Home » Jazz Articles » 3x3: Piano Trios: September 2022


Multiple Reviews

3x3: Piano Trios: September 2022


Sign in to view read count
Teemu Kekkonen
Self produced

Teemu Kekkonen does indeed cross a lot of both "heres" and "theres" during the course of Here/There. His debut has one foot in his native Finland's folk roots and one in the most urbane of metropolitan clubs. It could instead refer to jazz's past and present, as it channels the class of Bill Evans with the modern rock-influenced fusion pioneered by Esbjorn Svensson (the pianist's CV includes some time in an actual rock band on top of work in cinema and academia). Then again, the mix also has room for catchy grooves, classical sophistication, noisy wailing, and the odd breezy springtime romp, so any binary comparison quickly falls apart anyway. The session has too many shades to reduce to such simple descriptions anyway. The trio is as adaptable as the leader's omnivorous mind demands, equally comfortable dashing off chamber pieces or touches of blues and gospel on the way to something fun and funky. If there's one constant, it's their willingness to go anywhere.

Yosef Gutman Levitt
Upside Down Mountain
Self Produced

Upside Down Mountain contains a world of colors and emotions for something resolutely pure and simple in structure. Yosef Gutman Levitt's music is a quietly eclectic kind that lets straightforward and floaty melodies speak for themselves. It spins together folky and jazzy elements from everywhere he's been (born in South Africa, migrated to New York City and eventually Jerusalem), spun into a set eminently charming and compelling.

Gutman's choice of acoustic bass guitar helps set a distinct tone right from the folky plucking that eases into the opener, making the trio format sound familiar and yet different from the more common jazz combo with upright bass. Similarly, his pieces feel homey and comfortable no matter how many different worldly traditions they touch on. He and Omri Mor's piano float through sunny meditations and down-to-earth grooves overflowing with quiet warmth; there's something deeply spiritual running through it all, while the pieces easily transcend any themes based in specific religions or traditions. This music is many things, but above all simply human.

Michael Wollny Trio
ACT Music

It's common (and even accurate) enough to say that songs are living things. If that's true, it only stands to reason that they eventually have their own ghosts—not that they actually stop "living" in that metaphorical sense, but because of the echoes they can leave behind in the minds of others. That, at least, is Michael Wollny's theme for this fairly dark outing. "As an improviser," he explains, "you often find that it's not the compositions themselves you're playing, but your own memories of them." These are pieces that he frequently recalls and revisits, presented with a deliberate Gothic flair that keeps everything slightly (or sometimes more than slightly) unsettling.

Wollny being Wollny, he also gives each piece a fundamental makeover, though still usually leaving the shape at least partly recognizable. Fans of the band Japan might still have to squint to spot the title track's melody amongst clouds of haunting arco bass, for instance, while Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" becomes practically spooky with a dose of macabre drama. The album is not without spots of playfulness (the warmth of "She Moved Through the Fair" still comes through this trepidatious reading), balanced out with other moments of churning and roiling that verge on fearsome. Whatever the treatment, the pieces are kept in weird flux like actual ghosts, hovering between possible worlds and never feeling quite resolved.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Here/There; Moksha; Dragonfly meditation; Dragonflies in July; Melancholia; Matkustaja; Endless Joy; Smile.

Personnel: Teemu Kekkonen: piano; Mikael Saastamoinen: bass; Roope Kantonen: drums.

Upside Down Mountain

Tracks: Wedding Song; Time with Abba; Before the Journey; Jericho; Family (Folk Vibe); The Warriors; Arise; Joshua; Poltova; Twelve Stones; The Great River; Hodu Lashem.

Personnel: Yosef Gutman Levitt: acoustic bass guitar; Omri Mor: piano; Ofri Nehemya: drums.


Tracks: I Loves You Porgy; Willow's Song; Hauntology; Hand of God; Ghosts; Monsters Never Breathe; Erlkönig; In a Sentimental Mood; She Moved Through the Fair; Beat the Drum Slowly.

Personnel: Michael Wollny: piano; Tim Lefebvre: bass; Eric Schaefer: drums.

Post a comment

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Borrowed Roses
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Where Are We
Joshua Redman
Polarity 2
Ivo Perelman / Nate Wooley


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Pharoah (Box Set)
Pharoah Sanders
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.