Lars-Goran Ulander Trio: Live at Glenn Miller Café

Ornette Coleman gave saxophonists permission to explore the infinite, opening things up to such an extent that another sax player might obviously be inspired by him yet sound completely different. It’s a stretch to say Swedish alto saxophonist Lars-Goran Ulander sounds nothing like Coleman; the pleading tone is similar, as is his nervously aggressive, not-quite-bop way of phrasing. Yet while Ulander’s concept is certainly derived in large part from Coleman’s, his personality is clearly his own.

On this live set–his first record date as a leader–the veteran saxophonist is joined by bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. An almost flamboyant range of postbop expression characterizes the music. The superb Danielsson is as fleet and lyrical as ever, and he’s hard-edged enough to accommodate drummer Nilssen-Love’s punkier tendencies. Three of the album’s five tracks are totally improvised; the other two might as well be. Nowhere does the group swing in a conventional manner, yet the spirit is ineffably jazz. Throughout, Ulander takes artful advantage of wide-open territory.