Kongle Trio is a new Norwegian band featuring pianist-composer Liv Andrea Hauge, double bass player Øystein Skjelstad Østensen and drummer Veslemøy Narvesen, who met at Norway’s Academy of Music in 2019. The debut, live album of the Kongle Trio captures it at the right time and the right place and the right time, before an appreciative audience at the 2020 edition of the Molde International Jazz Festival.
Kongle Trio is well-versed in the music of Norwegian piano trios such as Maria Kannegaard, Moskus and Close Erase or the Swedish trio of Bobo Stenson, all of whom have in one way or another expanded the American free jazz and avant-garde from the sixties with seminal role models like Carla Bley, Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett. And you can find in Live at Molde Jazz a cerebral and inquisitive approach matched with spontaneous, instant and playful composing and engaging humor.
This live performance also stresses that Kongle Trio is not bound by the legacy of jazz – American or Nordic – and is willing to turn the traditional roles on their heads and take risks. The trio builds its democratic, open-to-improvisation dynamics patiently on the opening piece «Klums på sykkel», highlighting the strong individual voices of Hauge, Østensen and Narvesen. Hauge shows her gift to sketch intoxicating, rhythmic motifs and a vivid, playful story in «Paradisfuglens flørt» (Flirting with the Bird of Paradise).
The Kongle Trio plays like a mature band that has been practicing and performing for years, knowing when to stretch Hauge’s themes (check «Lille Petter Etterpåklok» or the free improvise «Hepp min Hepp»), how to caress her balladic melodies (check the most beautiful, poetic «Bobo» and the emotional and fragile, last piece «Sang til Veslemøy», with Narvesen introduces by playing the saw) or ignites other exciting themes. Kongle Trio makes this 45-minute performance into a powerful, dramatic story, and really flourishes in a live setting like the one of Molde Jazz when it goes on stage without having everything prepared.
Liv Andrea Hauge (p), Øystein Skjelstad Østensen (b), Veslemøy Narvesen (dr, saw)