Swedish master pianist Sten Sandell and Norwegian master drummer Paal Nilssen-Love have been playing together for almost twenty years. The two began collaborating in the Sten Sandell Trio (with double bass player Johan Berthling), and have released six albums, the last one was «Face of Tokyo» (PNL, 2009), and later as a duo, releasing «Jacana» (Rune Grammofon, 2014). The two met again on stage earlier this year at at the SoundOut Festival 2018 in Canberra, Australia.
The digital-only «Munnen & Jacana» was recorded live at the SoundOut Festival. It features two extended pieces. Sandell begins with a solo piano, poetry and voice «Munnen», based on the second chapter of his masterpiece «Music Inside The Language» (LJ Records, 2012). Sandell deconstructs and reconstructs his own sonic language and vocabulary and formulates all again in a highly personal, poetic texture. He uses his own poetic texts and his voice, including overtone throat singing, like an enigmatic shaman who intensifies the dramatic, ritualistic tension. He is totally possessed by the demanding intensity of this brilliant composition and its sudden, intuitive shifts.
«Jacana» is another tour-de-force artistic statement of Sandell and Nilssen-Love. Both sound as re-inventing the art of piano and drums format, blurring the roles of who is the one that produces percussive, rhythmic patterns and who is the one who suggests themes and structures. Both uses their whole instruments – keyboards, wooden body, strings, skins, metal surfaces and assorted percussion instruments – to offer a highly nuanced texture that defies all expectations, again and again. The vocalizations of Sandell add a subversive, theatrical dimension to the fast-shifting interplay. Sandell and Nilssen-Love move organically from understated, poetic interaction to catalytic eruptions of ideas and to a search of new sonic possibilities and challenging pulses, all with a natural flow, impressive control and subtle elegance. Sandell concludes this magnificent performance with a short piano and voice encore while Nilssen-Love ornaments this poetic piece with clever touches on the cymbals.
Another proof that Sandell and Nilssen-Love are improvisers of the highest level. Don’t miss it, for your own sake!
Sten Sandell (p, v), Paal Nilssen-Love (dr)