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«3 Pianos»

The Nakama musicians-collective-label continues to challenge its dedicated listeners, now offering a provocative spin on the concept of the piano trio, featuring three distinct composers-improvisers-pianists playing written compositions and improvising together. The pianists are Japanese, Oslo-based Ayumi Tanaka who leads her own trio and is a member of the experimental Nakama quartet; Swedish, Oslo-based Johan Lindvall who has played with sax player Mette Henriette and in the group Torg and the Christian Wallumrød, the more experienced musician here, leader of his own acoustic-chamber Ensemble, member of the experimental quartet Dans Les Arbres and the electronic duo Brutter.

This trio aims to explore new sonic possibilities of the three keyboards playing together, fed by ideas of the twentieth century iconoclast composers and improvisers. «3 Pianos» offer seven short pieces – three compositions are dedicated to the French novelist and recipient of the Nobel Prize, Patrick Modiano, and another one to the American painter Romaine Brooks, all written by Lindvall. These compositions are intersected by three collective improvisations.

The tone of the composed pieces is severe and reserved. These minimalist and serene pieces examine the qualities and dynamics of the piano sounds as they float and lost in the recording studio after short, abrupt intervals in the collective playing, with subtle attempt to suggest a melodic core or harmonic structures. «Romaine Brooks» stands out as the most diverse and almost conventional piece here, offering a clear melodic theme, an arresting narrative and delivered in a masterful interplay. The improvised pieces intensify the experimental vein of the composed pieces even further as the three pianists deconstruct the former fragile structures into intriguing, abstract textures. On each of these improvisations the listener is tempted to explore resonating labyrinths produced by strange tunings.

Highly impressive. «3 Pianos» is like nothing you have heard before. It calls for a different, deeper kind of listening.

Eyal Hareuveni

Ayumi Tanaka (p), Johan Lindvall (p), Christian Wallumrød (p)

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