When Dan Berglund announced he was putting a new band together there was bound to be intense interest.
He had been the double bass player in E.S.T., the piano trio that revolutionised this classic jazz format and found a large, new audience out there in the non-jazz world.
The first time I heard E.S.T. was in the intimate confines of the Pizza Express supper club in Dean Street, Soho; the last time I saw them was in Symphony Hall, with light show and everything.
That success story came to a sudden and very sad end when pianist, composer and driving force of the band, Esbjorn Svensson, died in a diving accident in his native Sweden.
Wisely, Berglund has not returned to the recording studio, and now to the road, with a piano trio. Instead he has chosen a band, Tonbruket, with the line-up of an indie rock or country band: the man himself on double bass again, with Martin Hederos on keyboards, Andreas Werliin on drums and, most interestingly, Johan Lindstrom on guitars which include the lap and pedal steel varieties.
When you put pedal steel guitar together with pump organ or accordion (Hederos is pretty versatile) you get a very interesting sound, a strange effect of mixing up cold, bleak Swedish landscapes with Midwestern US strip-mall settings in a weird kind of musical road trip for the mind.
Although Tonbruket’s CD, released this month on the ACT label, has drawn mixed reviews, the general consensus from critics and punters at the band’s live gigs – the started a UK tour in Edinburgh on March 13 – is much more enthusiastic.
Birmingham has a chance to find out how good Dan Berglund’s Tonbruket sounds when the band arrives at the CBSO Centre next Tuesday evening.The gig starts at 8pm, tickets are £14, available from 0121 780 3333 or at thsh.co.uk, and this is a Birmingham Jazz gig so you can find out more at www.birminghamjazz.co.uk
The free Rush Hour Blues sessions in the Symphony Hall foyer on Friday evenings from 5.30-7pm attract a growing and enthusiastic audience, and each year it gets to vote for its favourite group to have played there.
This year there was a tie for first place between the University of Birmingham Big Band and Chris Aldridge’s Beebe.So, the big band gets to play tomorrow night in the Poll Winner’s Concert, and Beebe will do the same later in the year.If you’ve never been to a Rush Hour Blues, do try it – you will be impressed, not only by the music but by the buzz of the place.
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