Artist: Anders Holst
Label: Unheard of Music
I recently discovered the aptly titled EP “Five” by Swedish-born singer/songwriter Anders Holst who currently makes is home in New York City. “Five” has a consistent undercurrent, downtempo Jazz feel and includes incredible production throughout. Crystal clear piano, sweeping strings, rock solid rhythm section, smooth sax, understated guitar, electronic accents and pitch-perfect, female background vocals provided by Jennie Lofgren all help create the perfect backdrop for Holst’s songs and baritone voice. His vocal tone reminds me of Brian Ferry at times and the overall vibe was comparable to Ferry’s “Avalon” when he was with Roxy Music, but with smooth Jazz thrown into the mix.
What threw me for a loop is what I discovered about Anders while doing research for this review. He has worked as a senior or founding partner in global management consulting firms and was a participant in the First International Conference on Globalization and Learning this past March. The conference was held in Stockholm, Sweden and its purpose was to “seek to clarify the educational challenges and opportunities presented by globalization and to generate a long-term international research agenda that will directly address these concerns.” Mr. Holst is also a Co-Chairman of the “Ross Institute for Advanced Study and Innovation in Education”, an experimental East Hampton school. The Ross Institute also bears the name of his wife, multimillionaire Courtney Ross, the widow of the late Time Warner chairman Steve Ross. Although none of this is important, it is interesting. It’s not something you’ll read on Anders website or on his music bio, which made discovering it on the web a fascinating exercise. Is this just some rich guy with a music hobby and enough money to hire great production people and famous players like Gerald Albright and Paul Jackson Jr.? Or is he a musician first who just happened to find success in business and marriage? If you ask me it doesn’t matter. You have to give credit to the guy for not throwing his resume around in his press material.
It’s the music that matters and if I am to be completely honest I must say that Anders Holst comes through with flying colors.
Record companies spend big money on getting the best session players and producers for the albums they release. Why can’t an individual do the same?
Even if he doesn’t succeed in “clarifying the educational challenges presented by globalization”, he has certainly succeeded in producing a fine debut EP that’s perfect for a romantic evening on the roof with some martinis and a city skyline for a backdrop. Whether that skyline is in Stockholm or New York City.
1. Never Look Back – Anders Holst
2. Love Me Like A River – Anders Holst
3. Anfield Road – Anders Holst
4. Verrazano Bridge – Anders Holst
5. Until The End Of Time (L.A. Mix: Features Gerald Albright and Paul Jackson, Jr.) – Anders Holst