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One Long String

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Audio CD, May 22, 2007
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Product Description

Red Mitchell had moved to Sweden in the sixties. It was there that, in 1969, Red Mitchell formed this trio: with a twenty-four year-old pianist just back from an African tour with Stan Getz, Bobo Stenson and you know what became of him later and the drummer Rune Carlsson, who'd played with musicians as different as Eric Dolphy and Bill Evans; the trio was indeed exceptional, but it was (very) short-lived, so much so that this album is the only trace of it.
Recorded during a visit to Paris, "One Long String" was the first album to do justice to the innovations that Red Mitchell brought to an instrument he was totally in love with... which is probably the truth, because they say he always asked for a room with two beds when he was touring, so that he could tuck his bass in on one of them... He tuned it like a cello, in fifths, and he'd come up with an astute amplification system that extended the sound of the notes, establishing a legato in the melody line that people hadn't heard before on a bass.


It's amazing what gets lost. This recording from bassist Red Mitchell was originally released in 1969 but has long been out of print. How fortunate that it's back - a reminder of what a clever and energetic musician / composer Mitchell was.

What stands out most is Mitchell's unique style. He holds low-register notes and slides his way through a song's harmony. (The album title neatly sums up his appraoch to the instrument.) It's a less percussive sound than most bassists achieve, but it allows him to drive the melody as much as rhythm. There's no better example of this than on the standout track, "Narbild." His solo is as fluid as you'll ever hear from a bassist, relying on dynamics and textures rather than abstract plucking.

While he's always a fine interpreter of standards (in this case, a bright and bouncy version of "Stella by Starlight"), Mitchell was also a fine composer in his own right. There's a soulful edge to pieces such as "Peggy" and "Undertow," while "Total Tumult" suggests a classical chamber piece.

Pianist Bobo Stenson and drummer Rune Carlsson are equally impressive. Stenson's crystalline lines and impeccable sense of rhythm make a perfect foil for Mitchell's singing style, while Carlsson's aggressive work on the ride cymbal assures that the trio never loses its sense of swing. Full of energy and grace, this disc is a welcome reissue.
- John Frederick Moore --Jazziz - Sept. 2007

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. One Long String 5:53$0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. Peggy 5:16$0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. Narbild 7:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. Undertow 4:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. Total Tumult 4:55$0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. Stella By Starlight 6:46$0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. Pojken I Grottan 4:59$0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. When I Have You 8:48$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sunny Side Records
  • ASIN: B000P46QBS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,853 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Jefferson TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 21, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This fine little set of jazz was recorded in 1969 in Paris, France. It features Red Mitchell on double bass, Rune Carlsson on drums, and Bobo Stenson (a personal favorite) on piano. The sound is very good-clean and warm, with no muddy low notes or irritating high notes. The booklet has a short essay on the trio and the period when this was recorded, song information, and a couple of photographs of Mitchell-Carlsson and Stenson are on the cover only.

Mitchell, who's played with many jazz giants (Gerry Mulligan, Hampton Hawes, Shelley Manne, Dizzy Gillespie, among others), moved to Europe for a large part of his life. He returned to the U.S. where he died. He's one of those relatively unknown (at least by the American jazz public) musicians who nonetheless has contributed greatly (with his double bass tuned like a cello) to what "jazz" is-it's very essence. He also wrote several fine compositions-some of which are on this album. I first heard him on a 2 LP (remember those?) set of live duets with Joe Beck-and I was blown away by his sound and technique.

In all honesty I came across this trio set because Bobo Stenson has been a personal favorite of mine for many, many years. And the chance to hear him early on, before he began to incorporate European folk songs into his playing pushed me into buying this set. The drummer, Rune Carlsson, was familiar to me through his work with Stenson and other European jazz artists.

Needless to say I was looking forward to hearing this album, recorded so many decades (!) ago. And was I disappointed? Not on your life. Where do I start? The title track is simply fine-what a way to begin. "Narbild" is even better.
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