellation, a group with drive and agility both among the soloists and in the ensemble work. 
A glowing CD! --- Orkester Journalen

….both in the matter of solo playing and composition Lindgren’s music is a kind of summary of the streams in both jazz and other related music of today, but with a pronounced individual attitude, fresh, stimulating and devoid of jumping on any bandwagon.

In general the group consists of players who can meet the challenge of the music at every level. Vital, engaging jazz music. --- Jonny Olsson, Nya Vermlandstidning

I have come to realise that Swedish jazz is in the highest division but this is the best that I have heard for some time. ”Walkin’ Around” is quite simply great music by great musicians. --- Jens Rosengren, Gävle Dagbladet

You can’t help liking it. It really swings, sensitive cohesion and excellent improvisations. --- Blekinge läns tidning

……elegance and tastefullness coupled to excellence makes interesting listening and with many good solos from everyone involved. I would not want to be without this CD. --- Ljusnan

Among new Swedish jazz Cds there is one that stands out. It is Lasse Lindgren’s ”Walkin’ Around”. Seldom does a group feel so tight and cohesive as this one. There is big city jazz and Nordic sounds, there is hard swing and ballads, there is space for soloists even if it is the work of a collective ensemble. --- Mats Palmquist, Borås Tidning

…excellent ideas. --- International Trumpet Guild

In the Mood for Standards

One has to ask oneself if Lasse Lindgren’s Constellations with “In the Mood for Standards” (Imogena) haven’t surpassed themselves. Just the fact that they have dared to do eleven standards that have been played over and over for decades.

The oldest one, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” from 1929, comes from the 1930 film of the same name but is best known for Fred Astaire’s performance in 1946 in the film “Blue Skies”. Even Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” is included!

Trumpeter Lasse Lindgren mixes big band, quartet and a 7-piece band so that one’s interest never wanes. Interpretations in the tradition, that’s true, but free from clichés and patent phrases. Lasse’s arrangements give new life to the tunes and his own playing is a delight to hear. Lend an ear also to pianist Tommy Kotter (all the time).

Tor-Björn Lyrhed, “The Jazz Bag” Linköpingsposten

Here trumpeter Lasse Lindgren plays music from Astrid Lindgren’s stories. We can hear tunes that we have heard many times before, written mainly by Georg Riedel but also by Jan Johansson, Bengt Hallberg, Benny Andersson, Björn Isfält and Ulf Björlin. Besides Lasse’s trumpet and flugelhorn we can hear Tommy Kotter, piano, Peter Jansson, bass, and David Sundby, drums.

The recording is made with sensitive ears by sound engineer Åke Linton in December 2002. The idea of using these tunes as a basis for jazz interpretation is both daring and interesting. Many of them have become established in our consciousness in a particular special version but this quartet gives them new colours and sounds. Just listen to the blues feeling in ”Fattig Bonddräng” or the intimate bass playing of Peter Janson in ”Mio Min Mio”.

Lasse Lindgrens brassy trumpet is full of enthusiasm and ”Du käre lille snickarbo” gets a swinging interpretation. His flugelhorn is more round at the edges and ”Ge mig mera köttbullar” becomes a warm samba after an introduction by Tommy Kotter who throughout the CD plays with a personality all his own. He opens up the music and gives it new depth.

Here undoubtedly is jazz for for both young and grown-up ears. The quartet plays with tight precision and Tommy Kotter’s inquisitive piano playing makes this CD definitely worth the price.

Torsten Eckerman

Lasse Lindgren Constellations : In the Mood for Standards

If you can’t find anything else to record you can always take some standards and it will seldom be wrong. In fact it can be extremely good as in the case of Lasse Lindgren Constellations who are right on the target with tunes like Bluesette, Summertime, Body and Soul, Puttin’ on the Ritz, In the Mood and others.

Here Lasse Lindgren plays with three groups, Big Constellation, Hip Bop Constellation and Quartet Constellation, in other words with groups containing a different number of musicians. It is a question of taste which group you prefer, perhaps according to your mood. The quartet makes beautiful music, the large group has an enormous power and the Hip Bop group swings.

Lasse Lindgren sets his sights high with his trumpet, not least in Summertime. Give yourself time to listen to Lasse Lindgren Constellations, you can’t go wrong. These are daredevils who master the craft.

Lennart Götesson, Dalademokraten

West coast trumpeter Lasse Lindgren has flipped! But what a good idea it was to to do jazz versions of all the good music from the films and TV series of Astrid Lindgren’s stories! Some of the best musicians in the country were engaged in that process – Jan Johansson, Georg Riedel, Bengt Hallberg and Benny Andersson to name some of them.

Lasse Lindgren, with a background in the Danish Radio Big Band is truly a competent player, but obviously also a man with a gleam in his eye. He interprets this music completely respectlessly, unconventionally and with much humour. The different characteristics of each tune are given their own treatment in a jazz fashion.

All the musicians in this constellation are on the same wavelength. Besides Lasse Lindgren they are pianist Tommy Kotter, bass player Peter Janson and drummer David Sundby. With energy and musicality the well-known songs are given new life.

It really sparkles around Pippi, Emil, Kalle Teodor, Sjorövar Fabbe and everyone at Saltkråkan, not to mention many other figures.

Stig Johansson

LASSE LINDGREN CONSTELLATIONS : "In the mood for standards"

6 out of 6

Gothenburg trumpeter Lasse Lindgren goes for the knockout punch directly in the 1960’s classic Watermelon Man and goes on to bring older standards up to date with bright new arrangements for quartet, septet and a muscular big band – all with musicians that play with a lust for life and with tight cohesion.

On stage 44-year-old Lindgren is equally impressive and demonstrates with a fat and penetrating tone in inspired solos that he is one of the very few who can walk in Maynard Ferguson’s footprints without making it sound like a parody.

Martin Erlandsson, Hallands Nyheter

Gazell Records

Sweden’s favourite writer of children’s books Astrid Lidgren also wrote many songs that were given music by well known Swedish jazz musicians such as Jan Johansson, Georg Riedel and Bengt Hallberg.

Trumpet and flugelhorn player Lasse Lindgren, well known as lead trumpeter in Denmark Radio’s Big Band, has come up with the idea of giving jazz treatments to these songs in the belief that they will be suitable ”both in junior day schools and jazz clubs”. I myself didn’t believe that jazz versions of ”Här kommer Pippi Långstrump”, ”Sjörövar Fabbe”, ”Lille katt”, and ”Jag gör så att blommorna blomma” would make good listening but the fact is that the jazz comes to full bloom in the hands of musicians such as Lindgren, pianist Tommy Kotter, bassist Peter Janson and drummer David Sundby.

I’m sure that dear Astrid, who was so broad minded would have loved the music.

Uno Ohlsson

Trumpeter Lasse Lindgren – who could show you a list as long as your arm of national and international collaborations within many different areas of musical activity – works on his home ground with three different bands. These are a Quartet Constellation, a Hip Bop Constellation (a sextet) and a Big Constellation, which is a full-size big band. In each case they are hand-picked elite groups, and they have been collected in a studio to botanise in the standard repertoire. The three groups share more or less equally the eleven titles on the CD.

And it can stated without hesitation that this is an impressive presentation in every respect, both from the professionalism of the musicianship in the ensemble work as well as the creative capacity of the soloists. Another plus are the arrangements: Some of them are the work of the leader himself and the remainder are from the pens of such as Daniel Nolgård, Christer Olofsson, Mikael Råberg, Johan Pyykö and Leif Halldén. In other words seriously creative musicians of the highest order.

It is fresh, insolent, beautiful, funny, well written and very skilfully played. Practically everyone makes fantastic solo contributions and should be named for their considerable talents. Pianist Tommy Kotter, baritone saxophonist Alberto Pinton and alto saxophonisten Johan Pyykkö are just some of them. And from beginning to end Lindgren plays brilliantly. His trumpet is rich in imagination, agile and fiery. Apart from everything else the man has a high register that Maynard Ferguson, who recently passed away, would have applauded. The CD by the way is dedicated to his memory. Lindgren’s fondness for lyrical reflection comes to the fore in his flugelhorn version of the ballad “Nature Boy”. This CD is an artistic trial of strength and a must – not only for trumpeters but also for anyone interested in hearing how tradition is reflected in the music of today. Don’t miss it! 

Johnny Olsson, Nya Vermlands Tidningen (NWT)

Free, lyrical, inspired and original - these words came to me when I first heard Lasse with the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, and they remain the ones I pass on you. The feeling of Scandinavia is strong, the senses of just beginning a search, of not being instructed where to go by prevailing winds, and the ability to inspire cooperation and devotion in his band is everywhere.

The writing is fresh and his alone. The unity in the band is most impressive, and the individuals remain themselves, while contributing to a musical union. I played with them, and I know how good it is. 

Proceed with my blessing. 

Bob Brookmeyer