Ulf Wakenius

Enchanted Moments

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Those who've been exposed to Ulf Wakenius' more aggressive side will be pleasantly surprised by Enchanted Moments, a generally rewarding collection of ballads and standards that finds the Swedish fusion/hard bop/post-bop improvisor playing acoustic guitar exclusively. Wakenius' range of influences has included Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin as well as earlier guitarists like Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall -- and in this very lyrical and reflective setting, Metheny's influence is especially apparent. Well-respected in Swedish jazz circles but little known in the U.S., Wakenius is, for the most part, well-served by Scandinavian jazzmen Lars Jansson (acoustic piano, synthesizers) Lars Danielsson (acoustic bass, synthesizers) and Raymond Karlsson (drums, percussion). Overall, the synthesizers have a warm, strings-like sound that compliments Wakenius' vulnerable lyricism -- although on occasion, they take on a dull, new age-ish quality. But thankfully, this CD (available on the Stockholm-based Dragon label) has more strengths than weaknesses.

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