In all honesty, reviewing Scandinavian Jazz is an area I find myself most uncomfortable. There are so many nuances, forms, structures, polyrhythms, and improvisation to disorient me to transcribe it into words. However, occasionally an album comes along that encourages me to stray beyond my comfort zone such as the self-titled debut Tabloid by Tabloid.
I chuckled a little at the album cover artwork, featuring an open-shirted, sexy blonde male in smart loafers in front of a salmon pink backdrop. It’s more often seen on LP’s abandoned in secondhand collections than in my inbox. However, the style is compatible with Tabloids theme and the vintage era their music revisits. It also confirms the bands’ dedication to authentic details.
Finely tuned to match velvet upholstered lounges of the past
Lead by Danish guitarist/bandleader/composer Johannes Wamberg nine tracks, Tabloid is a retro jazz album with an essence of soul. Finely tuned to match velvet upholstered lounges of the past, Tabloid arouse the ears from the start with synth vibrancy and glistening sax blowing melodies synonymous with ’70s TV theme tunes – I Love U.
My favourite, K, has an Ernest Ranglin expression to it. Johannes Wamberg provides superb bluesy guitar melodies, playful and catchy, fusing this with the charming horns to summon west coast sunshine. Ile Flottante also travels into golden destinations, moving on waves of harmonious sax melodies and an uplifting foot-tapping rhythm. If you only seek one track, find this!
For the rest of us with an unending appetite for jazzy grooves, the sparkling composition of Hey B and the undulating soundscapes in Altid also quench the thirst.
Tabloid creates the evening mood with the tender Til Stede, where Oilly Wallace on alto saxophone once again seduces. Jonathan Bremers’ bassline and Felix Ewert on drums add the soul to Ånder du stille to make this a smooth-rider before the nightcap is served with a sullen organ on Salme.
This album exceeded expectations. Even the cover image now seems emphatically retro-cool and sexy hip – just like the music! While I sadly don’t expect Tabloid to change the perception of ‘jazz’ for young urban audiences, it will entice and please those who enjoy exquisite jazz with a retro flair. In Jazz circles, Tabloid should be headline news.
JOHANNES WAMBERG guitar
JONATHAN BREMER bass
FELIX EWERT drums
OILLY WALLACE alto saxophone
MALTHE ROSTRUP piano, keys
Tabloid - Tabloid
Sparkling compositions, bluesy guitar melodies and seductive sax notes - retro jazz just got hip and sexy!