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Anders Gahnold Trio - Flowers for Johnny

Glenn Astarita, Jazz Review

The late South African bassist Johnny Dyani performed with just about everyone who was anyone, so to speak. His gigs with pianist Chris McGregor, trumpeters Don Cherry and Bobby Bradford signify just a portion of his activities within the burgeoning, Euro-jazz scene. Dyani recorded these sides in 1983 and 1985 during concerts in Sweden. Hence, the initial meeting between Swedish saxophonist Anders Gahnold and Dyani occurred when the later was loading his bass into a car, ultimately leading up to these performances.

The superfine drummer Gilbert Matthews rounds out the trio, featuring all Gahnold original works sans the group's sensitive rendition of Gershwin's "Summertime." On the piece titled "Sound Check," the band launches into a brisk swing vamp, enhanced by the saxophonist's shifting movements and intense bop-ish, blowing. However, Dyani is clearly the leader here and throughout, thanks to his shrewdly inventive patterns, nimble plucking, and pizzicato-based lines.

The saxophonist injects a sense of traditionalism into his improvisations yet seemingly runs out of ideas during a few of these pieces. He occasionally opts for executing sequences of long-winded extended notes amid some of his lengthier discourses. But, Dyani generates enough momentum and interest via his articulately enacted and undeniably, power-packed manoeuvres. Whether he's implementing a slight variation in a tempo or plucking harmonics in the upper register, the bassist is clearly the teacher. Nonetheless, Gahnold does possess a radiant tone, tinged with a slight rasp. As the band melds sprightly, mid-tempo swing vamps and torrid, free-jazz escapades with a smattering of the blues!