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Magnus Lindgren & John Beasley – ‘Butterfly Effect

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    Posted: 23 Apr 2024 at 9:02am
Magnus Lindgren & John Beasley – Butterfly Effect

(ACT 9985-2. Album review by Julian Maynard-Smith)MAGNUS LINDGREN - Magnus Lindgren /  John Beasley : Butterfly Effect cover

Swedish flautist / saxophonist / clarinettist Magnus Lindgren not only performed but also arranged for full orchestra on the last two ACT albums I reviewed (Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XII – Sketches of Miles (2022) and Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XIII: Celebrating Mingus 100 (2022). And when he and US pianist John Beasley previously appeared together, it was as joint arrangers on the Grammy-winning Bird Lives (2021), another orchestral centenary celebration of a jazz legend. In dramatic contrast, Butterfly Effect showcases Lindgren and Beasley as a duo, performing eleven originals plus a cover of the Beatles tune ‘Come Together’.

‘Butterfly effect’ works as a metaphor for improvisation whose ‘part of departure’ (as the CD’s sleeve notes put it) ‘is the smallest possible format for musical interaction, the duo’ – but it’s doubly apt for wind instruments carried on tides of piano. On the eponymous opener ‘Butterfly Effect’ one might expect the breathy fluttering of Lindgren’s flute but he plays it on tenor saxophone, closely miked judging by the audible key clacks. The metaphor holds, though, in how the piece morphs into multiple changes of mood. It’s also tenor sax on ‘Celestial’ (romantic and ballad-like) and ‘Heartbeat’ (as melodically direct as a pop song); and clarinet on the cheerful ‘Reverie’, a performance that reminded me somewhat of the US clarinettist Eddie Daniels.

Every other tune, though, is played on flute: already a relative rarity in jazz let alone in the even more rarefied setting of a duo. As with the audible key clacks on tenor saxophone, the flute sounds closely miked as intakes of breath and other subtleties are easy to hear, increasing the sense of intimacy. If anything, it’s sometimes a little too breathy for my taste (less apparent in those orchestral settings on other albums) but there’s no denying the virtuosity of both performers. Beasley is a powerhouse throughout, providing structural support when required (such as when Lindgren is soloing) but bold in creating contrapuntal dialogues, restless explorations, and vigorous solos of his own.

Plenty of mood contrasts too, from Beasley’s staccato piano and Lindgren’s breathy attack and growling on ‘Echoes of the Desert’, to the cheerful jazz inflections of ‘Here and Now’ and ‘Ps and Qs’, to flutter tonguing and piano cascades on ‘Fyra’, to reverb-drenched long flute tones and spacious piano on the atmospheric (and aptly named) ‘Infinity’ and the closer ‘Galaha’. The Beatles tune ‘Come Together’ is played fairly straight, with strident piano for that famous opening riff, and the melody carried by bluesy flute enhanced with growls and vocalisations. 


In summary, a bold departure for two strong musicians, of especial interest to lovers of jazz flute in the rare setting of a duo.

Release date is 26 April 2024

from https://londonjazznews.com

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