The young Norwegian duo Past Present – trumpeter Simen Kiil Halvorsen and double bass player Alexander Hohlom – was formed when Halvorsen and Hohlom moved to the same housing collective in Oslo and later began their master studies at the Norwegian Academy Of Music. The duo is inspired by classical composers, the history of jazz and contemporary music.
Past Present collaboration with New York-based alto sax player Andrew D’Angelo, known from his Gay Disco Trio, the group Human Feel and collaborations with drummer Bobby Previte, cellist Erik Friedlander and Danish guitarist Jakob Bro, emphasizes its open approach. There are ten concise, improvisations on «Short Pieces», all have evocative textures, and all are rooted in jazz improvisation legacy as well as in the Nordic school of reserved, lyrical jazz. Accordingly, the album was recorded at the acclaimed Systems Two studio in New York and mastered by Jan Erik Kongshaug at the acclaimed Rainbow Studio in Oslo.
Past Present and D’Angelo opt for a direct, emphatic interplay, or as Past Present call it: reflections on generation and geography generating our music in a mutual direction. The charismatic, singing tone of D’Angelo is at the center. His urgent tone contrasts the more contemplative and ethereal tone of Halvorsen and the patient pulse of Hohlom. On few tracks they are augmented by guests drummer Jim Black (who plays in D’Angelo’s Trio and in Human Feel), Austrian pianist Elias Stemeseder (who plays in Jim Black Trio) and producer-pianist Pete Rende. Only when Black hits the drums, as on
«Technical Drills», the leisured interplay leaves its comfort zone and suddenly becomes more intense, risk-taking and adventurous.
«Short Pieces» is indeed short, often too short, and some of its pieces call for a deeper introspection and thorough expansion.
Andrew D’Angelo (as), Simen Kiil Halvorsen (tp), Alexander Hoholm (b), Jim Black (dr), Pete Rende (p), Elias Stemeseder (p)