The sophomore album of Jonas Cambien Trio perfects the unique language of this resourceful and inventive trio. The trio is led by Belgian, Oslo-based pianist Cambien, known from the group Platform and the duo Simiskina with double bass player Adrian Myhr. The trio features Norwegian reeds player André Roligheten, leader of his own player and member of the duo Albatrosh, Gard Nilssen’s Acoustic Unity and Team Hegdal, and drummer Andreas Wildhagen, member of Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit, Lana Trio and Jon Rune Strøm Quintet. Cambien’s compositions for this trio suggest a fluid but elusive kind of sonic architecture. His themes and ideas crisscrossing constantly the responses of Roligheten and Wildhagen, feeding each other and commenting on the other’s gestures, often teasing and subverting the other’s ideas, but eventually offer engaging structures.
The trio conversational dynamics encompasses influences from contemporary music, free-improvisations and free jazz but the trio does not commit itself to any school. Cambien, Roligheten and Wildhagen employ and experiment with an array of extended techniques, including the usage of prepared piano and a home-made microtonal melodica, but maintain an expressive interplay and strong equilibrium. These three experienced musicians know how to use their improvisations skills, rich vocabularies and almost telepathic interplay in the benefit of the music, charging it with healthy doses of tension, mystery and charming playfulness.
«We Must Mustn’t We» lasts only 40 minutes long and its 12 pieces sound like investigating colorful and eccentric structures. The ironic references to «ism» in compositions as «Creationism», «Survivalism» and «Animalism» radiates the trio stubborn insistence not to be locked in any stylistic or generic cage, but also its openness to experiment and explore challenging dynamics, sounds and forms. Pieces like «Swear Like a Bear» and «Crib» offer a playful deconstruction of pop melodies, twisted again and again through the trio improvisation until it finds its powerful, cathartic essence or its addictive pulse. The touching ballad «Long Long» and its minimalist and fragile reprise «Long Long Long» stresse that this trio is not shy of diving deep into emotional emotional terrains. The addition of trumpeter Torstein Lavik Larsen on «Renaissance» and «Copper Man» adds an innocent dimension, almost of folk-pop songs. And even when the trio experiments with repetitive ideas as on «I Must Mustn’t I» and «Sister, You Proved Me Right» it succeeds to color its disciplined dynamics with captivating humor.
Jonas Cambien Trio may defy all your expectations but promises a provocative yet convincing listening experience.
André Roligheten (ss, ts, bcl, fl), Andreas Wildhagen (dr, perc, tp), Jonas Cambien (p, microtonal melodica); Torstein Lavik Larsen (tp)