If members of the AACM had come out of Stockholm instead of Chicago, their work might sound something like Once, an avant-garde CD that finds Swedish bassist Anders Jormin turning to both Swedish and American songs with equally strong results. One of Jormin's greatest assets on this inside/outside date is singer Jeanette Lindstrom, who was among the most promising singers to emerge in Sweden in the mid-1990s. Featured prominently, Lindstrom is as expressive singing in Swedish on "Olivia," "Pa Kryss Med Monsunen" (a Swedish sailor song) and the traditional "Allt Under Mimmelens Faste" as she is singing in English on "Lost in the Stars," "Once Upon a Summertime" and Ornette Coleman's "What Reason Could I Give." This CD's avant-garde leanings were a departure from Lindstrom's own albums, which favored very inside post-bop. But for all of its dissonant outside playing (courtesy of Jormin, tenor & soprano saxman Thomas Gustafson and drummer Jarle Vespestad), Once is actually quite musical and melodic. Gustafson's sax doesn't get all that abrasive, and the album's somewhat Roscoe Mitchell-ise use of space is a long way from the density of Albert Ayler or the volcanic intensity of Charles Gayle. Recorded for the Stockholm-based Dragon label, Once made it to North America as an import.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson