Mathias Landaeus Trio “Opening“ 45rpm 2LP 180gm vinyl set
“I first met Mathias Landæus during a trip to Stockholm sometime around the end of the previous millennium when I had gone to Sweden to see what interest I could find there for MA. I was aware of Mathias’ work beforehand, having been involved in music distribution while living in Japan. At that time, I had come in contact with Amigo Records, the well known Swedish jazz and world music label that, to this day, distributes ECM in Sweden. Amigo put out Mathias・first two recordings, “Blåbete” and “Darling” both of which were quite well accepted among Japanese jazz fans. In fact the Swedish scene in general is quite enthusiastically followed by Japanese jazz freaks and I would say, maybe more than in Sweden or any other country, except perhaps Germany.
At the time of this writing, as we approach the end of the first decade of the present millennium, despite the ever declining worldwide interest in Jazz, the Swedish scene is very much alive, partially because of the valiant efforts of the Moserobie jazz label, independently run by saxophonist, Jonas Kullhammar. Moserobie puts out self produced recordings by Sweden’s top jazz artists and in turn takes a distribution margin. Mathias has put out three CDs thru Moserobie, all of which can be found in Swedish shops through the fulfillment efforts of the Bonnier-Amigo publishing company. Moserobie also exports and has always had a great following in Japan being fervently imported by Disc Union. On the net, go to www.moserobie.com for more information.
And, now “Opening”, Mathias’ first non-Swedish release happens to be an MA Recording. I initiated discussions with Mathias about a trio project in the spring of 2008. His first recordings on Amigo, along with his very simple and beautiful cover illustrations, always left a very favorable impression on me and I would say, many others in Japan. His approach was then and now, personal and sensitive. Our discussions focused on whom to do the project with, location, etc and after some deliberation, ended up with what could be called a Swedish Super Trio including the Swedish Papa of Jazz Bass (and one of the top players in the world) Palle Danielsson, whose continuous work on ECM commenced in the 70s. In case some of you are not aware of Palle, he is probably most famous for his work with Keith Jarrett, being a member of Jarrett’s extremely popular European Quartet which also involved Jon Christensen on drums and sax player Jan Garbarek, both from Norway.
On drums for this recording, we have Jon Fält (pronounced Yon Felt), who at the time of this recording was 29 years old. Jon has already been active for many years as the drummer of choice for Swedish pianist (and ECM artist) Bobo Stenson, one of the most revered and respected among jazz pianists in Sweden today.
Mathias and I decided thru emails and telephone conversations, to do “Opening” in Studio 2 at the Swedish Radio station in Stockholm. I cannot over emphasize how great a decision that was. The studio is actually more like a concert hall with seats set up for live concert recordings. And, it has a great sound! And, while the place is not new, it has a warm, retro feel, making it very easy to work there. Off to one side is a simple and relaxing monitor room with B+W 801 speakers. The studio staff was accessible and more than willing to take care of our minimal needs, including my request for a platform to elevate Palle to a more strategic, sonically pleasing position, elevating him about 25 cm closer to the two MA Custom made, omni-directional, DC powered, line level mikes. The Hamburg Concert Grand Piano was in extremely good condition, tuned and ready for Mathias when he got there the first morning of the two day sessions. I arrived that same morning from Los Angeles and went directly to the Radio Station with no time to worry about jetlag or other bothersome issues. By the way, if you are ever near the radio station and hungry for lunch, they have a great, little cafeteria with amazingly good and reasonably priced cuisine.
In short, we have what we all feel is a great album, the result of mutual respect, intensive concentration and dedication to what each of us does best, CREATE. In case you haven’t noticed, while most of the tunes are Mathias’ originals, he did bring two well known popular tunes from the 60’s “What a Wonderful World” made famous by Louis Armstrong in his vocal treatment of the same, and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” the popular Elvis adaptation of the 18th century French tune, “Plaisir d’Amour” written by Jean Paul Egide Martini.
Finally, for our cover graphic, we have yet another great photo by Shoji Ohnuma, adding a special dimension and meaning to the title and feel of the album. Mathias’ portrait was shot in his home in southern Sweden by Daniel Bexell. The photo was prepped for print by Peter Han.”