When Ulf Wakenius plays, I hear a fullness and roundness of the notes. Each one is like a small globe of sound on its own, circulating in a perfectly connected universe of phrasing and melody, exclamation and expression, to make for a sweetness of the whole. That whole is Wakenius’s reaching out to you, the listener, and embracing, in that reach, the ensemble, as he conducts a musical storytelling session.

The musical language is crystal clear, with nuances that are reflective of a laying bare of emotions. There is no need for escape from the palettes. Vivid colours of sound. Vivid in two forms: when playing in ensembles, it is all in the blend, and it would be very much missed if not there; when as the soloing artist, the vividness is attention-demanding — not a bright, blinding attention-grabbing, but an attention stemming from an instant recognition that the artist has something to say.

There is a strong influence of the artistry of John McLaughlin, but Ulf Wakenius is inspiration on his own. He speaks as he plays, with a directness that sharpens the image and the imagination.