1 A Child Is Born ( Jones, Thaddeus / Wilder, Alec) 03:47
2 Maria Gar I Törnesnar ( traditional) 03:21
3 Ding Dong Merrily On High ( traditional) 03:20
4 Jul Jul Stralande Jul ( Evers, Edvard / Nordqvist, Gustaf) 04:22
5 Himmel ( traditional) 03:19
6 Det Är En Ros Utsprungen ( traditional) 03:17
7 Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem ( Brooks, Phillips) 03:47
8 Veni Veni Emanuel ( traditional) 02:55
9 In Dulce Jubilo ( traditional) 03:45
10 This Christmas ( Hathaway, Donny) 04:40
11 Candlelight Carol ( Rutter, John) 04:20
12 Kristallen ( Norberg, Johan) 03:07
13 Christmas Hymn ( traditional) 04:16
14 Mariä Wiegenlied ( traditional) 02:28
15 Peace On Earth ( Ferrell, Rachelle) 03:29
“Why another Christmas album?” you may ask, holding this nr. II in your hand. I did ask myself the same question many times before it became clear to me that, with all the joy I experienced while making the first one and the warmth that embraced us while presenting it to our audiences on tour, it simply had to be a second one.
I just felt that my journey through winter wonderland would not be complete without it. This time, I decided to change the formula oh so slightly, bringing in the voices of Swedish saxophonist Jonas Knutsson who is also a member of the duo Norrland and the young and ever so wonderful vocalist Jessica Pilnäs while Ida, Jeanette, Sharon and longtime companion Johan remain as playmates.
Together, I do believe that we have found another fine mix of traditional and modern songs, reflecting each and everyone of the artists’ souls while still keeping the tone low and the message clear. Whether you are a believer or not, this is an album celebrating the quiet peaceful joy and happiness that is the essence of Christmas. At least for us it is.
Friendship has often been the basis for great collaborations in music. It was also something very special for “Mr. Red Horn”, trombonist Nils Landgren, when two years ago he fulfilled a long-cherished wish by celebrating Christmas With My Friends (ACT 9454-2).
For many trombonists, Christmas music, which is often played by brass choirs, is delightful to play. In this case Landgren brought to the table not only all the Christmas songs he had come across during his 30 years of professional playing; he brought together all the experiences he has absorbed playing funk, jazzy pop, subtly fragile ballades, along with his work studying church music and Swedish folklore. Above all else he was able to celebrate a musical festival with many of his long-time friends and fellow musical travellers.
The critics celebrated the album as “the year’s most beautiful Christmas CD”, “a soulful heavenly journey”, and it went Gold in both Sweden and Germany. However, for Landgren it wasn’t the first CD’s overwhelming success that prompted him to bring out a new one: ”’Why another Christmas album?’ you may ask. I did ask myself the same question many times before it became clear to me that, with all the joy I experienced while making the first one and the warmth that embraced us while presenting it to our audiences on tour, it simply had to be a second one. I just felt that my journey through winter wonderland would not be complete without it.”
Five of the twelve friends who accompanied Nils Landgren two years ago are with him again on Christmas With My Friends II (ACT 9476-29): the classic singer Jeanette Köhn, the versatile vocalist Sharon Dyall, jazz singer and pianist Ida Sand, and The Norrland Duo of Sweden’s most talented acoustic guitarist Johan Norberg and Jonas Knutsson, a saxophonist especially known for his lyrical style. Knutsson’s decidedly stronger presence on the new album provides for a subtle change in the basic sound. New to the mix are the standout Berlin bassist Eva Kruse (from the trio [em]) and the young singer Jessica Pilnäs, a wonderful new power from Sweden’s seemingly inexhaustible treasure trove of female vocalists. Her impressive vocal duet with Nils Landgren on “A Child Is Born” displays a soul-drenched voice that simply melts the heart.
This unique journey is comprised of 15 songs as the participating musicians, brimming with enthusiasm and friendly give-and-take, travel across the many countries and centuries of an unexpectedly multi-faceted world of Christmas music. This world includes Swedish traditionals (“Jul, Jul, Strålande Jul”), Scandinavian versions of European carols (“Det Är En Ros Utsprungen”), classic church music (“Psalm 130, Himmel”), instrumentals such as Johan Norberg’s composition “Kristallen”, on through to Christmas evergreens from the motherland of jazz (such as “Peace On Earth”). As if shining through a prism, the various personalities and souls of the musicians are reflected through the music; with this glowingly peaceful album they have conveyed the essence of the Christmas message, a message with meaning for all faiths and persuasions: Christmas as a musical festival of peace, love – and friendship.