I was awaiting this record to come for two years now. To make a long story short once I heard the Trio on the stage with guest appearance of Andy Sheppard I knew that they got no other choice than to record it. If it was so clear to me it must had been even more to them. Simples 😉 And there it is. Rune wouldn’t let it go either.
The lyrical, woolly and embracing feeling that EET creates makes one falling in love with it immediately and it doesn’t surprise me at all that their popularity rises fast and shows sell full. Andy fits into this world like a hand into the glove. His own language is equally lyrical and fragile and it belongs to the trio in the same natural way.
It becomes clear when you listen to the previous recordings and starting to asking yourself when the sax is going to join? An open character of Espen’s compositions would kind of allow that any time, with slight twist to the tempo maybe, when it comes to the faster ones.
Title ballad is one of my favourite here. It possesses all the quality I value so high with that band but in the same time brings a lot of space to accommodate saxophonist. It happens by listening of course and by gentle re-arrangements. Rhythm slowing down here and there to keep on time with Andy’s smooth breath. That again shows the high skills of the drummer as he makes it so natural that it almost takes all the trouble out of the bassist.
The fragility of the Above the Horizon, almost makes you fly straight from an opening note. Amazing how easy it is for them to create such an instant illusion. Andy to me is one of these musicians who’s being long time looking for his own voice. He always sounded to me a bit like Garbarek, a bit like Henderson and these are just his recent ECM recordings which are showing his own fully grown voice. And so wonderful it is.
1974 is one of such tracks I have no knowledge who composed it but is sounds so Andy that I have no doubts. Sax figures are having perfect pace here, and the sound blossoms with every note, which is so rounded and fine that there is no better way to play it. The way how piano dialogues with sax encharms, so does the ability of the rhythm section to merge into the tissue so deep that they become almost harmonics for the piano.
Indian Summer simply paints the perfect picture. So many colours that it becomes difficult to trace. Sax, dry like a summer air and in the same time warm in tone, sketches watercolours between your ears. You can almost feel the sun rays on your face and distant buzz of flies. This piece reminds me the feeling I used to have when listening to early Pat Matheny recordings, so folksy in their melodic aspect.
Following Suburban Folk Song leaves no doubts where the inspiration came from. And indeed repetitive motive multiplied in piano layers and covered with the brass lines make perfect reference to the Nordic folklore.
Naked Trees , is another example of the perfectly illustrative nature of the tunes they committed in Quartet. Waltz alike melody flirts with elegiac sax lines flying high and the thrill bringing incredible gentleness to the feeling.
Saying that it is another great recording from EET would be trivial. This music is too beautiful to put margins like that. One needs simply to hear and feel it to understand. It is the way it touches and comforts you mind ,feeling etc., more than it sounds like. Just taste to feel and we can talk about it later.