All About Jazz – Geno Thackara, 2. January 2019
Whether it’s meant deliberately or not, the cover image for Hymns in a Jazz Mood, vol. 2 is a pretty apt illustration: the simple church building is central, but doesn’t need to be at the front and center of attention. The pastoral feel of the forestscape covers everything more prominently, though half the tree shapes somehow look as shimmery as reflections in water. The sight seems common and even mundane, but with something not entirely earthly about it.
In the same way, Ulf Krupka and friends present some largely simple music with a purity approaching the spiritual. The traditional hymns are chosen for their timeless staying power, a couple going as far back as the fifteenth century. Everything serves a mood of subtle heartfelt joy, from the understated piano-sax-bass lineup (the odd smattering of organ fitting nicely in place) to the vibe that comes from actually recording in a church.
Being a jazz combo, they also reshape the material in surprising ways: hearing a hint of tango in “God’s Church, Sing for Our Creator” or the slinky Eastern-noir treatment they give to “I Will Go with Jesus,” it seems pretty clear that this isn’t how these songs traditionally sound. While those efforts are interesting, the calmer straightforward tracks are closer to the heart of the affair. “Interpreter of Truth” starts with a full minute of beautiful unaccompanied saxophone and warmly coasts to an unhurried finish, while “The Day You Gave Us” and “In All Its Glory” cross gospel warmth with Vince Guaraldi
-like affability. It makes for a most inviting recording that’s easy on the ears and charming as a spring morning.
Track Listing: Lei, Milde Ljos (Lead Me Gentle Light); Guds Menighet, Syng for Vår Skaper (God’s Church, Sing for Our Creator); Den Dag du Gav Oss, Er Til Ende (The Day You Gave Us); Milde Jesus, Dine Hender (Mild Jesus); Sannhets Tolk og Taler (Interpreter of Truth); No Vil eg Aldri Jesus Gløyma (I Will Never Forget Jesus); Med Jesus Vil eg Fara (I Will Go with Jesus); No Kviler Skog og Lundar (The Forest Rests); I All Sin Glans Nu Stråler Solen (In All Its Glory).
Personnel: Ulf Krupka: piano, organ; Line Falkenberg: saxophones; Tine Asmundsen: acoustic bass.
Title: Hymns in a Jazz Mood Vol. 2 | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Losen Records