Some funk, some jazz and some straight-out party music, and when the likes of Ray Parker Jr., Randy Brecker and Tim Hagans are willing to come along for the ride, it’s bound to keep the recipe going and some good music playing.
Swedish Folk Modern first appeared in 1998 and was the first duo collaboration between Nils Landgren and Esbjörn Svensson. At the time the well-known German jazz journalist and pianist Michael Naura wrote: "Don’t ignore the CD Swedish Folk Modern, with first class Swedish improvisers Nils Landgren (trombone) and Esbjörn Svensson (piano). At last something beautiful after all the rubbish which is appearing on the market. This CD release became a worldwide success and was followed by the CD Layers Of Light (ACT 9281-2) in 2001.
It was through the influence of Landgren and Svensson’s former teacher Bengt-Arne Wallin, who recorded the landmark album “Old Folklore In Swedish Modern” back in 1962 (ACT 9254-2), that Svensson and Landgren were inspired to make a duo album centered around folk songs. In August 1997 both went into the studio and with only trombone and piano recorded Swedish Folk Modern (ACT 9257-2). Their improvised treatments of the classic songs of the folk culture not only impressed the public; it brought praise from the press.
With the “Christmas With My Friends” concert recording a long-time dream come true for me.I have always wanted to perform these songs of joy, but in my own way and with good friends as company, being able to concentrate on the music without any boundaries. It is with great pride and happiness that I am presenting this Christmas concert to you. It is the Christmas I dreamed of as a kid and I kept on dreaming till I got the chance to fulfil it and now it ́s here, right in front of me and you. I am as happy as a kid on Christmas Eve when the gifts are handed out (yes, that ́s the way we do it in Sweden). The music on this recording is a choice of songs that I have come across during all the years of dreaming of making this project. ~ Nils Landgren
For those familiar with trombonist Nils Landgren and his Funk Unit, a band whose music is rooted in the fertile soil of Afro-American rhythm and blues and jazz, Ballads may come as a bit of a surprise, albeit a very pleasurable one. After two decades of working with some of the best players in jazz, funk, and soul jazz trombonist Nils Landgren has earned his reputation as one of the most expressive, forceful players on the international scene. His work with Thad Jones’ legendary big band as lead trombonist, and in combo settings with Jones in the early 80s certified his status as one of the leading jazz trombonists on the European scene.
This might well be the best Funk Unit that Nils Landgren has had gathered around him since 2010: technically outstanding, this is a group of team players who combine well with a great groove connection. James Brown meets Parliament meets Crusaders meets Funk Unit: that's one way you could describe the musical concept on "Teamwork". It is pure party feeling, the notes whirl coolly through the ranks, superb horn sets alternate with ecstatic solos, dance beats, smooth vocals and strong melodies, but there is also time for elegance and heartfelt blues. "Teamwork" is all that and then some, played by a dream team of sweat-inducing funk workers with soul in their blood."I felt that Funk Unit had so much more to give," recalls team captain Landgren, whose funk formation still shows no signs of fatigue even after…
Not only the trombonist Nils Landgren has built up an enormous fan base over the decades – with his Funk Unit, with big bands and alongside the greats of jazz music – so has the vocalist Nils Landgren. His clear, throaty and yet mellow voice is very distinctive, and perfect for ballads. Apart from on his Christmas anthology "Christmas With My friends," it could also be admired on "The Moon, The Stars And You" that came out two years ago.