Saturday, January 10, 2015

Arni Karlsson: Hold

JazzWrap: 2014 Album Of The Year

Árni Karlsson (piano)
Hold (Mold Music; 2014)
Þorgrímur Jónsson (bass)
Scott McLemore (drums)

Romantic and modern. That is the best way to describe the new album from Icelandic veteran, Arni Karlsson. On his fourth release, Hold, Karlsson explores similar territory to his previous trio effort, Mold. Again, the composition are excellently crafted and brilliantly executed by Jonsson and McLemore.

"Time" is beautiful and spacious. The piece is filled with moments patience that allows the notes to linger and listeners imagination to absorb and drift with the melody. While still a midtempo ballad, the trio does begin a slow climb to heavy tonality towards the mid-period on the tune, but the overall impression of the piece is still calm and reflective.

"Morning Glow" and "View" both provide different insights into the trio. "Morning Glow" flows with a classical perspective but infused with some bubbly chord changes on Karlsson's part. "View" is an uptempo piece flexing more muscle amongst all three musicians. McLemore and Karlsson working counter with Jonsson exploring a steady path enhances the rhythm just underneath.

The closing number, "Petra," is a bit of a departure for Karlsson. It maintains his tradition playing but the composition has more improvised and stunning moments performed by Jonsson and McLemore. They seem to stretch out more. This piece seemed slightly reminiscent of the latter E.S.T. works. Very enlightening and a nice framework for the future.

Hold is a consistent and enchanting session that I have yet to stop listening to over the last few months. Arni Karlsson has created an album in Hold that will make you fall in love with it on every spin. Highly and Emotionally Recommended.