Jazz at the Pawnshop

Sometime in the late Seventies I bought a vinyl LP called Jazz at the Pawnshop, which featured live performances by four veterans of the Swedish Jazz scene; Arne Domnerus (alto saxophone), Bengt Hallberg (piano), Egil Johansen (drums) and George Riedel on bass. Sadly, three of the four musicians involved are no longer with us; only George Riedel is still alive, but at least their music lives on.

The content was recorded in Stockholm over two days in December 1976 at a Jazz club on a site where a pawnshop once stood, hence the name. The album was reissued on CD in 1996 and then, just last year, somebody posted it on Youtube. That gives me an excuse to share my favourite track, which features the band not playing one of the classic bebop tunes on which  they cut their teeth when they were young, but the Lil Hardin composition from a much earlier era Struttin’ with some Barbecue which was something of a vehicle for her husband, Louis Armstrong. Not, ‘Strittin’ by the way as it says on the Youtube link.

I loved this track from the moment I first heard it, from the intriguing out-of-tempo opening through a jaunty bossa nova passage, and evolving into an extended improvised exploration by Domnerus set against typically bebop-inspired patterns from the rhythm section. Modern jazz treatments of tunes from the classic era don’t always turn out well, but this one surely did. Enjoy!




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