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Anders Gahnold Trio - Flowers for Johnny

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

Despite the rather Swedish moniker this 2-CD set will get filed under, make no mistake: this album of live recordings from the 80s is a great set of South African jazz. This music shares many of the same qualities with South African jazz icons Abdullah Ibrahim and Chris McGregor: a gregariously volatile mix of bebop and free styles, laced liberally with the tones and spirit of the blues and touched with South African folk melody.

Anders Gahnold's sax is a grad out of the Charlie Parker college, but with a dandy rough edge to it, similar somewhat to the vociferously playful semi-raunch of Cannonball Adderley, Louis Jordan and Buster Smith (the latter an influence on Parker) - plus he's got the mercurial fire (though not the tone) of Jackie McLean.

The legendary S. African bassist Johnny Dyani (1945-1986) sinuous, nimble thump plays like a cross between Charlie Haden and Charles Mingus, dark like oncoming twilight, and Gilbert Matthews' crisp swing recalls that of Alan Dawson, but he's got a bit of that Sunny Murray crackle goin' on.

Flowers For Johnny is not quite the elegy to a fallen comrade the title would imply - instead, it's a charged collection of invigorating post-bop jazz with free overtones that celebrates the legacy of Dyani by presenting him and his compatriots at the top of their game.