Monica Zetterlund

Spring Is Here

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Spring Is Here Review

by Dave Nathan

Dragon Records has collected and reissued a variety recordings made by Swedish singer Monica Zetterlund. They date from June 1958, the start of her career, to June 1960 when she was a mature, developed jazz singer, sounding like a combination of Anita O'Day and Helen Merrill. The tracks are in chronological order so one can hear how Zetterlund's confidence grows program by program. On the 1958 cuts she struggles to get control over her considerable talent and to improve her delivery of lyrics in English. In contrast, on the last three tracks from 1960, the year she had her first big LP Swedish Sensation, her development as a vocalist is readily apparent. During her formative years, she followed the musicians. On these three tracks, she is complete control and the musicians follow her. She had learned to use her slight vibrato to good effect, especially for emphasis at the end of a line. The timing and phrasing are down pat and Zetterlund is as comfortable with a swinging up tempo tune like "Your Love Was Sprung on Me" as she is with a ballad.

On these sessions, Zetterlund works with the cream of Swedish jazz musicians as well as American trumpet players Donald Byrd and Benny Bailey. Her principal backing comes from alto sax player, Arne Domnérus who gave Zetterlund her first big break. One of the side benefits of this album is the excellent playing of some very good Swedish jazzmen. In addition to Domnérus, present are trombonist Ake Persson, bari sax player Lars Gullin and pianists Bengt Hallberg, among others. Zetterlund's career ran for about 40 years, not only as a first rate singer, but as a movie actress as well appearing in 17 films. She didn't get much attention in the United States until 1964 when she cut albums with the Bill Evans Trio. Dragon has made a nice package out of this album featuring a picture ofZetterlund looking very much like Grace Kelly. This is an LP worth having, if you can find it.

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