Ystad Jazz opens

The Ystad festival in southern Sweden opened with Hugh Masekela playing a fanfare from the town's church tower to announce three days of international jazz

The 2013 Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival opened last night in the town’s picturesque neo-classical theatre with a VIP reception including words from directors Thomas Lantz and Jan Lundgren and various festival sponsors.

Music came from the young Jonathan Dafgård Quartet, playing originals and covering Oasis and from Isabella Lundgren with the Carl Bagge Trio. Lundgren and band (pictured) were particularly stunning, playing scintillating games with time and pitch over a short set of standards plus one Dylan tune. Lundgren’s incisive and agile voice, often reminiscent of Anita O’Day and Billie Holiday, came from a formally attired, deceptively slight frame and it thus was less of a surprise than it might have been to discover later that having studied music at New York’s New School she is now in Stockholm studying to be a priest. She had the congregation in her hand right from the lightly accompanied rubato intro to That Old Black Magic that opened the set. There was also It’s Magic and a couple of blues, all delivered with compelling authority and a mischievous sense of swing.

A balmy evening came to a close with this year’s festival guest of honour Hugh Masekela playing an acappella trumpet salute from the tower of the Sankta Maria church, momentarily replacing the town’s watchman who has blown the all-clear on his horn every night since the 18th century. Earlier Masekela gave an entertaining interview on stage at the Ystads Teater, thanking the organisers for inviting him in the summer and noting that his globetrotting career had taught him that “music has no geography”. He plays today, Thursday, with a full band. Today’s other attractions include the Tolvan Big Band, Elina Duni, Clarence Penn and Kenny Barron, with Jan Lundgren, Harry Allen, Tom Harrell, Jacob Karlzon, Omar Sosa and many more to come before the festival ends on Sunday evening.

Text and photo by Mark Gilbert

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