Cornelia Nilsson: drums. Aaron Parks: piano.
Daniel Franck: bass. Gabor Bolla: tenor saxophone.
Ein beeindruckendes und bewegendes Debüt der schwedischen Schlagzeugerin und Komponistin
In der einen Session ist der amerikanische Pianist Aaron Parks zu hören, in der anderen der ungarische Tenor-Titan Gabor Bolla.
WHERE DO YOU GO?, an impressive and moving debut statement from the Swedish drummer and composer, features her in two trio settings (both with fellow Swede and bassist Daniel Franck). One session features the brilliant American pianist Aaron Parks, and the other features Hungarian tenor titan Gabor Bolla.
Anna Lovisa Cornelia Nilsson – known as “Cornelia,” or sometimes affectionately just as “Connie” for the syllable conservatives closest to her – was born August 13th, 1992, in Lund, Sweden, and her humble yet supportive upbringing has paid off handsomely.
Growing up with her mother and a sister, she has memories of her grandfather playing piano and evoking strong emotions from the trio in the audience. But at home and in school, the music seemed to speak to young Cornelia differently than those around her – allowing her to cultivate an appreciation for space and silence while playing and composing.
That appreciation would stick with Cornelia throughout her life and comes through on WHERE DO YOU GO?. Her debut is a powerful first offering emphasizing sparseness in places to complement and balance the volcanic energy emitted on other tunes. Her vocabulary as a drummer, improviser, and composer is vast – and still growing.
Nilsson started freelancing when she was 24 and has never looked back. She played her way up through the ranks of Scandinavian musicians representing multiple generations, including Gilbert Holmström, Ben Besiakov, and Anders ’AC’ Christensen. And then the Americans began reaching out. And not just any Americans, but icons like Tim Hagans, Kenny Barron, and Ron Carter. Nilsson received the Bengt Säve-Söderberghs Stipend in 2019, Monica Zetterlund’s Memorial Fund Grant in 2020, and the Tivoli Jazz Prize in 2021.
Cornelia Nilsson was hitting her stride and had a moment of inspired clarity – it was time to record an album with her songs. A combination of private circumstances proved enough to push her into the studio: “Making an album with my music symbolizes a breaking point in my life. Music has lifted me countless times, and I wanted that to shine through. To express everything honestly and transparently – the explosiveness, fragility, the ugliness, rawness, and the softer things, too.”
Recorded at two different sessions (the saxophone session was in January 2022, the piano trio in June 2023), the bandleader and composer chose to lean into contrasting material with each lineup to explore the strengths of their chemistry together. In short, the piano session explores space and beauty on six songs, while the saxophone trio generally burns through three of their four songs.
Despite turning 40 this year, American pianist Aaron Parks has already worked with many jazz legends and released his music on the ECM and Blue Note labels. JazzTimes hailed him as “a new visionary.”
Swedish bassist Daniel Franck has lived in Denmark since 1997 and is one of Nilsson’s closest and most frequent collaborators. His big ears and fantastic time and sound have made him one of Europe’s most in-demand bassists.
Hungarian saxophonist Gabor Bolla was born in Budapest and relocated to Copenhagen in 2014. He has established a name and reputation around Europe for his sound and style, which merge classic hard-bop tenor tradition with Hungarian gypsy music and modern jazz subgenres.
Nilsson shares some of her compositional process: “As I wrote the material for this album, I challenged myself to believe in and develop the first idea that came to me. I also wanted to give the band as much freedom as possible, keeping things open to interpretation, so I wrote compositions more like sketches and am thrilled about how it all came together.”
Nilsson brought a bunch of originals along to both recording sessions and chose some personal favorites as covers that she thought would cater to the groups’ sounds and personalities. Where Do You Go? – the title track for the album and an underappreciated, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballad – is an absolute standout.
“It’s such a strong and beautiful composition – I just fell in love with it. I wanted more air in the material to make the album breathe more. I hope listeners absorb the honesty and transparency of this album and that it provokes something inside of them,” the bandleader says.
In addition to the title track, Ninni is a composition for Nilsson’s mother, which flows into another original, Motions. Saturn’s Return explores leaping into new territory, while The Wanderer and Dirge For Europe offer contrast and development over repetitive foundations. That Was Recording, Right? Is an energetic blues, and Nilsson’s trios also present inspired versions of some familiar fare, including Monk’s Ugly Beauty, Ornette’s The Sphinx, John’s Abbey by Bud Powell, and the Brooks Bowman classic East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon.
Listeners will want to hear WHERE DO YOU GO? in its entirety over and over again to appreciate the depth and nuances presented throughout the entire album. It’s a stunning debut, and with her two world-class trios, Cornelia Nilsson shows us that her moment has arrived.
STUNT Records / Vertrieb: inakustik / The Orchard