Swedish vibes player Mattias Ståhl
is the prominent Scandinavian mallet explorer in recent years. He is a wise composer and articulate improviser, well versed in jazz history on both sides of the Atlantic with a distinct melodic and rhythmic approach and sound. The sounds of Ståhl's vibes are integral to some of the most exciting bands in Sweden and Norway, like those of reed player Martin Küchen, Eirik Hegdal's Team Hegdal, pianist Cecilia Persson and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra
Stahl's new trio features like-minded, open and versatile collaboratorsdouble bassist Joe Williamson and drummer Christopher Cantillo
, who played together in the alternative trio The Inconvenience.
This project emphasizes the breadth of Ståhl's musical language and original compositions,from beginning with Duke Ellington
's standard "The Mooche," to reworking the popular Swedish TV theme of composer Sten Carlberg,with a classic jazz composition of jazz pianist Jan Johansson
. There is also a selection from the cult singer Doris, arranging a song of Swedish songwriter Emil Svanängen(known also as Lonely, Dear), with whom Ståhl worked, and a concluding, classic composition from Sun Ra
The inventive interplay of this trio moves on few parallel courses. It is anchored with a clear swinging pulse, and the articulation is mostly melodic but within this seemingly conventional framework Ståhl, Williamson and Cantillo do wonders. They are busy varying and coloring the rhythm, introducing new sounds with objects and bows, exchanging lead roles while they cleverly build and disintegrate the tension. With this trio even the most familiar composition sounds fresh and different, very personal.
The trio's unique, tight rhythmic conception is featured on the energetic Doris' "Did You Give The World Some Love Today, Baby" where all musicians play leading roles, intensifying the theme. Williamson's "Formaldehyde" and "The Siamese Twins" highlight the lyrical and subtle side of the trio, carefully sketching almost abstract textures. Carlberg's "Undervattensvals (From Bamse)" unfolds like a story blurring a calm atmosphere with urgent, dark sonic elements. The rhythm of the title song, Svanängen's catchy "I Was Only Going Out" is fractured and patched again with the highly imaginative playing of Cantillo. The trio concludes with a fantastic arrangement of Sun Ra's "Satellites Are Spinning," true to the master's eccentric, adventurous sonic journeys but still rooted in the jazz legacy.
Symbolically, the Ra composition marks this excellent trio's raison d'êtretuned to a rich jazz legacy, inspired by great masters, but playing now, in this moment, with a strong, rich and original sound of their own.
The Mooche; Sonny Boy Williamson; Did You Give The World Some Love
Today, Baby; Formaldehyde; Skobonka/The Healing Properties Of The Orb
Were Found To Be Exaggerated; Undervattensvals (From Bamse); 10
augusti; The Siamese Twin; I Was Only Going Out; Satellites Are
Mattias Ståhl: vibraphone; Joe Williamson: double bass; Christopher