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“Take a Break” by Sven Wunder

The Swedish composer is back with another album of too-smooth jazz grooves.

Sven Wunder’s Late Again is described as “a collection of nocturnal jazz pieces that depict shooting stars and scattered beams from the setting sun.” Indeed, “Take a Break” immediately conjures up a nighttime beach setting with its swooning strings and funky-yet-relaxed bassline, as if you’re a European spy who’s about to step into the swankiest, swinging-est tiki bar this side of Honolulu for a long night of espianoge, intrigue, and exotic drinks.

By now, we should all know that an artist’s appearance means nothing when it comes to their art. Even so, Wunder’s look and demeanor — a bald, bearded, bespectacled middle-aged dude in a cardigan who looks like the Platonic ideal of a librarian — is delightfully at odds with the effortlessly smooth mix of jazz, lounge, and classical that’s on display in every single one of his songs.

I’ve been a fan of Wunder’s ever since 2021’s Natura Morta, which I described as “a pure delight for the ears.” Late Again will be released on September 29, 2023 by Wunder’s own Piano Piano Records label.

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