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The Swedish, Stockholm-based trio of pianist Lisa Ullén, double bass player Elsa Bergman and drummer Anna Lund recorded its debut album during the Covid-19 pandemic at Fylkingen in January 2021, with the help of trombonist Mats Äleklint. The three musicians comprise half of Anna Högberg Attack sextet, but all are experienced musicians in the field of free music. Ullén is known for her duo with double bass master Nina de Heney and recently released a fantastic piano duo with Stan Sandell («Double Music», Clean Feed, 2021). Bergman plays with Ullén in the quartet Festen, and she and Lund also played in Ullén and Högberg’s «Step Up A Second Ensemble» (Disorder, 2021). Bergman plays on the recent incarnation of Mats Gustafsson’s Fire! Orchestra and in pianist Alex Zethson Ensemble and released her solo album «A» last year on her own label Bergman Inspelningar. Lund plays with the quartet of sax player Malin Wättring (who played on the debut album of Anna Högberg Attack).

«Space» is not an album of a conventional free jazz piano trio and this trio never follows familiar routes. Maybe the time of the recording during the stressful era of human isolation and the feeling that every act – musical like other human acts – really matters, or the exquisite attention of the trio to detail makes it so special. And the title of the opening piece «Come Together» already reflects the need of Ullén, Bergman and Lund to feel the uplifting energy and the intimate joy of making music together, and informs about the open and inquisitive, democratic dynamics of the trio. The following «Circle of Security» addresses a similar issue and solidifies the balanced, slow-cooking dynamics of the trio, shifting from a tender, introspective beginning to an intense, powerful coda.

«Joint Attention» revolves around a repetitive piano chord of Ullén, and the rhythmic layers added to that insistent pulse by Bergman and Lund, but mid-piece distills its rhythmic grind into a quiet and sparse one until it ends with almost silent meditative notes. «Tempest» deepens at first the quiet and thoughtful, meditative spirit of the previous piece but gently blossoms into a restless and fiery sonic tempest, asserting the raw power of the trio. «Space» ends with «Core» and again Ullén, Bergman and Lund are eager to take risks, to experiment with form and the rhythmic basis, and search for liberating energy and freedom, in music, in the art of the moment, and especially in our troubled times.

Eyal Hareuveni  

Lisa Ullén (p), Elsa Bergman (b), Anna Lund (dr)

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