The title of the debut album of Norwegian, Molde-based pianist Arne Torvik says it all. Torvik music openly references and reflects on the seminal ECM school of Nordic sound – especially Keith Jarrett Scandinavian quartet with sax player Jan Garbarek, bass player Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen plus early albums of guitarist Pat Metheny for the same label – with the American jazz and pop.
Torvik enlisted an impressive band consisting of young yet already experienced musicians – trumpeter Kristoffer Eikrem, known from his duo with pianist Kjetil Jerve; sax player Martin Myhre Olsen, leader of the Wako group and member of Megalodon Collective; bass player Dan Peter Sundland, leader of the groups Orter Eparg and the Berlin-based Home Stretch; drummer Tomas Järmyr, member of the groups Motorpsycho, YODOK III and Zu; and guitarist Espen Jørgensen Bjarnar, member of the pop group Julie & The New Favorites.
The opening piece «Heart» already sketches clearly where Torvik musical territory is located. Eikrem and Myhre Olsen phrasing quote Garbarek folky-singing lines, Jørgensen Bjarnar guitar suggests shining, angular lines that sound like Metheny in his most country-ish mode, and Torvik piano playing cements the strong, innocent melodic vein. Torvik and his group further variate on similar simple, melodic textures, stressing the leisured yet tight and emphatic interplay. Only the ballad «Oslo S» and the contemplative «Day and Night» spice the simple, harmonic textures with dark, melancholic colors.
Torvik states that growing up and living around the raw and beautiful nature scenery of rural Molde and hearing the elite jazz musicians who performed at the Molde Jazz Festival influenced his aesthetics. I guess that a more urban atmosphere and less peaceful scenery may have colored his music with more shades, urgent feel and less harmonic layers.
Arne Torvik (p, keys), Kristoffer Eikrem (tp), Martin Myhre Olsen (as), Espen Jørgensen Bjarnar (g), Dan Peter Sundland (b), Tomas Järmyr (dr)