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Helge Lien

How to master "The Art Of The Trio" perfectly. Until now we’ve only known it from Brad Mehldau, Bill Evans and E.S.T. Now, with the Norwegian Helge Lien Trio, a new formation is on the way to adding new exciting soundscapes to the piano trio. Perfectly in tune with each other, this trio has presented us with Hello Troll, an album that paints lyrical- impressionistic moodscapes, and whose appeal is practically irresistable.

A little nation with a big jazz tradition is the land of fjords and trolls. Fascinating new artists and acts sporting a huge zest for playing and an irrepressible urge for experimentation keep pushing out of Norway to conquer the rest of the jazz world. The Helge Lien Trio, who have already won a large circle of fans in Scandinavia and Japan with their five albums and inspiring live concerts, are especially significant. They maintain the balance between jazz traditions and the avant-gardist art of improvisation like hardly any other classic piano trio, par excellence.

Helge Lien, who besides his own trio project performs with other Norwegian acts like Silje Nergaard, has developed his very own unmistakable style of trio playing with band colleagues Frode Berg (bass) and Knut Aalefjaer (drums & percussion). With instinctive sureness, the musicians develop a "chamber music" jazz that stands out through its harmonically complex tone colors. Building on Bill Evans’ lyrical power and the exhilaratingly melancholic playing of Esbjorn Svensson, Lien, in constant dialogue with Berg & Aalefjaer, creates distinct moods on Hello Troll—moods that he presents with ease.

Doubtlessly pianist Helge Lien, who is very skilled at playing to the gallery with his modal piano art, is one of the most exciting young talents in Scandinavia. After the honorable Dagbladet from Norway already described the forerunner CD To The Little Radio as "the best Norwegian Piano Trio Album in a long time," we can be looking out for a similar reaction to their new long player. Playing their way into the hearts of a steadily growing circle of listeners with classic-impressionistic patterns and rhythmical-melodic jazz, this trio’s resourcefulness seems to truly know no bounds.


Album Review

Arild Andersen: Affirmation

Read "Affirmation" reviewed by Mario Calvitti

Il contrabbassista norvegese Arild Andersen è uno dei protagonisti di quella generazione di musicisti (insieme a Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Jon Christensen, Bobo Stenson, Edward Vesala) che grazie all'etichetta ECM, nel cui catalogo è presente con regolarità fin dal lontano 1971, ha contribuito all'affermazione del jazz scandinavo fino ad allora praticamente sconosciuto. Per il suo più recente progetto ha costituito un nuovo quartetto chiamando a sé alcuni musicisti, anch'essi norvegesi, appartenenti a generazioni successive alla sua, ma già completamente affermati ...

Album Review

Arild Andersen Group: Affirmation

Read "Affirmation" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

For almost half a century, Arild Andersen has been a pillar of Manfred Eicher's ECM label. His ECM albums have traversed dissimilar territory, from the brooding Shimri (1976), the folk-influenced Sagn (1990), to the orchestral grandeur of Live at Belleville (2008). At seventy-seven, the Norwegian bassist offers the almost entirely improvised Affirmation. Andersen is joined by tenor saxophonist Marius Neset, pianist Helge Lien, and drummer Håkon Mjåset Johansen. Andersen recorded with Lien on The Rose Window (Deutsche Media Productions, 2016) ...

Album Review

Arild Andersen Quartet: Affirmation

Read "Affirmation" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Arild Andersen began his association with ECM Records in 1975, with the release of his album Clouds In My Head. He has released over 20 more recordings in a leadership role for the label, and has participated in even more albums--for ECM and other labels--in a sideman role, joining artists as diverse as pianists Bobo Stenson, Ketil Bjornstad and Yelena Eckemoff, saxophonists Jan Garbarek and Tommy Smith. trombonist Roswell Rudd and singer Sheila Jordan. He has proved himself a prolific ...

Album Review

Per Oddvar Johansen: The Quiet Cormorant

Read "The Quiet Cormorant" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Collaboratore di alcuni dei più importanti musicisti scandinavi—da Trygve Seim a Christian Wallumrød fino alla giovane Mette Henriette—il batterista norvegese Per Oddvar Johansen è qui alla guida di un trio completato dai connazionali Helge Lien al pianoforte e Torben Snekkestad alle ance, che in due brani si allarga a quartetto con l'ingresso della chitarra di Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, per mettere in scena musica, che ha pensato e composto durante un ritiro sulle solitarie coste nordiche. Il risultato è ...

Album Review

Helge Lien Trio: Badgers and Other Beings

Read "Badgers and Other Beings" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Era qualche anno che non si parlava di Helge Lien, pianista norvegese piuttosto affermato ma poco noto da noi. Dopo l'approdo all'etichetta tedesca Ozella Music, che lo ha aiutato a imporsi con il suo trio prima con Hello Troll (2008), poi con Natsukashii (2011), eccolo dunque con questo nuovo Badgers and Other Beings, che vede l'ingresso del batterista Per Oddvar Johansen (già con Christian Wallumrød e Trygve Seim) al posto tenuto per tredici anni da Knut Aalefjær. Immutato invece il ...

Album Review

Helge Lien Trio: Badgers and Other Beings

Read "Badgers and Other Beings" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Since he signed to Dagobert Böhm's Ozella Music, Norwegian pianist Helge Lien has reached a new artistic plateau with his trio. Hello Troll (Ozella, 2008) was an immediate success that showcased the group's lyricism and tight interplay and the spacious beauty of Natsukashii (Ozella, 2010) added new colors to a wide musical vocabulary rooted in the Nordic aesthetic. Badgers and Other Beings continues the trio's journey in sound and like the previous releases, it has been superbly ...

Album Review

Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer and Helge Lien: Memnon

Read "Memnon" reviewed by Anthony Shaw

Helge Lien is a contemporary Norwegian pianist principally known for work on his own and with his trio, for which he has been awarded Norway's 2008 DnBNor Musicians Award. Despite extensive exposure to the more mainstream music created with his trio, however, Lien has long been associated with more experimental projects, like the HERO duo, from 2005-6, with saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm; with Tri O'Trang, where Lien plays alongside saxophone, trumpet and/or tuba; and his more recent solo piano outing, Kattenslager ...

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Helge Lien Trio - "Hello Troll"

Helge Lien Trio - "Hello Troll"

Source: AAJ Staff

OVERVIEW: As a jazz enthusiast, I take pride in recommending albums to my friends that I believe they'll enjoy. The more finicky they are (yes Dan, that's directed at you), the more I delight in suggesting something that they can't stop raving about. Recently on one of the music forums I peruse, a member I've never met, WNBC, recommended Hello Troll from the Helge Lien Trio. Looking back over that thread I see numerous recommendations and album covers from groups ...

"Comprising brilliant originals, piano solos and trio playing by pianist Helge Lien, bass player Frode Berg and drummer Knut Aalefjaer, Hello Troll is maybe the best piano trio album to ever come from Norway. Alright, comparisons like that are a bit dodgy, especially considering the extremely high quality of piano trios spawned by this country’s flourishing jazz milieu, past and present. But when it comes to establishing a common musical expression where piano virtuosity and master musicianship join together in compositions, each one better than the last, and where the different moods are created and expressed so intensely yet calmly, no album comes close to Hello Troll." —Dagbladet



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


ECM Records


The Quiet Cormorant

Losen Records


Badgers and Other...

Ozella Music


Badgers and Other...

Ozella Music



Ozella Music





Short Story

From: Affirmation
By Helge Lien


From: Hello Troll
By Helge Lien


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