Toftemark’s a master at looking at music from the past, adding a modern sheen, and making it his own.

April Records

Andreas Toftemark – Saxophone; Gerard Presencer – Trumpet; Matthias Petri – Bass; Calle Brickman – Piano; Andreas Svendsen – Drums

LA GARE is Andreas Toftemark’s second album for April Records and its redolent of the sixties when hard bop ruled. One critic said his playing sounded like Lester Young.

There might be a little of that but I think he’s taken bits and pieces of players he’s liked and fashioned a sound all his own.

Toftemark is now living in Copenhagen but he’s spent time in New York, Paris, and the Netherlands. He said he used the musical experiences he gathered from living around the world as basis for his composing. He wrote all the music on LA GARE.

La Gare means train station and it’s also the name of a Paris jazz club. The first thing you hear on ‘La Gare ’is the bass imitating the clickity-clack of a train on railroad tracks. Andreas Toftemark is a highly lyrical player with a fluid, dry saxophone sound. Guest trumpeter Gerard Presencer is a welcome addition.

He sounds right at home playing unison with the other horn. His solos show off his full-bodied resonant tone. His range is amazing, effortlessly reaching the highest and the lowest notes of the trumpet.

Calle Brickman’s exquisite piano opens the lullaby-like ‘Waltz For Alex.’ Toftemark and Presencer play together and then trade solos. Toftemark’s laidback and smoky, the trumpeter’s rich, expressive, and captivating.

Presencer named Clifford Brown his favorite trumpet player. He said, “everything he did was perfect: fantastic technique, very musical ideas.” I’m hearing that in Presencer’s playing.

Drummer Andreas Svendsen and bassist Matthias Petri start ‘Peers ’with an easy to listen to dance beat. Toftemark has a casually-walking-down-the-street approach to playing saxophone. He makes everything he does sound so easy. He doesn’t shy away from dynamics.

He can get intense without ever overblowing. Brickman plays some slightly behind the beat single note bop lines that sound just right.

‘Dagmar ’is the name of the new saxophone Toftemark got when he was living in Paris. Dexter Gordon could have played this uptempo tune. Brickman plays a few block chords when he’s comping behind the sax. Otherwise it’s a bunch of provocative single notes running up and down the keyboard.

Bass and drums really shine on this album. On this tune their impeccable timing and the groove they establish is infectious.

‘Chimney Lullaby ’was inspired by George Shearing’s ‘Lullaby Of Birdland ’and Thelonious Monk’s ‘Green Chimney.’ I hear traces of New Orleans second line in the unison playing. Both horns, along with the piano, take some amazing solos.

Andreas Toftemark is a founding member of A Plane To Catch, a band inspired by a love for Motown, Soul, and Afrobeat. Toftemark’s a master at looking at music from the past, adding a modern sheen, and making it his own. I highly recommend LA GARE.