Anders Jormin’s third leader date for ECM (following 1999’s “Xieyi” and 2003’s “In Winds, In Light), is a song cycle with texts mostly in Latin (an exception is “Vox Animae”, with English words) and, on “Inter Semper et Nunquam”, poetry of Denmark’s Pia Tafdrup. Originally commissioned for the Swedish Jazz Celebration 2010, the success of the first live presentations encouraged Anders to develop “Ad Lucem” further, and to retain the members of the featured ensemble as his new band.
Latin, Anders feels, “carries an almost magic ability to embrace and express whatever humanity has needed to communicate. The sense of eternity and mystery of this ancient language joined with the instantaneous presence and creativity of true improvisers became the inspiring framework in which the distinctive compositions came alive.” The improvisers on hand include free sax and clarinet player Fredrik Ljungkvist – last heard on ECM in 2008 with the band Parish - and Jormin’s highly expressive colleague from the Bobo Stenson Trio, drummer Jon Fält. The three of them – Jormin, Ljungkvist and Fält – have an obvious rapport, moving easily inside the structures of Anders’ compositions and making some very spirited music together (listen to the exultant “Caeruleus”). Singers Mariam Wallentin and Erika Angell, on hand to delineate Jormin’s melodies, also contribute to the improvisational flow, adding wordless vocals to “Clamor” and “Vigor”, for instance.
Wallentin and Angell are active in music beyond ‘jazz’. Wallentin has made a name for herself in the Swedish pop-blues-experimental duo Wildbirds and Peacedrums with husband Andreas Werliin on percussion. Angell is vocalist-leader of pop band Thus:Owls and sings also in electro-improv duo The Moth. The powerful playing of Fredrik Ljungvist, meanwhile, has been heard in many improvisational contexts. Ljungkvist has played with, amongst many others, Raymond Strid, Mats Gustafsson, Marc Ducret, John Taylor und Axel Dörner and has toured Europe and America as a member of Ken Vandermark’s band. He is a founder-member of Swedish-Norwegian improvising collective Atomic.
The highly-detailed and responsive drumming of Jon Fält put him, as Anders notes, at both the centre and the extremes of any musical meeting. In the Stenson Trio, Fält had the difficult task of following two of modern jazz’s greatest drummers – Jon Christensen and Paul Motian – yet he has found his own unique way to address the music. The special understanding that Fält and Jormin share in the Stenson context is taken to the next level in “Ad Lucem”.
Anders Jormin was born in Jönköping, Sweden, in 1957. He studied at the Music Academy of Göteborg where he returns regularly to teach double bass and improvisation. He holds professorships from both the Göteborg Academy and Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, and is the first contemporary improviser elected to the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. His distinguished contributions to ECM recordings with Charles Lloyd, Don Cherry, Tomasz Stanko, Marilyn Mazur, Mark Feldman, Sinikka Langeland and Jon Balke have received critical praise internationally.
Alongside his compositions for jazz groups (many of which have been played by the Bobo Stenson Trio), Anders has a growing reputation as a composer of works for chamber ensembles and mixed jazz and classical forces. He recently completed a new oratorio for choir, chamber orchestra and solo double bass.
The release of “Ad Lucem” is celebrated with a series of dates with Mariam Wallentin, Erika Angell, Fredrik Ljungkvist, and Jon Fält in Sweden: Stockholm (February 8), Umea (February 9), Arvika (Febuary 10), Alvesta (February 11). Further concerts are in preparation.