Almost two years have passed since I reviewed here the debut recording from the Norwegian Trio. Today Mulelid is only 28 years old but his maturity has established vastly since. The direction he leads his trio has been kept, but the language and communication inside the band had reached another level. All nine compositions came from the leader and they all are holding on to his lyrical and spiritual character. From that lot only the Bruremars (Wedding March) is known to me, as it had been available to stream a month ahead of time and I was enjoying it already. Equally it is the best one to prove the purpose of the Gospel spells flying over Kjetil’s compositions, with piano being so hymnal that it almost begs to introduce to choral anthem.
Far Away, lovely ballad with dancy melodic motive sways the listener gently with an emotional intensity reminding me of the unforgettable Mal Waldron.
It catches up nicely with another waltz here, Waltz for Ima, as per the title, but this comes with more Jarret’esque sense of holding culmination. Phenomenal time keeping by bassist Bjørn Marius Hegge really keeps it together and makes a wonderful clamp, together with gentle percussion approach, served by Andreas Skar Winther, between a very intense opening part and more meditative, almost rubato, rhythmic approach that Kjetil’s right hand makes until approaching an emotional outro.
Another Mulelid’s hallmark is his ability to introduce the simple, almost lapidary naïve folk tune and build a wonderful and inventive narration dragging it through multiple variations. That always reminds me an excellent Ethan Everson, who is however cold and mathematically precise in his evocations, when Mulelid is never leaving his human shell. When Winter turns Spring and Folk Song are perfect examples of such a workout.
But let’s jump back to the opening record title piece, What You Thought Was Home, wonderfully intimate and romantic and inviting to be listened to like wide open doors. You know from the first note that you are expected and welcome.
Similarly closing Homecoming guides you through the journey to the very end, never feeling lost or in any need for tracking the modus vivendi.
My favourite track however on that recording, the one which I keep coming back to is Tales. It is a pure essence of the Trio’s style. Here all the skills that the band possesses as a sum up of their personalities. It merges here with an immersive euphony. The pace, the mood control, the lyricism of the tone control and this always present sense of spirituality is almost like a Holy Trinity in the Bible. Perfection you can Feel, even if it goes beyond your imagination or descriptive capabilities.
An excellent come back after two years of silence warmly welcome by myself and I am sure it will become by others shortly and for a long time too.