Fresu, Galliano and Lundgren are dissimilar characters, and yet in this trio these exceptional musicians with their different cultural heritages have found an alliance which fosters their affinities and creates symbiosis. They play instruments from different families, and yet together they combine to create an ideal sound. Each of the three is a compellingly melodic player. Each has worked to extend the perceived boundaries and limitations of jazz. Each has explored within his national musical tradition, and since all three grew up within a few miles of a shore-line, the sea has more than just a symbolic role: it is a constant presence, a source of inspiration, and the starting point for all kinds of journeys and encounters, real and imagined.
It goes without saying that all of these musicians are among the most constantly in-demand in Europe bar none. Fresu is involved in countless projects from film to ballet, and is often to be found on stage with musicians as diverse as Nguyên Lê, Ralph Towner, Uri Caine or Omar Sosa. Galliano is an endlessly curious musician. He moves freely between the jazz and the classical worlds and is always on the look-out for new creative inputs, whether working with the late Charlie Haden, with Charles Aznavour or indeed the Sinfonietta Krakow.
Jan Lundgren has not just Nordic broodiness and impressionistic esprit as part of his make-up,but equally present are his deep roots in the American jazz piano tradition, which have led to collaborations with mainstream jazz players such as Scott Hamilton or Harry Allen. Lundgren’s individuality and distinctiveness are part of what makes him a genuine first call pianist, whether it be for Wolfgang Haffner’s “Kind of Cool” project. Or, just recently, for Nils Landgren’s Leonard Bernstein Tribute “Some Other Time”.
The fact that all three are in such demand has meant that Fresu, Galliano and Lundgren have taken all of seven years to make a follow-up album to the hugely successful start they made together as a band. Nevertheless, it has to be said that the long wait for “Mare Nostrum II” has absolutely been worth it. All three musicians have once again written pieces whose ear-worm tendency is irresistible. The listener is instantly drawn in by the sheer beauty of sound
The ear can wallow in the bubbling and limpidly lyrical piano chords and rins that come from Jan Lundgren; the warm, unimaginably variable tone colours of Fresu’s trumpet and the cascades of counterpoint from Galliano also charm the listener. This collection contains melancholy ballads, the red-hot pasión and deep yearning of the tango (“Blue Silence”), and the Nordic colurs of “Kristallen den fina”. It steps into the world of Frech chanson (“Giselle”), whereas (“Farväl”) is like a classical Etude. “Aurore” is a radiant hymn and “ Leklåt” is a whirling boogie, racing against the clock.