Selected Comments


”One of the best Swedish blues band I ever heard,
heavy, breathtaking, merciless.
It’s good that someone is trying to renovate the Swedish bluesscen.
( Peter Jonsson Sundsvalls tidning )

”Without a doubt one of the best concerts on Nefertiti this year”
( Gabriel Byström Göteborgs-posten)

”Glass Finger Ghost sounds smashing and surprising.
This I want to hear live”
(Staffan Westfal Västerbottens kuriren)

”Jimmy is a great songwriter, and for those who likes slide Guitar
It’s like Christmas day”
(Teddy Hultberg Svenska Dagbladet)

”Best guitar album ever made in Sweden”
- Freddie Wadling

”Criminally good”
- Denny Walley

“Without any doubt the best Swedish album this year. Good bye Conny Bloom and Cleas Yngström, at the moment the guitar man in this country is named Jimmy Ågren”
- Anders Sundin

”Jimmy plays with a adrenaline level that would turn even the black blues guys white of fear.
Angus Young would probably not mind having some of Jimmy’s riffs too”.
(Peter Öhman Expressen)

“Anyone looking for a reason to quit playing the guitar, here's one! Jimmy Ågren plays the meanest slide guitar I've heard in years. Glass Finger Ghost" is an incredible album”.
- Peter van laarhoven

"Smokin'.... here is an electric slide and lead guitarist who tears the roof off. If, like me, you are of the firm belief that 'Big Eyed Beans >From Venus' is Captain Beefheart at his best, and that sizzling, electric slide-dominated blues and the Howlin' Wolf influences contribute to seriously great blues-rock, then this CD, with its similarity to the aforementioned styles, is right up your alley and no mistake. Throughout the CD, the guitar work just blows you away, and this is a genuinely classic album, best in its field in nearly 20 years”.
- Andy Girabaldi

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.

Martijn Busink

     
     

Ågren, Jimmy: Close Enough For Jazz

Little Feat mastermind and former Mother of Invention Lowell George has been dead for far too many years, having produced but some but not nearly enough music in his lifetime to satisfy the hordes that recognized him as a certifiable genius. Luckily for those who miss Lowell, there’s Jimmy Ågren, a young dude from the Land of the Midnight Sun, come to teach us a thing or two about American music and one of its great fallen leaders.

Like George before him, Ågren has a fascination for taking standard blues rhythms and allowing them to mutate into something more akin to avant garde composers, all while still writing songs with a strong melodic flair that even the most mainstream listener would be hard-pressed to resist.

“In The Corner” brings with it images of a fly buzzing round the banks of a river while four boys from the backwoods sit around and harmonize in fashion that can be best described as pleasantly unsettling. Elsewhere, Ågren plays with the basic purpose of the guitar, twisting and turning its most basic timbre into Zappa/Vai-ish sonic spaghetti on the title track, or a churning, dying stomach of the soul on “Troubles Gone,” which might be the sound of Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and Captain Beefheart serenading souls crossing into the afterlife.

But Ågren can still play with unadulterated beauty, as he does on “Lester Howlin Dog” and “Where Are They Going” and the highly Texasified “Bring Your Stuff.” Those tracks, like all the rest, are fantastic and make you scratch your head and ask one more time, “Are you sure this guy’s from Sweden? Damn, I thought he had to from down on the Delta, or down from Louisiana way.”

Total Time: 46:00

Added: April 12th 2004
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Score:
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