116

Sten Sandell Trio: Oval

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Sten Sandell Trio: Oval Pianist Sten Sandell and his trio have excelled themselves on record in 2007, and listeners accordingly owe a debt of gratitude to both Intakt and Cleanfeed labels, whose "Strokes documented the trio in the company of saxophonist John Butcher for a program of music that exemplifies in-the-moment creativity of an uncommon order.

In comparison, Oval thus has a lot to live up to, but the trio's flagrant disregard for precedents and regard for the values of individual and collective identity somehow render the comparison irrelevant. This is a working unit of the highest order and that's abundantly obvious on "Ovala Takter I, the opening passage of which finds Standell working with the piano strings and in conjunction with bassist Johan Berthling, evoking a dry, arid soundscape pulsing with life. As the piece evolves the energy level rises, but these players are so closely in tune with their craft that they stay clear of Cecil Taylor's looming shadow. Theirs is arguably music more alert to nuance as well, so that the ebb and flow of the piece, whilst profoundly the consequence of spontaneous form, is subject also to the musicians' whims in the best sense of the term.

If the point needs to be reiterated that this is a group marking out its own distinctive territory, then "Ovala Takter II is the place where it happens. Standell is clearly alert to and aware of every possibility the piano has to offer as a producer of sound. The degree to which he subverts the idea of the keyboard virtuoso is admirable, even whilst it suggests nothing other than the fact that he's a virtuoso himself. There are greater ends than the mere showing off that virtuosity can imply and some of them are obvious here.

"Ovala Takter III, in turn, puts that message across in a way that almost turns the program into a manifesto. For a while, the dialogue between Standell and Berthling is strong enough to suggest that drummer Paal Nillssen-Love is somehow superfluous, but as the piece progresses it becomes obvious this is down to the latter's acutely sensitive listening.

This is a piano trio working well outside the norm, and consequently it's very much on whatever the cutting edge amounts to these days. The music it makes is rich and profoundly rewarding.


Track Listing: Ovala Takter I; Ovala Takter II; Ovala Takter III; Oval Ballad.

Personnel: Sten Sandell: piano, voice; Johan Berthling: bass; Paal Nilssen-Love: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Intakt Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Leaving Everything Behind" CD/LP/Track Review Leaving Everything Behind
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Dobbeltgaeenger" CD/LP/Track Review Dobbeltgaeenger
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland" CD/LP/Track Review One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Istanbul Underground" CD/LP/Track Review Istanbul Underground
by James Nadal
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Petite Moutarde" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Moutarde
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Of The Night" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Night
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!