BEL Trio: Beyond Rivers

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
BEL Trio: Beyond Rivers
Recording a guitar-and-rhythm trio can be a tricky proposition. First, the guitarist, who carries almost every melody, must be well-spoken and easy on the ears. Second, the bass and drums, if that is the format, must be supportive but not intrusive. Third, the music must be for the most part bright and engaging. And finally, the recording itself must be sufficiently clear and well-balanced that none of its members overshadows the others. Beyond Rivers, by the Swedish-based BEL Trio, checks all those boxes in a congenial session that consists of half a dozen original compositions by bassist Robert Erlandsson and three more by guitarist Gustav Lundgren. Drummer Niklas Bodin rounds out the trio.

The group's name, as seems to be the fashion in Europe these days, combines the first initials of the participants' last names— Bodin, Erlandsson, Lundgren—to form the acronym BEL, thus further reinforcing the trio's collaborative nature. While Lundgren's guitar is the melodic touchstone, he relies heavily on Erlandsson's unwavering pulse for rhythmic guidance. Bodin, meanwhile, does exactly as he should, seldom setting aside his brushes to use sticks for overblown emphasis. What the listener perceives—or should—is a trio that eschews egos and works remarkably well together.

Lundgren ensconces his guitar in a mellow tone most of the way, the lone exception being Erlandsson's rocking "Digi Digi Digi Ding," wherein he uses a "wah wah" style and other irksome mannerisms to underscore the ruckus while Bodin brings out the sticks and Erlandsson solos with his usual assurance. The gentle "Country Waltz," which follows, sounds almost like an apology for the preceding number. The session opens on a buoyant note with Erlandsson's "In the Desert" and "Beyond Rivers," which lead to Lundgren's more even-tempered "May First" and Erlandsson's lively and limber "Wait for It." Lundgren's lyrical "Gonja" and pensive "October Song" ring down the curtain.

While the songs on Beyond Rivers will almost surely be new to most listeners, the BEL Trio brings out the best in them. As Italians might say, the trio is BEL-a BEL-a, and its premiere recording is a treat for the receptive ear and heart.

Track Listing

In the Desert; Beyond Rivers; May First; Wait for It; Digi Digi Digi Ding; Country Waltz; Adios Amigos; Gonja; October Song.


Gustav Lundgren: guitar; Robert Erlandsson: bass; Niklas Bodin: drums.

Album information

Title: Beyond Rivers | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Afrika Love
Alchemy Sound Project
Sunday At De Ruimte
Marta Warelis / Frank Rosaly / Aaron Lumley /...
Westward Bound!
Harold Land
Tread Lightly
Trøen Arnesen Quartet
MMBC Terma
Michael Bisio / MMBC
Koki Solo
Natsuki Tamura
Colibri Rojo
Camilia Nebbia


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.