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Ulf Wakenius: Dig In

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Possessing fluid technique and warm tone, this Swedish guitarist swings hard while being firmly rooted in the bop tradition. Rounding out his grooving, internationally manned quartet are fellow countryman Gosta Rundquvist on piano, Finnish drummer Jukkis Uotila and Japanese bassist Yashuito Mori.

The opening to “Falling In Love With Love” features a duet between guitar and drums, an unusual but dramatically effective combination. Some of the most dynamic playing occurs during the extended ending, which finds Wakenius blowing hard and spontaneously interacting with Rundquvist. Herbie Hancock’s blistering “Eye Of The Hurricane” and Wayne Shorter’s “Night Dreamer,” a lilting jazz waltz, provide the modern portion of the set and suggest that Wakenius and company are more than comfortable with a spectrum of tempos and grooves. And the title track reveals not only the leader’s ability to groove easily in a bluesy vein, but also his compositional chops. Well done from start to finish.