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Emil Strandberg / Sten Sandell / Patric Thorman: It Is Night And I Am Lost

Eyal Hareuveni By

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The Swedish improvising trio of trumpeter Emil Strandberg, pianist Sten Sandell and bassist Patric Thorman has played together since 2006. Its first recording, Stockholm Sweden Polyphony (Found You Recording, 2009), signaled the many directions that these experienced and resourceful improvisers were beginning to explore. The trio kept performing while Strandberg and Thorman also collaborated with American cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm's quintet, Seval.

The trio's sophomore recording features only the title piece, a 33-minute sonic journey into the unknown. As the title suggests, the musicians do not structure the flow of sounds or surrender to any musical convention or genre. With no leader, and with a focused and restrained atmosphere, the sounds emerge, float for brief moments, and begin their search; the trio lets the sounds go into silence as soon as the fragmented interplay evaporates, enabling new sounds to begin. The trio's three contrasting voices sound as if they are going in separate ways, yet a delicate balance is negotiated, demanding patience and deep listening to each others' ideas, even to form short and tight themes. Strandberg begins the improvisation with short phrases that have a clear, round tone and an almost jazz-tinged sound, but later joins Sandell and Thorman's experimental searches and exploration of extended techniques, with vocalized sounds. Sandell's playing is more abstract and poetic, opting for the suggestive more than the emphasized, while Thorman's sensitive additions are articulated with great reserve.

A masterful improvised performance.


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