Lars-Göran Ulander Trio - Live at Glenn Miller Café

Art Lange, Coda

One of the joys of recorded jazz is rediscovering a deserving artist that fell into the cracks of history. You've probably never heard of alto saxophonist Ulander, for example, unless you followed Swedish jazz in the 1960s, when he was actively recording with the likes of Berndt Egerbladh, a talented pianist who composed hip post-bop tunes, and Lars Lystedt, a valve trombonist and longtime fixture on the scene, or remember him as a member of radical pianist Per Henrik Wallin's mid-'70s free trio.

The problem was that few of those LPs were distributed outside of Sweden then, or survive now, and Ulander recorded less than a handful of sessions between 1975 and today, preferring a career as full-time producer at Swedish Radio to the rigors of the road. Live at the Glenn Miller Café is, in fact, Ulander's debut session as a leader, and displays his circuitous, lyrical improvising in five lengthy performances from 2004. In his younger days, Ulander exhibited a bit of Jackie McLean's biting tone and edgy urgency when playing more straightahead material, but now, exploring freer territory, he's neither extravagant nor overly expressionistic, engaging in open, conversational interplay with bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. Sometimes modal ("Tabula Raasa G.M.C."), elaborately embroidered ("Intrinsic Structure I"), or adding bent pitches and sustained wails ("Ionizacion - Variaciones E.V."), Ulander's knotty phrasing is dappled and distinctive. Better late than never.