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Kjetil Mulelid Trio: Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House

Mark Sullivan By

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Norwegian pianist/composer Kjetil Mulelid leads his young trio in a program with a maturity that contradicts their age. Their music is lyrical and exploratory, with a high degree of group interaction, and even a bit of free playing. Opener "Entrance" finds them moving together through the rhythmic waves. "Fly, Fly" begins with Mulelid in a slightly gospel mood, followed by a brief lyrical unaccompanied piano solo which gives way to a rubato feel, so loose that it almost feels free—the solo repeats at the end, calling the group together for the final theme. A nicely balanced composition and performance.

"C & R" actually is a free improvisation, a sparse, brooding three-way conversation. "You Stood There In Silence, Having No Words" (the longest track) has a suspenseful slow build, followed by an elegiac closing section. "From Someone Else's Point Of View" somehow recalls Chick Corea for me, an interesting alternative to more obvious comparisons like ECM pianists Keith Jarrett or countryman Tord Gustavsen. "Time/Breath" finds Mulelid playing inside the piano, an atmosphere reinforced by bells from drummer Andreas Winther.

"Leaving Home" revisits the gospel feel, which leads to a rubato (but still rhythmic) treatment—a hallmark of the group's arrangements. "Three Last Words" reverses the normal roles, with the rhapsodic piano accompanied by high arco harmonics from bassist Bjørn Hegge. It's listed as the final track, but there is a hidden tenth track: a spare, atmospheric conversation that could be either a continuation of the tune or another free improvisation.

The compositions on Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House are frequently melodic, and always memorable, finding inspiration in a wide variety of music. The trio has a wonderfully conversational style, very much in the Bill Evans Trio tradition. Especially recommended to ECM fans—the album would fit right in there.

Track Listing: Entrance; Fly, Fly; Children's Song; You Stood There In Silence, Having No Words; C & R; From Someone Else's Point Of View; Time/Breath; Leaving Home; Three Last Words.

Personnel: Kjetil André Mulelid, piano; Andreas Skår Winther, drums; Bjørn Marius Hegge, double bass

Title: Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon

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