4. A guardian of rhythm
Yet another pianist from my home country caught my attention. This guardian of rhythm and tradition gives us a reference to jazz history while bringing us one step further.
With his unexpected changes of rhythm and style, and mezmerizing harmonies, Espen Berg brilliantly creates funky vibes as well as beautiful lyrical moments. He demonstrates his unique style of playing in the album, Mønster, which he released together with his trio in 2015 (mønster translates to pattern).
This album contains many high quality melodies. I especially enjoy the spontaneous changes of tempo inTrettifem. Maple Noise honors jazz history and is a pleasant reminder of tradition. If you ever catch yourself dancing to Revenge of the Sixth, beware of the sudden changes in pace, or you might just get some unwanted attention on the dance floor. The dynamics of this song is exactly what makes it so brilliant.
These musicians experiment and go into a creative mode from time to time, but surprisingly fast, they bring it all back into a structured form with a groovy pulse. Espen Berg trio demontrates a pleasant balance between structure and precision on the one hand, and playfulness and inventiveness on the other. What excites me the most is the way they create a very unique sound while also honoring jazz tradition. It gives this album a strong identity, and I'm sure there's a huge potential for nostalgia for those with bigger ears than mine.
One of the tracks in this album stands out to me. Left at the Right Moment is a lyrical melody with some well chosen varieties over the melancholic scales. We're constantly reminded that this melody is played by a brilliant jazz pianist. It's also the timbre as well as the exposed way of playing the piano that moves me. It's almost as if the melody is played in awe of the great pianists in jazz history. Those who layed the groundworks for all pianists that try to make their own mark on the history. A
"thank you" for bringing jazz music to where it is now.
Listen to Espen Berg trio's inventive compositions in their album Mønster here. You can also read more about Espen Berg and his trio on his home page.