Norwegian pianist (and gifted photographer) Andreas Ulvo took the photo for the cover of his solo piano album «Trust» with an old analog Spanish point-and-shoot camera in Voss when he was visiting the Vossa Jazz festival. In a way, the photo of a boy standing close to the water and its reflections of the sun and the mountain captures the essence of «Trust». Being alone, but not necessarily lonely. Embracing the moment with all its flaws and all its beauty, simply trusting himself that music will come.
«Trust» is the third solo piano album of Ulvo, known from the Eple Trio and collaborations with trumpeter Mathias Eick, bassist Ellen Andrea Wang, sax player Karl Seglem and vocalist Ingrid Olava. It follows «Light & Loneliness» (Atterklang, 2011) and «Unchangeable Seasons» (SoundCanSeen, 2016), but unlike the previous solo albums, it focuses on spontaneous improvisations, recorded on his own grand piano at his home studio Snekkerbua in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021.
During the process of working on «Trust» Ulvo learned to leave aside the strive for perfection. But he gained an insightful trust in his own imperfections and flaws, a trust in the fine art of the moment, just letting the music happen, without thinking too much or having any expectations, understanding that there are no wrong turns. Ulvo himself describes this process as a «continuous fight between doubt and belief», or a duet with uncertainty. «It’s the same feeling of unity, and the only bridge between myself and uncertainty is my own ability to trust», he concludes.
Ulvo is an improviser who employs his intuitive playing as means to sketch drafts of elusive stories, emotions and melancholic moods. The ten improvisations of «Trust» are meditations and reflections, where Ulvo’s conceptions about playing the piano, improvisation, or composing at all meet the liberating power of free improvisation. Ulvo is still an introspective pianist, with an immediate, lyrical touch and natural flow, but «Trust» adds a rare depth to his aesthetics. His language is more nuanced, searching and embracing new and unconventional timbres and rhythmic patterns («Dreams happen» and «Woodwalk»), suggesting evocative and cinematic soundscapes («Five»), and, still, sketching instantly engaging songs («Rebel heart» and «Spring song» and the touching «Silent walk») and even finding innocent playfulness («Restless ant» and «Bouncing snowflakes”).
You can trust Ulvo as a musician whose instincts, intuition, and his open and compassionate vision will always offer inspired music.
Andreas Ulvo (p)