229

Eple Trio: The Widening Sphere of Influence

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Eple Trio: The Widening Sphere of Influence Recorded at legendary Rainbow Studios in Oslo, Norway, Eple Trio's second album, The Widening Sphere of Influence is an apt title, revealing the evolution of the trio and the incorporation of new sonorities a year on from its fine debut, Made This(NORCD. 2007). That album announced the arrival of a trio distinctive for the subtlety and beauty of its playing and the sparseness of its arrangements. The blend of Norwegian folk sounds—waltz, lullaby and church influences—minimalist European classical tradition and elements of jazz with the most sparing use of drums (odd given that drummer Jonas Sjovaag wrote nearly half the tunes) immediately suggested the most celebrated music of Swedish pianist Jan Johansson, an influence that pianist Andreas Ulvo happily acknowledges.

Whilst there has hardly been a musical revolution since, the changes in the dynamics of the trio are very evident. Again, all but one track are written by pianist Adreas Ulvo and drummer Jonas Sjovaag, but there is a definite shift away from the overt folk and classical influences, and the emergence of a more personal sound, typified by the gorgeous "Dawn," which features the repetition of a single note on piano around which Ulvo weaves a delightfully simple melody.

Another major departure from Made This is the greater voice given to the drums and bass, which results in an aesthetic which is more jazz-oriented, more dramatic, and moodier. The piano melody which starts "Black Oak" could be from a Hammer House of Horror movie and only the absence of ghoulish wailing initially separates it from a Scooby Doo haunted-house soundtrack, which is not to say it lacks charm, or substance.

The addition of Mathias Eick on trumpet on "Blackwater" brings additional color and contrasting tone to the mix, and he plays an unhurried and interesting mid-tempo solo. On the more abstract "Eclipse," which begins with restless percussion, the guitar effects of Even Helte Hermansen lend an almost distorted electronics ambience to the tune. Dramatic piano chords and guitar feedback increase the tension before it gradually peters out. "March of the Mystery Men" features Sigurd Hole on bowed bass, and as the intensity of the piece mounts it is difficult not to think of bassist Dan Berglund and e.s.t.

The hypnotic intro to "Triplex" features a three-note marimba-style riff and damped piano plucking. Hole's bass comes to dominate the piece which carries nobody's stamp on it but Eple Trio's. The album closer, the lovely "Buoy," features rumbling toms, a gentle bass and occasional washing cymbals which carry the delicate playing of Ulvos on this, the most lyrical of the album's pieces.

Musically, Eple Trio has come quite a way in a short period of time. As it embraces a less derivative style and finds a more confident voice, its music gains in potency, yet not at the expense of beauty or lyricism, which are the common denominators of its first two albums. A name to watch out for.


Track Listing: River Song; Dawn; First Monday in October; March of the Mystery Men; Blackwater; Eclipse; Black Oak; Triplex; Buoy.

Personnel: Andreas Ulvo: piano; Sigurd Hole: bass; Jonas Howden Sjovaag: drums; Mathias Eick: trumpet (5); Even Helte Hermansen: guitar (6).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: NORCD | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

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 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 Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Things Are Looking Up" CD/LP/Track Review Things Are Looking Up
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 9, 2016
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Guilty Saints" CD/LP/Track Review Guilty Saints
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "A Kenton Celebration" CD/LP/Track Review A Kenton Celebration
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 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!