173

Oval: Sten Sandell Trio

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Oval: Sten Sandell Trio Busy Chicago multi-reed man Ken Vandermark suggests in his liner notes of Oval, the third release by the Sten Sandell Trio, that the Swedish pianist and composer may represent the future of the piano in contemporary and improvised music. Like other pianists of his generation, Sandell is influenced by the innovations of Cecil Taylor but brings many more ingredients to his music, such as the theories of John Cage and Morton Feldman, classical musical elements from India and Japan, folk music from Sweden, electronics, voice, and an idiosyncratic approach to the piano that often uses extended percussive timbral capabilities.

Sandell often works with free improvising ensembles, most notably with the Swedish trio Gush, (reed player Mats Gustafsson and drummer Raymond Strid) whom he has recorded and performed with since 1988, as well as other notable European improvisers such as Evan Parker and Barry Guy.

Oval was recorded beautifully at the Taktlos Festival in Switzerland in June, 2005, and featured Sandell with fellow Swedish bassist Johan Berthling and Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. All three musicians demonstrate the same exemplary high level of communication and creativity that characterized their earlier releases, Standing Wave (Sofa, 2000) and Flat Iron (Sofa, 2002). Throughout this live set they supply a convincing answer to Vandermark's musing as to why one would choose to play non-commercial music in an inconsiderate climate. The trio explores so many fascinating sonic possibilities within this format that Vandermark's question becomes redundant.

The velocity and density of Sandell's playing at the beginning of the first piece, "Ovala Takter I," is an obvious continuation of Taylor's legacy, but Sandell navigates this trio into newer territories, using varied and complex methods such as sustain, concentrated attacks, or adding light vocals. He manages to turn aural textures into deep meditations about the possibilities of the piano, more in common with the ethereal and almost transparent playing of the British free improvisation group AMM's John Tilbury, showing the imaginative interplay between members of the trio.

The trio keeps a contemplative dynamic at the beginning of "Ovala Takter II," trying to find common threads in its timbral explorations, and reconstructing its fragile interplay. At times, Sandell's percussive piano triggers Nilssen-Love's wise use of the cymbals, creating a resonate sound between the two instruments. Berthling's low-end rumination on the bass opens "Oval Takter III," while Nilssen-Love and Sandell color his sound with abstract and slowly forming textures that linger in memory. The short and concluding piece, "Oval Ballad," suggests a gentler example

"I believe that this trio's playing gives us one more reason to live on this planet with optimism for the future," concludes Vandermark; and indeed Oval is a remarkable recording.


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

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

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


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "That Feelin'" CD/LP/Track Review That Feelin'
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "1954" CD/LP/Track Review 1954
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "Petite Moutarde" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Moutarde
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 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!