Koma Saxo is the title of the album and project by bassist Petter Eldh. Although the double bass is clearly present, felt in each of the pieces that made up this wonderful album, the protagonist is the saxophone – alto, tenor and baritone – both lyrical one and aggressive and avant-garde. The performance of Koma Saxo, i.e. Eldh, Christian Lillinger, Otis Sandsjö, Jonas Kullhammar and Mikk Innanen, is a feast for the fans of the sound of this instrument.
The Swedish leader of the phenomenal band is eager to talk about his idols and musical masters. Among them he mentions the legends of jazz double bass: Charles Mingus and Charlie Haden. Like them, Eldh leads the group, but does not stand in the spotlight in the foreground. He lets others shine, the carefully selected soloists who fulfil his vision. The result is music that is compact, powerful and stylistically diverse, balancing on the verge of hard bop and free jazz, sometimes swinging.
The album is primarily a study of the timbre of the instrument, a meditation on the saxophone, but characterized by free-jazz courage. This music is based on the traditions of Mingus bands, willingly and boldly going beyond typical jazz sounds. This is jazz in the 21st century. Mingus and Haden are just some of Eldh’s musical inspirations. He is equally zealous about soul, classical, reggae, hip-hop and Swedish folk music. The wide range of artistic influences is a bit less surprising when you listen to his music. Koma Saxo is an excellent example of this.