Various Artists – Jazz Cosmopolit Svensk (Jazz Historia Vol.11)
(Caprice Records: CAP22067 CD review by Nick Davies)
Jazz Cosmoploit is a history of Swedish Jazz created by record label Caprice. This is the 11th issue covering 1970 to 1979 with the first ten volumes covering 1899 to 1969.
Many consider this decade the most adventurous and vigorous period for this genre in Sweden, as demonstrated in these 62 tracks. Alongside the album is a 188-page-long book, written in both Swedish and English, containing fascinating pictures and excellent narrative. As with previous volumes, Caprice are clearly targeting Swedish Jazz connoisseurs although, with artists like Alice Bab, Jan Garabek and Bobo Stenson, there is more than enough to entice even the casual listener.
A voyage of discovery, the box set includes 4 CDs, each covering a period of time in the featured decade, and offers the listener an insight into music development in the 1970s, referencing every track to a particular year:
CD 1: 1970 – 1973, featuring tracks like ,Takt and Tom’s Blues in My Shoes and Appendix’s Thetan; CD 2: 1973 – 1975, includes Umea Big Band and Benny Bailey’s Love for Sale. Also featured is Witch Tai To by the Jan Garbarek – Bobo Stenson Quartet; CD 3: 1976 – 1977 includes Pul’s Metroplis and Bent Persson’s High Society, CD 4: 1978 – 1979 the final CD has songs from Nexus and Rena Rama.
It is very difficult to critique each individual song as there are 62, far too many for this article! Ultimately, the issue with box sets is that the quality of the music often varies dramatically – however, in this case, it is consistently good. All carefully selected tracks are of an excellent quality and there is something for everyone.
On every CD, the listener is transported through the history of jazz from traditional to funky groove, to free improvised tracks, with vocal jazz featuring prominently. This variety and the way tracks are interspersed adds an element of surprise in that one never knows what’s coming next.
This offering is a MUST for Swedish Jazz purists and would also suit those looking to delve into Swedish musical history in a period of time that was out of touch to many due to limited technology and logistics (records were ordered on import).
Overall, a superb release, devoured in a single sitting!