This release is a continuation of pianist Elise Einarsdotter's and bassist Olle Steinholtz' success "Sketches of Roses" (TMcCD 008). Once again they perform both solo and duo in an inspired selection of their own, as well as other's compositions. On this CD they have invited their good friend and colleague, singer Lena Willemark to participate on five titles.
Elise offers her comments and observations on the different items of music that were sung and played:
1. SUMMER NIGHT (Dubin / Warren) pno & bass
This is a beautiful song that we began playing about ten years ago. It has been very appropriate to play at our summer night concerts in Sweden. We first heard this on an album by Chick Corea, Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes "Live in Europe" recorded in 1984. Our interpretation has been influenced mostly by that recording where it is played as a fast waltz although it has also been recorded as a ballad by Miles Davis on his "Quiet Nights" album.
2. WAKING LOVE (Ono No Komachi / Elise Einarsdotter) pno, bass & vocal
Ono No Komachi (834? - ?) was a remarkable Japanese female poet and one of the central figures in the only Golden Age in literary history in which women writers were the predominant geniuses: the Japanese Heian era 794 - 1185. She served at the imperial court in the capital city of Heian-kyo (present day Kyoto). In the court, erotic love and its consequences were perennial conversational and literary topics. Legend has it that she died in poverty and that only one hundred or so of her poems survived. I love the words, they have been translated to English by Jane Hirschfield with Mariko Aratani. "Waking Love" is the first of two Ono No Komachi songs for which I have composed music and Lena sings the enchanting words with her characteristic depth of feeling. I have been a great lover of poetry since I was a young girl. Poems become mantras in my mind and after awhile they are transformed into music.
3. I KNOW A LOVELY ROSE (Trad. arr Elise Einarsdotter) pno
This is the very first music I played on arriving at the recording studio on the first day. I wanted to test the response of the newly tuned piano and so I tried to play a broad range of expression, colours and nuances. This became an extended introduction to what eventually developed quite by chance into the traditional folk song "Jag vet en dejlig rosa". I had no idea that it was being recorded.
4. IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN I WAS DREAMING (Ono No Komachi / Elise Einarsdotter) pno, bass & vocal.
This is the second poem by Ono No Komachi to which I have written music. It is a very romantic text and once again it is Lena who interprets an English translation attributed to Jane Hirschfield.
5. IN THE AIR (Olle Steinholtz) bass
Both Olle and I are great enthusiasts of spontaneous performances improvised with little or no preparation. Often the results give a more revealing picture of ourselves as musicians. This is something for solo bass which Olle plays with no preconceived arrangement - so you could say that this is pure Olle Steinholtz.
6. IN AND OUT (Elise Einarsdotter) pno
Piano tuners have a great responsibility to prepare instruments before concert performances. I know most of them in this country and I can usually tell who has tuned a grand piano, when I sit down to play, by the sound. This tune is dedicated to one of my favourites, Greger Hallin, a man with a magic touch that can work miracles, and a gloriously bizarre sense of humour. I have tried to capture something of his bright personality.
7. BLAME IT ON MY YOUTH (Levant / Heyman) pno & bass
Certain old standards have that extra appeal which make them so attractive to play. This is one of them. We play it at that very slow tempo of which Bill Evans was a master. Here we have tried to play the beautiful melody as simply as possible without a surplus of ornamentation.
8. MALARIAZZ (Olle Steinholtz)
During a tour we made with my group Elise Einarsdotter Ensemble (EEE) in 1998 in Ethiopia and India, Olle became seriously ill but somehow he steadfastly managed to complete the rigorous touring programme. On arriving back in Sweden he was diagnosed as suffering from a severe attack of malaria and was hospitalised for a time. While recovering from this trauma and away from his bass this composition began to grow and develop in his head and as soon as he became well again he began to play it as a solo under this descriptive title.
9. ON EARTH ( Forugh Farrokhzad / Elise Einarsdotter) pno, bass & vocal
Forugh Farrokhzad (1935 - 1967) was born in Teheran, and is considered the most outstanding poet in Middle Eastern culture. She was also a filmmaker and critic. Tragically, at the height of her creative career she was killed in an automobile accident. This poem has been translated from Iranian to English by Girdhard Tikku. One day Lena and I were in town making our annual search to find new interesting texts and lyrics. It was Lena who discovered this particular one and she asked me to write music to it.
10. TONES FOR JOAN'S BONES (Chick Corea) pno & bass
This is a really fine tune which we have liked for many years. It's not new, it's at least 35 years old, yet strangely enough not many people know of it. Among recordings are Chick's own from 1966 with a quintet featuring Joe Farrell and Woody Shaw, and a big band version by Duke Pearson from 1968.
11. SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME (Churchill / Morey) pno & bass
After Miles Davis made his famous recording back in 1961 it is quite easy to overlook the fact that the origin of this melody is from Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". I have tried to reinstate that atmosphere with an introduction that recalls the fairy-tale aspects of this song.
12. IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart) pno, bass & vocal
This is a very special song for me as it was the very first one which Lena and I tried together at the beginning of our collaboration in the spring of 1986. We were both at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, I was teaching there and Lena at that time was one of my pupils. From about 1987 to '95 she was a regular member of my group EEE. In addition we have worked extensively together as a duo, and as a trio with Olle. For those jobs we had a separate repertoire from that of the band. We have often discussed the chance of recording in a duo/trio situation, so when Laila Gavatin suggested Lena's participation in this project we were naturally all very glad.
13. I REMEMBER CLIFFORD (Benny Golson) pno & bass
This tune was not scheduled to be included on this CD. However in response to a special request from Laila Gavatin we played it more or less off the cuff. Olle really sounds as though he is enjoying the harmonic structure but I have always regarded this tune as rather enigmatic and therefore it is a matter of conjecture as to whether I have been able to fulfil its demanding purpose - to pay homage to Clifford Brown. However, I am glad that Laila and Charles liked the results.
14. SOLAR (Miles Davis) bass
This theme by Miles Davis goes as far back to one of his Prestige recordings from 1954 with Horace Silver. It is unusually short in length being twelve bars long with a repeat. It does not however follow the harmonic sequence of a 12 bar blues. It soon became a staple among "blowing" tunes at modern jazz jam sessions. Here it provides a perfect solo bass vehicle for Olle who really digs into the rhythmic aspects.
15. SKYLARK (Hoagy Carmichael / Johnny Mercer) pno, vocal
This is another of our favourite old standards. Performing duets with Lena gives us both enormous freedom because we have worked so much together. We can put so much faith in each other that whatever direction one of us tries to channel the music the other will listen and respond.
16. TO MY FRIEND (Vanja Steinholtz) pno
Those of you who own a copy of our previous duo CD (Sketches of Roses TMcCD 008) may remember that we began that programme with a song composed for our dear daughter Vanja. This time we would like to conclude this CD with a little song which in fact Vanja has herself composed and which I have helped to harmonise. She also wrote words but here it is played instrumentally. It is in fact a dedication to someone who sadly is an absent friend but nevertheless uppermost in our minds and hearts and we feel that Vanja's tribute captures a mood of reverence and peace as we come to the end of our concert. Perhaps we can treat it as a bridge to our next album.
We sincerely hope you enjoy our music and that all the warm atmosphere of a summer night can be felt as you listen.
Elise Einarsdotter and Olle Steinholtz, together with our guest Lena Willemark
Translation: Dave Castle
Al Merritt in Jazz Journal, December 2001:
"The high quality of the music on this CD reminds me of the duo of Jimmy Rowles and Red Mitchell, who sadly, are no longer with us. Both Elise and Olle play with an ease that creates a laid-back mood, treating each song with care and imagination. The four pleasant vocals performed by Lena Willemark act as suitable changes of pace mixed in with this melodic fare. A breath of fresh air in the musical wilderness."
- Summer Night [4:04]
- Waking Love [6:26]
(E. Einarsdotter/Ono No Komachi)
- I Know A Lovely Rose [3:30]
(Trad. arr. E. Einarsdotter)
- In The Air [2:20]
- If Only I Had Known I Was Dreaming [4:59]
(E. Einarsdotter/Ono No Komachi)
- In And Out [3:42]
- Blame It On My Youth [4.54]
- It Never Entered My Mind [5:36]
- I Remember Clifford [5:17]
- Malariazz [2:14]
- On Earth [5:31]
(E. Einarsdotter/Forugh Farrokhzad)
- Tones For Joan's Bones [3:35]
- Someday My Prince Will Come [6:03]
- Solar [2:02]
- Skylark [5:25]
- To My Friend [3:15]
Recorded: November 30, December 1 at SAMI, Stockholm
Realease: 3rd April 2001
Recording: Per Westerlund
Mixing & mastering: Per Westerlund
Graphic design: Jenny Rosenberg