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Bévort 3: Northbound

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Bévort 3: Northbound
The seven-year itch between Bévort 3's debut recording, Trio Temptations (Gateway Music, 2014) and On Fire (Gateway Music, 2021) thankfully seems to have been a one-off. Just two years after Live 2020-2021 (Gateway Music, 2022), the trio led by renowned Danish saxophonist Pernille Bevort is back with Northbound. Once again, Bévort is joined by bassist Morten Ankerfeldt and drummer Espen Laub von Lillenskjold on a set that showcases the leader's distinctive compositions and the trio's vibrant interplay.

Bévort's one-of-a-kind melodies, elegant yet tinged with melancholy, puckish charm and noirish tones, form the trio's launching pads. Her soloing is a joy to behold. On slow to mid-tempo fare like the dreamy "Northbound" and the rhythmically restless "Sleepwalker," Bévort's solos unfold with a storyteller's poise and flair. At slightly more urgent pace, as on "Strolling in June" or the old Radio Bévort favorite "Tiny Hesitation," Bévort is like an expert juggler, releasing a stream of notes from her tenor that arc and cascade with unerring gravitational logic, while hypnotizing with their flashing colors and inherent drama. When Bévort is on this sort of form she has few peers.

A trio effort, to be sure, Bévort's fellow traveler's Ankerfeldt and von Lillenskjold are equal partners in music that is rhythmically lithe and unfailingly atmospheric. Not for nothing did Bévort 3 scoop the Danish Music Awards Jazz Band of the Year in 2022 and 2023. Ankarfeldt delivers a couple of first-rate bass solos—his richly earthy tone perfectly captured in the mix. But it is his fluid, probing lines, in harness with the no-less inventive von Lillenskjold, that helps drive the music. Whether on feisty swingers like "Ebullient Encounter" or the brooding impressionism of "Pending Spring" the trio's chemistry is at the heart of matters.

There is a poetic economy, a focused intensity, to these intimate, moving narratives. But do not be fooled, for when the siren calls her, Bévort leads this rhythmically vital trio with real brio. An early contender for one of the year's best.

Track Listing

Northbound; My Soft Spot; Floating; Sleepwalker; Strolling in June; Pending Spring; Reflections in Three; Tiny Hesitation; Autumn Equinox; Ebullient Encounter.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Northbound | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Gateway Music


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