When listening to Anders Widmark's Psalmer, it is almost inevitable to mention Jan Johansson and especially his jazzy adaptations of Swedish folk melodies, heard on Jazz På Svenska. The way the melodies are jazzified as well as the piano playing (at least at times) bear similarities to Johansson, but instead of using folk music, Psalmer draws its material from the official Swedish book of church hymns. There is still a distinctive folk nerve throughout the record though, and some of the hymns do have a folk origin. The interpretations also draw from the tradition of church performance, which gives a unifying whole despite the mixed origins of the songs, both chronologically and geographically. Widmark manages very well in preserving the often beautiful melodies through the improvisations and the result is an album that sold very well for being a modern jazz album. It is well worth buying for the jazz fan but could also serve as an introduction to the musical treasure to be found in religious hymns. But the main reason for buying it should of course be its intense melancholy beauty. Which is one more similarity to Jan Johansson's interpretations of folk music.
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AllMusic Review by Lars Lovén