In conversation with Jim Tomlinson
Fog Arts’ founder and manager, Guy Jones, recently interviewed Jim Tomlinson, the British saxophonist and flute player, composer, arranger and producer. Part 1 of this interview is now up on our SoundCloud and YouTube channels, and we aim to record Part 2 with Jim in the coming weeks. Jim Tomlinson is not only a fine musician in his own right with three albums as leader to his name; he’s also the musical partner – and husband – of prolific American jazz singer Stacey Kent, who appears on three tracks of the Jan Lundgren Trio Plays The Music Of Victor Young album that Fog Arts digitally reissued in September 2016.
Date posted: 20 May 2018
Out of the fog?
Jan’s album Man In The Fog was released in February this year [2013, and reissued by Fog Arts in May 2018] and is already on its third production run. That means there are potentially 30,000 people out there listening to Jan’s first and so far only solo recording. JLN asked Jan for his thoughts on this milestone in his 20-year career.
“I’ll let you into a secret” confides Jan. “I recorded a solo CD back in 2006 for a short series of concerts I did in Stockholm called History Of Piano Jazz [reissued by Fog Arts in September 2017]. But you could only buy it at the performances.”
“Man In The Fog is something completely different. After half a lifetime of trying to perfect my trade, I was finally ready to work on something serious, grown up and consistent. “The temptation when you’re young is to prove how good you are by showing off – too many contrasting styles, too much distracting technique. With Man In The Fog, I didn’t feel the need to show every different element of Jan Lundgren. I wanted to pick a single theme, a feeling, a mood, and see where I could take it.”
How does Jan define this theme? “The album conveys a definite sense of simplicity, and occasionally a little melancholia. This is partly a reflection of growing older and, perhaps, the fact that I’m Swedish. Straightforwardness and the avoidance of fuss are among the things that many Swedes pride themselves on, and I think these characteristics are partially reflected in the album.”
Is that why I don’t want to cry anymore is the only tune on Man In The Fog from the great American songbook? “Unconsciously, yes” replies Jan. “Although I love them, those tunes were not what I wanted to explore on this album. It’s also why we didn’t include the download bonus track Yesterdays on the CD. The treatment was just that little bit too complex and showy, and it jarred with the mood and tone of the album.”
Now that Jan has finally bitten the solo bullet, JLN wonders whether we can expect more solo recordings in the future. “I very much hope so. I’d certainly like to do more. But I want to be sure that, when it happens, I’m saying something which is properly considered and coherent.”