«What You Thought Was Home», the sophomore album of the Norwegian Kjetil Mulelid Trio, corresponds with the trio’s debut album «Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House» (Rune Grammofon, 2017). Obviously, it reflects some of the difficulties that even successful musicians in their late twenties – Mulelid himself is only 28 years old – and early thirties face in attempt to own a house in the local real estate market. But besides these materialistic interests, this fine trio deepens and perfect its interplay and its emphatic and calm version of Nordic jazz.
Pianist Mulelid, known from the jazz quartet Wako and the duo Kjemilie with vocalist Emilie Storaas, composed most of the pieces and is joined by double bass player Bjørn Marius Hegge, leader of his own quintet and trio, and drummer Andreas Skår Winther, all aluminis of the jazz department at the Trondheim Conservatory of Music. The new nine concise pieces, fitted for the length on an LP and recorded in November 2018 at Athletic Sound studio in Halden, rely on strong melodic themes, but with every new listening a new layer and tones are explored. Mulelid, Hegge and Winther are already mature and experienced musicians and know how to sketch together complex yet highly playful rhythmic patterns within the overall, unhurried atmosphere of this album.
The rich harmonious language of the trio often references local heroes like Tord Gustavsen (on the lyrical, contemplative title piece) or Americon icons as Keith Jarrett (on Hegge’s gospel-ish «Bruremarsj (Wedding March)» and Mulelid’s beautiful «Homecoming») and, obviously, Bill Evans («Waltz for Ima»). But the Kjetil Mulelid Trio is not bound by the jazz tradition. The trio sounds innocent, full of radiant energy and knows how to tell a nuanced, dramatic story («A Cautionary Tale Against a Repetitive Life» and «When Winter Turns Into Spring»). And clearly this trio enjoys exploring the melodic theme in organic and totally democratic manner. This trio may not found yet a solid, concrete home but in their own special way have created a true musical haven.
Kjetil André Mulelid (p), Bjørn Marius Hegge (b), Andreas Skår Winther (dr)