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Fredrik Lundin: Fredrik Lundin Overdrive Plays the Music of Leadbelly: Belly-Up

Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter) was among the most famous and influential of the traditional Southern bluesmen. On the heels of Danish saxophonist-composer Fredrik Lundin’s award-winning 2001 tribute to American blues and roots music, Choose Your Boots, Lundin has devoted an entire album (except for one track) to his own arrangements of the legendary blues icon’s songs. Plays the Music of Leadbelly combines the loose, easy spirit of traditional New Orleans music and other earlier styles with the sophistication of contemporary jazz to create a unique and satisfying program. The songs include the ubiquitous “Goodnight, Irene,” “Take This Hammer,” “De Gray Goose” and four other classics, along with Lundin’s title tune.

The small band, Overdrive, consists of tenor sax, five brass instruments and a varied rhythm section (including two drummers), and features some of Scandinavia’s finest jazz musicians. The leader himself performs in a highly personal and expressive mainstream style. Trumpeter Per Jorgensen and guitarist Krister Jonsson also contribute fresh and inventive, yet stylistically relevant, solos. Two high points among many are the facilely swinging trumpet and guitar choruses on the uptempo “De Gray Goose” and the almost-human voice quality of Lundin’s tenor on the elegiac “Black Girl.”

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