The musicianship on this album is topnotch.

Prophone Records

Rita Marcotulli – piano; Karin Hammar – trombone, all compositions, bass trombone (track 1); Andreas Hourdakis -guitars; Niklas Fernqvist – double bass; Fredrik Rundqvist – drums, percussion

Karin Hammar Fab4’s new album has a special guest making it a quintet record. OPENING brings the wonderful Italian pianist Rita Marcotulli on board.

Swedish trombonist and bandleader Karin Hammar spent several years playing with her trombonist sister Mimmi in The Sliding Hammers; a band that paid tribute to J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. Karin has worked with some of the top names in jazz including Gary Burton and Maria Schneider.

Trombonists like Jack Teagarden had a very bluesy approach to the instrument. He slurred a lot of his notes. Karin Hammar can play legato but she almost always tongues her notes. Playing loud or soft those notes hang in the air.  You feel like you could reach out and grab them.  Double tonguing on a trombone is tough to do. She makes it sound easy. Her technique is amazing.

I’m a longtime fan of Rita Marcotulli. She sounds great on OPENING. On ‘Hook’ she playfully trades lines with Hammar. Niklas Fernqvist is a no-nonsense bass player who always seems to put the notes right where they belong.  Listen to his gorgeous solo on ‘Rest In peace (and stay alive).’

Drummer Fredrik Rundqvist quietly keeps time in the background on much of OPENING.  He makes a little more noise on the hard bop sounding ‘Moset / The cleanse.’ He plays with a lot of taste and precision.

Andreas Hourdakis on guitar is laid-back with an achingly beautiful tone.  Listen to him on ’The Key.’ He repeats this riff halfway up his fretboard. Then that riff gets tossed back and forth between guitar and trombone.

The musicianship on this album is topnotch. I wish there were more surprises. To my ears there’s a “sameness” to the compositions. All the songs are slow to mid tempo. Things are a bit too sedate.