Omslag Mewe 300


Musicians Anna Lundqvist Quintet: Anna Lundqvist, vocals; Björn Almgren, soprano and tenor saxophone; Fabian Kallerdahl, grand piano and keyboards; Mattias Grönroos, double bass and electric bass; Jon-Erik Björänge, drums and percussion
Guest musicians: Krister Jonsson, guitar; Stina Larsdotter, cello; Tobias Hedlund, vibraphone
Recorded: Spinroad Studios, Lindome, Sweden; 2017 01 06-08, by Pedro Ferreira
Label: Prophone Records
Titels: Listen; Alone; Inspired; My Joy; The Ravens; Behind it all; Insomnia; Everything is everything; MEWE; Without and within; Beautiful friend, the end
Composers: all songs and arrangements written by Anna Lundqvist except Alone and The Ravens, arranged by Martin Olson (co-producer)

ALQ is the Anna Lundqvist Quintet, consisting of voice, saxophone and rhythm section. On MEWE the band is occasionally expanded with guitar, cello and vibraphone.

Anna Lundqvist uses her voice as an instrument: no words, just vocals. In doing so, she creates a great amount of musical freedom: the meaning of words doesn’t get in the way. All attention of the listener can go to the colors and the dynamics of her voice and the interplay with the band. A level of abstractness is reached as well. As a result, there is a pleasant and functional distance between the listener and the music. The black and white-like design of the sleeve and the inlay underline the atmosphere created by MEWE.

Anna Lundqvist does improvise, but not on all tracks. Sometimes she uses her voice as a background vocal, other times her voice is part of the mix of colors, and only a few times her voice is on the absolute foreground. On ‘My Joy’ and ‘Everything is everything’ she improvises extensively, and her voice is put in the forefront of the mix. Anna Lundqvist manages to stay away from worn-out vocal scat clichés. Fortunately, she does not yodel, and refrains from sexy screams and hisses. Instead she uses cleverly forged syllables and sounds fitting in with the structure and development of the phrases. At times, the unisons with the soprano saxophone of Björn Almgren create nice and pleasant colors.

The solos of the musicians of the quintet and their guest musicians, are strong and convincing. All of them are excellent players. When the compositions ask for it, the solos reach climaxes, go almost ‘to-the-top’ but are never overplayed.

Listening to the cd is going from one pleasant surprise to another. It is hard to pinpoint the style of MEWE. At times it comes close to Rock Jazz, as in the opening number ‘Listen’, ‘Insomnia’ and the title track ‘MEWE’. But there are song-like pieces in meandering tempos as well such as ‘Alone’, ‘The Ravens’, ‘Everything is everything’ and the closing piece ‘Beautiful friend, the end’. The influence of pop music is clearly apparent in ‘Inspired’.

MEWE is a strong and convincing set of music: rich of variations in color, tempo, structure and texture. The interplay of the musicians is impeccable. MEWE is made by a solid band, is a strong group production and a great pleasure to listen to.