Thursday, January 6, 2011

Espen Eriksen Trio

Espen Eriksen Trio
You Had Me At Goodbye (Rune Grammofon)

Espen Eriksen (piano)
Lars Tormod Jenset (bass)
Andreas Bye (drums)

Eriksen and his trio have put forth a delightful debut. You Had Me At Goodbye combines the soft folk, classical jazz of many fellow Scandinavian artists. The trio blend melodic themes and lyrical structures that set a quiet atmospheric mood.

You Had Me At Goodbye is something of a departure for the bands label, Rune Grammofon which has been known for more experimental, free form and abstract concepts from artists like Supersilent, Elephant9, Food, Scorch Trio and Motorpsycho. Eriksen Trio is much more in the vein of ECM recordings than latter.

This is an album that will definitely please listeners looking for something rich and pleasant on the ear. Recent recordings by Kit Downes, fellow Norwegian, Helge Lien also come to mind when I listen to Eriksen. I'm stirring clear of the obvious E.S.T. comments because I really don't see the comparison.

"Grinde" and "Masaka Tsara" display a cleaver bit of adventure with some great interplay between Eriksen and Jenset with Bye and nice brushes of timing. This is a trio with a crisp sound that resonates individually as well as a unit.

"Not Even In Brazil" is the definite standout for me. A rhythmic uptempo number that really shows the dynamics of the trio, especially for Bye. Bye's performance moves from soft to infectious and back again. Eriksen adds some solid movement of his own throughout the piece. Warm, touching and glowing--a beautiful number.

"On The Jar" might be the most distinct track on the album. It has a blues/gospel tinged that moves quite effortlessly with some wonderful bass lines from Jenset.

You Had Me At Goodbye isn't perfect but for those looking for a delightful entry point into late night jazz this is well worth your time. I did enjoy this record allot but there isn't a great deal to make it standout from the other trio records over the last 12 months but you should be the final decision not me.

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