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Go to the Jimmy Ågren website  Jimmy Ågren - Close Enough For Jazz [UAE - 2004]

The term 'jazz' is flexable. Some people consider everything improvised jazz, while others consider composed music following certain harmonic and rhythmic structures the same. The average jazz-appreciating Norah Jones-fan will probably run away in panic when exposed to Jimmy Ågren's third album. The title Close Enough For Jazz might serve as a caveat in that respect.

Listening to the CD, jazz is not the first thing that springs to my mind. Jimmy is a virtuoso on slide-guitar and I would describe his music as groovy blues-rock. Being a brother of Morgan Ågren you can hear their shared love for Zappa and Beefheart, the first with the sped-up guitarsolos and the second with the raw energy although at the same time being very different from the gritty and gravelly sound of the Captain.

Jimmy plays most instruments and vocals himself, with occasionally (2 tracks) his brother on drums (and it's obvious where). A lot of songs revolve on guitar or harmonica-cadenzas resulting in grooves that get a bit hallucinatory, especially in the faster songs. As if his guitarsolo's aren't crazy enough he speeds them up, or they sound backwards and generally end up rather hysteric. In Troubles Gone the sound gets more rootsy with appropriate boxy sound and thanks to vocals from northern-Swedish troubadour Thomas Ziden. The last song Make Me Moan quite naturally fits in a stressed auto-tuner. Generally the album glistens with fun and humour and shows the upside of the, in this case contradictory, term 'blues'.

Jimmy Ågren gives a unique and highly energetic (amazingly energetic, given the fact that on most tracks he's a one-man-band) interpretation of the blues. In your mind's eye you see the steamtrain chugging in a swampy rural US scenery although the tempo sometimes comes closer to the TGV. Personally, blues is not my favourite genre but this album is fun! Progressive bluesfans might add a kudo.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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