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Oddgeir Berg Trio: Christmas Came Early


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Oddgeir Berg Trio: Christmas Came Early
The late Paul Bley (1932-2016) once said of his ECM Records release Open, To Love (1972), that the sound he created there was his attempt to prove he was the slowest pianist in the world. He was a man with a sense of humor, and his tongue had surely wormed its way into his cheek with that observation. And the mention of Bley in a review of an Oddgeir Berg Trio album comes about for a couple of reasons. One: if jazz has an evolutionary tree, Oddgeir Berg's style of piano playing could be considered a branch off of Bley's. Both artists are known for their patient deliveries and subtle touches, and their molding of circuitous melodies from strings of notes that play out in unconventionally melodic ways. And two: both have a way of slowing time, like they are playing piano in a dimension that, as Bob Dylan once said, "Time Passes Slowly."

Or maybe Bley, and now the Oddgeir Berg Trio, simply enjoyed/enjoy the art of the slow tempo.

Which brings us to Christmas Came Early, the Norwegian trio's 2021 Holiday album and self-proclaimed "Slowest Christmas Album in the World."

Traditional Christmas songs arranged by Oddgeir Berg—some familiar ("It Came Upon A Christmas Clear," "O Come All Ye Faithful,") and others more obscure—are presented with a "passionate resonance," a syrupy-slow, determined marination in a doldrums-like world of sound. And though there is some of the Paul Bley-ish tongue in cheek humor with the CD's online pitch on the Oddgeir Berg Trio website, and the album's family Christmas-like photos---the three players grinning like your oddball uncles (who may have had a drink or two) in their Sunday bests in front of a fireplace encasing crackling flames—the music is top notch, every bit as accomplished, gorgeous, nuanced and understated as the sounds heard on their excellent previous albums, Before Dawn (2018) and In The End Of The Night (2019), both on Ozella Music.

Track Listing

Na Tennes Tusen Julelys; It Came Upon A Midnight Clear; O Come All Ye Faithful; Det Hev Ei Rose Sprunge; Glade Jul (Stille Nacht); Mitt Hjerte Aiitid Vanker (My Heart Always Wanders); In Dulci Jubilo; Delig Er Jorden (Schonster Herr Jesu...).


Oddgeir Berg: piano; Karl-Joakim Wisløff: bass, acoustic; Lars Bernsten: drums.

Album information

Title: Christmas Came Early | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Ozella Music

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