Is it mere coincidence, or fate, that Bugge Wesseltoft and the late Esbjorn Svensson were both born in the same quarter of 1964? More to the point, Wesseltoft, having effectively merged his New Conception of Jazz with the two surviving members of Svensson's e.s.t., has now hatched a veritable Scandinavian supergroup. The formation of Rymden is a welcome move since it provides an excellent vehicle for Wesseltoft and the virtuoso rhythm section of bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström.
The opening "Reflections" is a short soundscape to whet the appetite, segueing seamlessly into the melodramatic power chords of "The Odyssey," which acts as a perfect blueprint for the rest of the album by demonstrating how tightly this new trio gels. Three more short reflections each feature a member of the trio: "The Peacemaker" is Berglund's baby, "Råk-The Abyss" is Öström's electronically-embellished thunderous solo, and "Orbiting" spotlights Wesseltoft's adroit piano. There is a noticeable shift of emphasis on the urgent "Pitter Patter," with Wesseltoft now making a transient deviation to electric piano for a compulsive net effect. While this isn't necessarily representative of the whole album, it is a killer track.
Wesseltoft returns to acoustic piano for Öström's "The Lugubrious Youth Of Lucky Luke," a languid excursion benefitting from a memorably lyrical melody and showcasing Berglund's dextrous pizzicato bass solo. Wesseltoft's "The Celestial Dog And The Funeral Ship," with its sparse military snare beats and Berglund's plaintive arco bass, is riven with poignancy from the composer's evocative piano lines. Öström's elegiac "Bergen" is more evidence of the success of the sonic coalescence of these three musicians. The album concludes with Wesseltoft's gently moving "Homegrown" and the trio still playing with surgical surety and breathtaking elegance. If Rymden suggests the way forward for this trio, then the future looks very bright.
Track Listing: Reflections; The Odyssey; The Peacemaker; Pitter-Patter; The Lugubrious Youth Of Lucky Luke; The
Celestial Dog And The Funeral Ship; Bergen; Råk–The Abyss; Råk; Orbiting; Homegrown.
Personnel: Bugge Wesseltoft: piano, keyboards; Dan Berglund: bass; Magnus Öström: drums.
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