Norwegian double bass player Sigurd Hole, known from the Eple Trio and his collaborations with pianists Tord Gustavsen and Helge Lien and sax players Karl Seglem and Trygve Seim, released earlier this year his first solo album. Four months later his newly founded label releases the debut album of his own trio, featuring veteran drummer-percussionist Jarle Vespestad and young violinist Håkon Aase.
Hole’s compositions (and one, short one of Aase) are inspired by musical traditions of India, the Middle Eastern and naturally of the Norwegian folk music, but do not commit themselves to any traditional conventions. The trio offers a fresh and very personal approach of these rich traditions. The three musicians express their deep respect to these ancient traditions but interpret the new compositions as improvising musicians of today who have experienced many musical encounters throughout their travels around the world.
The trio has established a remarkable, balanced interplay between Hole, Aase and Vespestad. All the three musicians can take the lead and all build together the dramatic tension and the peaceful, chamber atmosphere. The Middle-Eastern vibe of «Azzahra», for example, is based on Aase’s violin solo who alternates between an Arabic, quarter-tones mode to a Western one, while Hole colors this tempting melody with dark, gentle colors and Vespestad ornaments it gently with the darbuka drum. The trio knows how to suggest enigmatic stories, as on the lyrical «Dew of Tears» or on «Road Song». Both pieces sound as sonic journey to an exotic, imaginary places. On «Pilgrimage» Aase strums on the violin strings as if it was the Middle-Eastern oud, and both him and Hole manage to blend organically into this enchanting melody Norwegian folk elements with Middle-Eastern scales, as if Nordic and Arabic cultures were neighboring ones.
Sigurd Hole (b), Håkon Aase (vio, kantele); Jarle Vespestad (dr, perc)