Friday, August 24, 2012

Espen Eriksen Trio: What Took You So Long

Espen Eriksen Trio
What Took You So Long (Rune Grammofon; 2012)
Espen Eriksen (piano)
Lars Tormud Jenset (bass)
Andreas Bye (drums)

So when their debut, You Had Me At Goodbye, came out in 2010, I was completely unsure what to think. In the onslaught of European trios of the last few years that possibly tried to fill the void left by E.S.T., I was skeptical. That was completely wrong-headed. This is truly, Espen Eriksen Trio--a proper dynamic and distinctive outfit.

With their sophomore effect, What Took You So Long, they seemed to have quickly vanquished all thoughts of being just another European trio distilling soft melodic story lines. Well...ok, they are soft melodic story lines--but they are finding their voice and making it very prominently heard. "Third Stop" is a journey with an uplifting tempo fueled by Eriksen and gently driven by Jenset and Bye.

The trio have added a very contemporary flavour with "On The Sea." This is where I believe they set themselves apart from their fellow European counterparts. Hand claps, hypnotic key notes, precision drumming and soft pulsating basslines will captivate your ear quickly.

"Passing By" and "Komeda" both show the refreshing quality that circles around this trio. The melodic tempo set by Jenset and Bye is injected with a joyful playfulness at the piano by Eriksen. The trio seem to really enjoy their time in the studio. "Oslo," a loving tribute to the group's homebase, closes this journey like a nighttime lullaby. Centered squarely on Eriksen's melody, this is a quiet, almost classical spirit of a performance. A sublime ending to wonderful excursion.

Espen Eriksen Trio in a similar way to the Neil Cowley Trio, don't take themselves overly serious. But they do pour every ounce of emotion into their compositions. This makes What Took You So Long refreshing and a delight to listen to--over and over. Enjoy...

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