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29. Six Commissions

Hayden Powell is a trumpet player and composer based in Oslo, Norway. Originally English, Powell moved to Norway as a child and grew up in Molde. He works in a variety of styles with an emphasis on jazz and improvised music. He has previously released three albums as a leader of Hayden Powell Trio featuring Eyolf Dale on piano and Jo Skaansar on bass (“The Attic” 2011, “Roots and Stems” 2013 and “Circadian Rhythm and Blues” 2015).

This Second of Jazz post is about the trio’s newly released fourth album called “Six Commissions”. As the name suggests, Powell has commissioned six tunes from some of his favorite musicians and composers: Mats Eilertsen (“Junior Days”), Per “Texas” Johanson (“Här börjar regnbågen”), Espen Reinertsen (“Vent på mitt signal”), Natacha Atlas/Samy Bishai (“Fagr Shaami”), Iro Haarla (“Ruler of All Things”) and Erlend Skomsvoll (“Enn dét”). The other three tunes are improvisations.

Powell states that “They were all given complete freedom to write in their own style and to reinvent what our trio might sound like. Upon receiving the scores I was intrigued by how clearly the personal style of each composer shone through, making this an album we could not have made on our own”.

At the same time, this trio undoubtedly has something that unites them when faced with new challenges. The improvisation tunes in between the compositions remind the listener of the trio’s unique sound that pervades the whole album. Powell along with his trio has managed to turn an interesting idea into an interesting album, which in its entirety is very complete.

Though I appreciate all the music on this album, two tracks in particular drew my attention. “Fagr Shaami’s” evocative intro occasionally takes my mind to the Arabic deserts. Halfway through it turns into a rhythmic playful tune. The very different, but equally beautiful “Här börjar regnbågen” is a lyrical tune that brings peace to mind.

Let this trio fill your summer with beautiful sounds.

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