One of Germany’s most widely read magazines - „Brigitte“ - described Nils Landgren’s 2011 album „The Moon, The Stars And You“ as a record „of timeless beauty“. Renowned newspaper „Sueddeutsche“ even commented on the CD: „It probably shows Landgren on the peak of his art“. Now the much-loved album is rereleased in a “Collectors Edition” including an exclusive Live-DVD: The whole spectrum of the different moods of the album - meditative, longing, occasionally funky yet continuously inspired and swinging – is presented in a more intimate setting in the concert in Stockholm in 2011. Landgrens band featuring German jazz pianist Michael Wollny, Swedish bass-star Lars Danielsson and Rasmus Kihlberg on drums, perfectly interacts whereby „it is almost impossible not to be carried away by the charm of this music.“ (German magazine „Stern“).
„The Moon, The Stars And You“ is the sequel to Landgrens highly successful “Sentimental Journey” and a real concept album. Jazz has always had a certain fascination for the moon. After love, it is one of the more common topics for jazz standards, and for Nils Landgren is no exception. “The moon and the stars are just wonderful to look at – especially with someone special. The moon is closely connected with love,” says Landgren, showing his romantic side. “I knew that there are so many good songs about the moon to choose from.” These songs include jazz standards, such as Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” or Herbie Hancock’s “Stars in Your Eyes”, as well as folk and pop songs like Kris Kristofferson’s “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends” or “Moonshadow” by Cat Stevens, and he also includes South American song by Kurt Weill called “Holofotes” alongside his own compositions.
Time after time, one is amazed how Landgren manages to find the ideal moment and framework for his projects, considering the myriad of tasks he has undertaken. Landgren is not only one of the best trombonists in the world and a great singer with a unique voice, but he also serves the jazz scene in many other roles: as a member and director of jazz orchestras, fronts his famous Funk Unit or appears as a member of Joe Sample’s Jazz Crusaders. He is also artistic director of the JazzFest in Berlin, and Jazz Baltica festival.
On this journey to the moon and the stars Landgren used all of his experiences and contacts. “This time it was quite a lot of work,” he says. “When I’m with musicians who I’d like to do something with, I always try to take the opportunity and record something together with them. It is great when musicians you know and truly admire get excited about your project. One example is Joe Sample - I asked him if he wanted to join in on a couple of songs – which he did, and he even brought his drummer Steve Gadd along.”
With “The Moon, the Stars and You“, Landgren was able to fulfil some wishes that he had long been waiting to realise. “For instance, I’ve been keen on doing something together with Richard Galliano for a while, and vice versa.” Galliano’s unmistakable accordion sound, occasionally sounding like a blues harmonica, provides “Moonshadow” and “Moonriver” with completely new musical shades. “The whole project started with Richard and after that I knew I was headed in the right direction,” Landgren says.
One by one, famous friends and colleagues joined in; singer Caecilie Norby, who brought along her own song „Angels of Fortune“; Vince Mendoza, who arranged Jimmy Webb’s hymnic “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress” for the NDR Big Band and Kurt Weill’s “Lost in the Stars” for the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra”; and Michael Wollny presents his exceptional technical and improvisatory skills on eight tracks as an accompanist. And finally Joao Bosco, one of the greatest singers and composers of the Musica Popula Brasileira, was brought on board.
When talking about a ballad album by Nils Landgren, it is almost impossible not to think of Esbjörn Svensson. He is still almost omnipresent in the arrangements of Swedish folk music he and Landgren did together, as well as in Landgren’s deeply moving version of the deceased pianist’s “Love Is Real”. That is why the album is explicitly dedicated to Esbjörn Svensson’s memory – by his friend Nils Landgren, who defines his role anew as the leading representative of Swedish jazz with each project. “The Moon, the Stars and You” proves this fact once again.