photos by Calle Bergener

Mats Almgren sings Billy Eckstine Release 19 Feb 2016

Mats Almgren, bass soloist at GöteborgsOperan since 1998, releases an album with his brothers! Both brothers are jazz musicians, Owe Almgren electric bass player and Björn Almgren saxophonist. Focusing on the 1940s crooner jazz they play Billy Eckstines songs with Sven-Eric "Svenna" Dahlberg and Göran Kroon.

I longed for to make music with my brothers!

"It was almost 20 years since we performed together given that my brothers, Owe Almgren electric bass and Björn Almgren saxophone, are jazz musicians and I´m an opera singer, bass soloist at Gothenburg Opera. We decided to meet in the 1940s and do crooner jazz and that we wanted to work with Sven-Eric ”Svenna” Dahlberg piano and Göran Kroon drums.
Svenna suggested that I listen to Billy Eckstine because he thought it would suit me as an opera singer. I´d never heard of Billy but listened and Svenna was right, Billy Eckstine has a dark, sonorous and powerful voice and sings in keys I haven´t had to change.
He needed that powerful voice to be heard when - without microphone or possibly with a so-called band mic – he started to sing professionally with Earl Hines Orchestra in noisy bars and restaurants in Chicago at the end of the 1930s. Being an opera singer and used to singing with an orchestra without a microphone it suited me perfectly.

It turned in to a concert with songs Billy recorded and two which he composed. I really enjoyed standing between my brothers and singing backed by a fantastic and responsive band which had the skill to use the dynamic possibility coming from the fact that we were totally ”unplugged”, though Owe did get some electricity for his bass.
Here are the songs from the concert, recorded live in the Orchestra Hall at Gothenburg Opera where, with the help of the audio engineer Åke Linton, we created an acoustic feeling of beeing in the moment."

Mats Almgren

Feb 20  14.00 Skövde kulturhus
Feb 21  12.00 GöteborgsOperans foajé

Mats Almgren vocals    Björn Almgren saxophone  Göran Kroon drums  Owe Almgren electric bass  Sven-Eric Dahlberg piano

OYR 008
Mats Almgren sings Billy Eckstine

Recorded Live by Åke Linton in the Orchestra Hall at Gothenburg Opera House
Mixed by Åke Linton at Svenska Grammofonstudion, Rum 307
Mastered by Henrik Alsér at Svenska Grammofonstudion


Takin´A Chance On Love

My Foolish Heart (Washington/Young)

Jelly, Jelly (Eckstine/Hines)