I had the pleasure to write about Espen Eriksen‘s Trio before when their début LP What Took You So Long hit the world. Since that two more recordings followed with the latest Never Ending January which I am just taking on board. Eriksen’s style has something unusual in his melodic approach. It reflects that a lot had been learned from Esbjorn Svensson Trio.
Pieces like Floating or In the Mountains have very similar rhythmic drive and sense of space.It is especially a merit of Andreas Bye’s drumming which has this gentle touch. Just like Magnus Öström, this ability to paint sonic landscapes with such a soft brushing over the cymbals. Here is where he is capable to create some special ground for the Trio’s sound with bassist Lars Tormod Jensen. He is equally lyrical personality. His bass foundation doesn’t go to the groove. It stays in the midrange and often sounds like a cello, enriching harmony created by Espen’s quiet expeditions.
I especially love his playing Arco , as it is on Cold Front. This is when he comes with a fantastically executed vibrato and bowing control. The solo played pizzicato on Hade reminded me sorely of the much missed Charlie Haden, my favourite bassist ever. The woody tone of his instrument and articulation came as close to Charlie’s as it goes.
Espen’s Trio some how shares similarities with another Swedish band, Tord Gustavsen Trio. Like one can hear on piece called Brian, for example. Tidal repetitive piano pattern looped with rhythmic section crescendo and finished with delayed finale fading into silence is very much so.
What hits first is three dimensionality of the frame-set drummer sets. One can really on it and build around whatever he wishes. That gives Espen the ground for his ecstatic culminations. Like one in mentioned above In the Mountains. This is when he reminds me the great Keith Jarrett with his freedom of exploring registers. With no limitations and leaving strings open to fade with no time pressure. For doing it one needs to have a great bass man on his side. But he does , just like Keith.
Generally this recording is more aligned in it’s mood than previous one, somehow bringing an essence of EET’s style to the focus. Tittle tune Never Ending January lovely indicates that with both , its mood and position on track list. It is gentle, romantic and intimate. Perfectly balanced and so full of respect in the way that band mates are listening to each other and responding.
It is like watching ballet when for sure everything goes with choreography made for the performance ahead but it is all in dancer’s skills how it will come to the life. Espen’s music brings to my mind more images of dance than any other and drugs out the most hidden deposits of the feminine part of my Soul. He is the Natural Born Seducer.