Anagram Records Label...
ENAR JONSSON QUINTET / SEXTET
- Gothenberg 1965-1969
an interview with Enar Jonsson on Swedish Radio's P2 "Mitt i Musiken"
Jonsson interviewed by Jens Möller, 31 Maj 2005)
In the period 1967/8 jazz
took on a harder edge. The influence of the later John Coltrane
recordings, together with the music of Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler
and Archie Shepp began to be heard widely.
In Sweden, American JATP
Concerts organized by Norman Granz continued apace, bringing artists
like Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson and Ella
Fitzgerald to Stockholm, but now there were also other tours with
Ornette Coleman playing his legendary concert at the Golden Circle,
Archie Shepp played with Roswell Rudd and his group and Peter
Brotzmann paid his earliest visits.
Don Cherry was a resident in
Sweden and he too was preaching, through his playing, freedom and
multiculturalism in jazz, which included his own learning from the
Indian musician Ram Narayan. Terry Riley did his legendary concert
at Nacka School which trickled down into the playing of Swedish
groups such as the Bengt Enryd Septet and a group led by Bo Anders
Persson. Bengt “Frippe” Nordström was playing his strange brand of
free music and Per Henrik Wallin began to demonstrate his piano
genius. There was in general a wind of change blowing through
The “Moderna” museum, over a
period from 1968 to the mid 1970’s, ran concerts which included
“Gong” in their first incarnation on a psychedelic weekend in March
1968 which brought together the likes of New Zealand philosopher
John Esam and the bizarre Scottish performer Ron Geesin.
Gothenberg was also the
scene for new beginnings. The “Kulturhuset” was regularly the venue
for visiting post-modern American jazz groups whose music fed down
to local jazzmen like Gilbert Holmström, Enar Jonsson, Ove
Johansson, Gunnar Lindgren and Thomas Felhing who all began to
experiment in free jazz forms.
Enar Jonsson started his
first group in 1964 and from 1967 regularly led both a quintet and a
sextet until the band folded in 1969. The rewards financially were
negligible but musical integrity was at a premium. The musicians
wrote their own music and the compositions included extended
collective improvisations not dissimilar to some of the playing of
Don Cherry with Bernt Rosengren, Tommy Koverhult, Maffy Falay et al
Anagram CD 9 “Enar Jonsson Quintet & Sextet – Gothenberg 1965-1969”
The tracks on the present CD
vary from seven minutes to almost 18 minutes. The music is strong
with an “in your face”, no compromise feeling. It is perhaps
appropriate that one track is called Malcolm X and another is a
tribute to the children of Vietnam. This was musicians creating
music of their time, reflecting the events and attitudes of their
lives. Le Roi Jones / Amiri
Baraka, the African-American poet also sometime record producer and
writer on jazz, is often quoted as saying that is how it should be -
true jazz music must come from the ethnic, social and economic
circumstances of the players.
It is a sad fact that too
little of the music made at the time found outlets on record or even
survived in archives or collections. Only Gilbert Holmström and his
formation from the Gothenberg group of free jazzmen were recorded
but thankfully Swedish Radio broadcast live concerts and the music
of Enar Jonsson survived the strictures of erasing or over-playing
of tapes, common at the time, to be archived.
In this case a veritable
treasure of Swedish free jazz was unearthed and it is jazz that age
has not withered nor custom staled in its infinite variety. It
sounds as fresh as the day it was played. Importantly it is music
that is as good as almost anything played at the time. Enar Jonsson
leads with fine strong trumpet and flugelhorn and the two
saxophonists, Jan Forslund and Ove Johansson play some powerful
tenor. Sten Löfman added the extra dimension to the sextet on piano.
The bass and drums provided some problems and three drummers play on
the various tracks namely Lage Bäcklund, Hans Mattson and Göran
Levin. Similarly three bassists were involved, Björn Rabbe, Börje
Svensson and Claes Wallin.
Finally there is a bonus
track with classical Opera singer Marta Scheele stretching the group
with her vocal range. On this track Enar Jonsson plays a homemade
instrument called a “Bromton” and Jan Forslund plays alto saxophone
The final question is what
of the musicians today? Well good jazz musicians keep going, driven
by some inner force. Sten Löfman recorded not so long ago with a
group called “Jazz and Art” and, together with Susanna Lindeborg, Ove
Johansson has played with “Mwendo Dawa” since the Seventies and as
recently as 2003 they were recorded by the Swedish label LJ Records.
Jan Forsland played on
recordings of the Lars Jansson Bohuslän Big Band on the Phono Suecia
CD “Pearl Blue” in 1996 and with the same group on Imogea CD “One
Painting One Poem” 1998.
As for Enar Jonsson he is
still active, playing regularly and has been waiting eagerly for the release
of this CD. It is long overdue but after almost 40 years it is a
fitting tribute to talented and devoted musicians whose playing as a
group was overlooked at the time. Perhaps today with the benefit of
hindsight, all jazz lovers will realise that here was Swedish jazz
that deserved a better hearing.