When I first time heard about this new Trio recording from Tom himself I was all ears. Especially given the fact that it constituted itself from a long-time collaboration in a Duo that the trumpeter made with the pianist Richard Fairhurst. Those recordings made for London based Babel records in different Duo constellations are to me sort of Tom’s benchmarks, showing his incredible ability to communicate with the hugely reduced expression dictionary, dealing with reduced scale and keep focused artistic communication in the centre of the funnel.
Here they expanded to trio and picking the Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari for the job was a perfect choice, again showing Arthurs’ sublime sensitivity for getting the right collaborators for his projects. The way he plays and can be heard on the numerous ECM recordings shows his ability to frame perfectly every project without going up front or showing off his own ego. Listen to some albums of Nils Petter Molvaer, Trygve Seim,Tomasz Stanko or Arve Henriksen with his drumming and you immediately understand what I mean.
Tom’s artistic inspirations varies from poetry, like mentioned above Duo on Postcars from Pushkin to strictly cinematic inspirations, like on another brilliant one on Vaucanson’s Muse which always brings to my eyes pictures from Tornatorre’s The Legend 1900 and The Love theme written by unrivalled Nino Rota.
Here we have six sketches which came a long way to their current shape. All beautifully executed and audibly mastered. Opening Evergreens has that open simplicity of the folk tune which is expressed wonderfully with trumpeter’s opening rubato. Pianist response equally gentle and sensitive comes on pair with drummer’s approach so inner tuned that they almost sound like a single voice. The harmony builds on careful listening and the act is mastered to the boarder of the tension which is deeply touching with its crystalline openness and the fragile repetitive structure with twisted timing counted by piano driving this delicate tissue.
Pyörähdellen is a perfect example of such a motion alike approach. It starts so slow than one might think after first pause that it was just an interlude, then from that point it climbs like an ivy on the fantastic construction that percussionist supplies. Around that piano starts to take over and soon the rhythm becomes romantic melody in almost Jarrett’esque style. Conversation with trumpet here then blossoms into the full climax painted with Tom’s long notes with gentle hardly noticeable vibrato.
Liepnitz in Ruhe is Tom’s weaving cloudy landscapes with long notes, slowly reaching amplitude, probably the most illustrative piece here, with both pianist and drummer following the leader’s phrase with almost intuitive feeling. I love this bit madly and can listen to it forever.
Coming after Verklöstert is pure tour the force of Ounaskari’s architectural skills and three-dimensional finesse. His drumming makes a drama here in Marilin Mazur’s panoramic landscape brushing alike style and honestly makes a piece alone. Tom’s gentle lines counterpointed by piano are sounding relaxed and dreamy like Dave Douglas’s trumpet on Charm of the Night Sky, the recording of the compelling beauty.
I bought that one from the past for the reason as once One Year/Song approaches the similarity becomes even more irresistible. Trumpet lines are coming on the drumming cannonade like a lament. Voice is so meaning and captivating that it still stays in your head even if the band is already in the middle of the repetitive chorus.
I would call that recording simply Epic