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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Anna Högberg: The Reviews I

Se Och Hör – Se Mig, Hör Mig, Känn Mig (Signal And Sound Records, 2017) ****½

By Gustav Lindqvist

Se Och Hör is back! This time the quartet has Swedish vibraphone phenomenon Mattias Ståhl joining the group, and what a quintet they become on this their sophomore album!

Niklas Barnö — Trumpet
Barnö can be heard in different constellations, but most recently with Fire! Orchestra. His contribution to ‘Anders Ahlén Unit’s album ‘Lines And Dot’ is also worth checking out. Ahlén who’s also running the small record label Signal And Sound Records, which happens to also release this new album by Se Och Hör.

Anna Högberg — Saxophone
Anna Högberg, the Swedish free jazz alto steamroller! The past two years she’s been involved in so many highly regarded albums and I get the feeling Anna’s only getting started. With her own group Anna Högberg Attack we got run over by their self-titled debut in 2016, free jazz trio Doglife released their sophomore album ‘Fresh from the ruins’ just before the new year, Paal Nilssen-Love’s Pan-Scan Ensemble also released a new album with Anna on the alto, and of course her work with Mats Gustafssons Fire! Orchestra.

Emil Skogh — Bass
Double Bassist Skogh plays on the Anders Ahlén Unit’s album Lines And Dot, but is also a pianist. I’ve heard and seen him with Musikerförbundet playing live at Brötz together with Lisa Ullén on piano and Lise-Lott Norelius on drums.

Dennis Egberth — Drums
Egberth can be heard playing many different styles, most recently on the pop/rock/indie album (it’s difficult to put this album in one single genre) ‘The Blood Is Full’ with ‘The Hanged Man’. He’s also a member of Saigon which is sometimes electronic and sometimes pop and sometimes in between.
Mattias Ståhl — Vibraphone

I need to do a final count, but discogs says I’ve got 14 albums with Ståhl playing. There’s Angels 8, Angels 9 & Ståhls Trio. There’s also his highly recommended work with saxophonist Fredrik Nordström and Per Texas Johansson. The full discography of Ståhl is extensive, and very much worth checking out in detail.

First of all. The addition of Ståhl to the quartet is brilliant. The pure madness which Se Och Hör deliver from time to time is perfectly balanced by the cool vibraphone. However, Ståhl is a master of all trades. He can be fierce and with a sense of urgency but also sugary sweet and mellow.

On Se Mig, Hör Mig, Känn Mig, Se Och Hör presents 7 tracks, with the longest one being just shy of 8 minutes. There’s a very broad mix of different sceneries being presented. From the dissonant circusesque theme in the closing song ‘Brorsan (Bro) to ‘Om och om igen’ (Over and over again) in which the feeling of sitting in a kitchen watching the rain pouring down outside is distilled to around 4 minutes. Then there’s the playful feeling of Sparven’ (Sparrow) with Ståhl playing a beautiful solo in the best Milt Jackson style that one could ever ask for, and on ‘Gasen i botten’ (Full Throttle) not only do we get an extended cool double bass intro, we’re then off into a playful collaboration between Högberg and Barnö. There’s a lyrical conversation happening which naturally gets my thoughts to the Ayler brothers.

In summary this is an album which has many colors, many emotions and a scene which allows for anything to happen. It’s music with feelings, it’s playful and free. The more I listen to it the more I realize that it’s an album that works for the whole day. From early morning having tea to late night having a party. In ‘Sparven’ I like them best. It goes from playful to madness to playful again.
Highly recommended!


MJG said...

What a shame that Stahl isn't featured more. His contributions raise the tracks he plays on to another level

Mr Saxobeat said...

@MJG I couldn't agree more.