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JAZZ CD OF THE WEEK.

NILS LANDGREN FUNK UNIT 5000 Miles (ACT): If you wanted to get a band for your get-down-and-greasy millennium cruise liner, Sweden might not be your first port of call. But you'd be missing out on the party of the year.

Swedish trombonist Landgren scored a recent hit to these ears with his "Chet Baker for the 90s" vocal album, but this disc shows his other, even more entertaining, side. With pianist Esbjorn Svensson and the marvellously named bassist Magnum Coltrane Price in the band, and guests of the calibre of Tim Hagans and Roy Hargrove on trumpets, Don Alias on percussion and the legendary James Brown alumnus Fred Wesley on trombone, Landgren has a cooking session on his hands. All the titles are originals with the exception of Bjork's Venus As A Boy. While the soul/funk of the opener Da Fonk sets the good-time mood perfectly you might not care for a whole album of it. And that is exactly what you don't get - the following title track mixes a slowly building pulse beat with a sitar guitar adding a distinctly contrasting mood.

It's this ability to mix jazz, world and soul music in with the funk to create a seamless coat of many colours that singles Landgren out as a real star. For the funk to work you need a tight band too and this is the tightest. HHHH

WORLD CD OF THE WEEK

JOYCE Hard Bossa (Farout): The golden age of Brazilian samba may have passed away with its king and queen, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina, but there are plenty of princes and princesses keeping the traditions alive, and Joyce is perhaps the star of the current crop. Not only is she a lovely singer and guitarist, but she is a strong and versatile composer too. This disc of all-new songs shows her writing in all its glory - melodies that enter heart and mind before you've realised it, leaving you convinced you've known them for ages.

London Samba is a particularly pretty tune and the title track is a reminder of how the best players from Rio can sound laid back without ever sounding bland or wishy-washy. HHHH

L SUBRAMANIAM Global Fusion (Detour): The virtuoso Indian violinist who is equally at home playing classical or jazz fusion, here joins forces with, separately, Indonesian chanters, the Chinese erhu player Jie Bing Chen and flamenco guitarist Jorge Struntz, along with fellow Indian players. He even adds a third country to the mix in some cases, with Australian didgeridoo giving a low cushion to the Burst Wangi Choir. The slowly developing meditational nature of Indian raga mixed with more urgent beats from both Asian and European folk musics makes for some beguiling and sensuous sounds. Fusion in the best sense of the word. HHHH

Peter Bacon
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Author:Bacon, Peter
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 23, 1999
Words:468
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