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På skive



The Norwegian Espen Berg Trio – pianist-composer Berg, double bass player Bárður Reinert Poulsen and drummer Simon Olderskog Albertsen, was formed in 2014 and since then toured the world and gained recognition as one of the best piano trios in the vibrant Nordic scene. «Fjære» (tide in Norwegian) is the fourth album of the trio and features new compositions by Berg plus a cover of Paul Simon’s song. This album highlights the strengths of this working trio and the inspiring ways that distinct and strong melodies are translated into profound and playful dynamics that make this collective much stronger than its parts.

«Fjære» was recorded in April and June 2021, a time when being together has been difficult. As a counterweight to this and as a symbol of togetherness and friendship, the trio invited three guest artists for the first time: trumpeter Mathias Eick, sax player Hanna Paulsberg and vocalist Silje Nergaard. The opening piece «Vintermørke» (winter darkness in Norwegian) was originally written in January 2020. Eick fits perfectly into the introspective, dark and melancholic spirit of the piece and colors it and later another piece, the dramatic «Magnetic Peaks», with his warm, emotional tone and precise, economic contributions. Paulsberg adds her singing sax to the shiny and playful song «Åkervise», and enjoys the light, driving pulse of the trio. The cover of Simon’s «I’d Do It For Your Love» with Nergaard (with whom Berg toured before and worked as a duo) is faithful to the original arrangement but opens it to a playful interplay of the trio with Nergaard.

The trio alone stresses the natural flow of the music as well as its clever and playful rhythmic dynamics. The trio dances with an infectious groove on pieces like «XVII» and «Nikolai» which bring to mind the seminal influence of Keith Jarrett’s Scandinavian Quartet, but explore quiet, chamber and melancholic sceneries on «The Vertical Movements of Eötvös» and «Svalbard». The temperamental «The Fourth Awakens» (which was released as a first single from the album) emphasizes the telepathic rhythmic sensibility of the trio. All these pieces – the trio alone and with the esteemed guests – are performed with commanding elegance and a poetic sense of playfulness.

Eyal Hareuveni

Espen Berg (p), Bárður Reinert Poulsen (b), Simon Olderskog Albertsen (dr), Silje Nergaard (v), Hanna Paulsberg (ts), Mathias Eick (tp)

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