Jimmy Ågren
Close Enough For Jazz


An excellent guitar player, a very good multi-instrumentalist (harp, dobro, mandolin, bass guitar), and a drummer that quite a few bands would be very happy to have sitting on their drumstool, Jimmy Ågren is exactly the kind of musician that I'd like to be a lot more appreciated than at present (sure, his records are not that easy to get in the shops, but nowadays, thanks to the Internet, this is not a big problem anymore, right?). In fact, appreciating him is not difficult: Ågren (he's from Sweden) has released some nice bluesy albums - blues à la Beefheart, that is, i.e., absolutely devoid of those tired clichés that ultimately make aficionados pay a visit to the re-release section of a shop. There's a long story behind this, as proved by the homage Made In Sweden and titled The Music Of Captain Beefheart, an excellent album released a few years ago. Difficult instrumental sections, abrasive guitars, the classic fractured rhythms and quite a lot of irony - all this makes it really hard to understand the reason why Jimmy Ågren's music is not talked about more often, given the fact that these days even a guy with a bit of a sore throat gets called "beefheartian".

The brother of the exuberant and imaginative drummer Morgan - the guy that together with the fluid and inventive keyboard player Mats Öberg is the leader of the Mats/Morgan duo (check their double album The Music Or The Money) - Jimmy Ågren had used a little help from his friends and relatives on the excellent Glass Finger Ghost, released three years ago. Close Enough For Jazz inhabits the same climates, but this time Jimmy Ågren did almost everything himself. Listen to the excellent drum parts on New Machine and Close Enough For Jazz. As usual, the vocal parts are very lively and they do their job. Nice harp/slide dialogues, fantastic guitar solos - check the backwards slide solo on Who's Lennard - and a beautiful, contagious verve. There's more than blues, however - and I'd really like that the folkloric arias that live inside instrumental tracks such as Who's Lennard and Fifty Thousand Notes would be further explored.

Beppe Colli

© Beppe Colli 2004

CloudsandClocks.net | Dec. 12, 2004