Swedish multi-genre trombonist Nils Landgren, known for his work with his Funk Unit and his singing debut in his 1993 Ballads recording, once again shows off his vocal chops in his latest album Eternal Beauty. With a mellow smoky voice and a way with a song that has been compared with the likes of Chet Baker, Landgren sings his way through a set of a dozen ballads and an additional two instrumentals for good measure.
The album includes familiar pop pieces, like George Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” best known in the Tina Turner version. It also contains jazz compositions like bassist John Patitucci’s “One More Angel,” originals by his contemporaries and members of his ensemble, as well as his own composition, “Love of My Life,” which leads off the set.
If you like your jazz smooth and melodic, Landgren is a vocalist you’ll want to hear. He doesn’t look to the exotic or the experimental for the beautiful; his idea of Eternal Beauty is fairly conventional. “This collection of songs,” he says in the liner notes, “paints a musical picture of eternal beauty.” If that’s true it is the beauty of James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and the folky Brothers Four’s hit “Green Fields.” This is the beauty of “small wonders,” rather than the beauty of the awe-inspiring.
Known as “the man with the red horn,” I don’t know that I’m not most impressed with his mellow instrumental tone. Witness his work on guitarist Johan Norberg’s “One Frozen Moment” and his solo on a tune called “Dear Diary.” Norberg joins with pianist Michael Wollny, bassist Lars Danielsson, who also plays cello on “Broken Wings,” and drummer Rasmus Kihlberg to work behind the man with the red horn.
Singer Lisa Nilsson is featured with Landgren on “For Your Love (Quem Me Dera),” a song for which she wrote the English lyrics.
Shortly after its January release the album received the “German Jazz Gold Award.” This is appealing laid-back jazz with a smile. The album became available on March 25.