All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

476

Eple Trio: The Widening Sphere of Influence

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
If there's a singular specific approach that Scandinavian musicians have brought to jazz, it's a temporal elasticity where time is often fluid, whether or not it's clearly defined. While rubato playing is nothing new, it's become a trademark through the playing of pianists like Bobo Stenson, Tord Gustavsen...and now, Andreas Ulvo and Eple Trio. As different as it is from Maria Kannegaard's Camel Walk (Jazzland, 2008) and Stenson's Cantando (ECM, 2008), Eple Trio shares the exploration of space, understatement and slow tempos. But as keyboardist for the more progressive rock-inflected Shining, Ulvo may approach silence rather than ear-shattering extremes on The Widening Sphere of Influence, but he also demonstrates the occasional predilection for greater energy.

Still, there are parts of The Widening Sphere of Influence where the trio leaves notes to decay for so long as to approach periods of near-silence while, at the same time, creating a remarkable feeling of impending drama. "March of the Mystery Men" builds inexorably, Ulvo inside the piano while bassist Sigurd Hole creates the most delicate pedal point and drummer Jonas Hodwn Sjovaag layers seemingly random colors. A brooding, neoclassical theme emerges, building repetitively with Hole taking on a more dominant role that draws comparison to e.s.t.'s Dan Berglund and that trio's Leucocyte (ACT, 2008), with the trio becoming gradually more intense, dense and electronic, only to dissolve back into ethereal darkness.

Largely a trio outing, Eple Trio recruits increasingly ubiquitous Mathias Eick—with whom Ulvo plays in the trumpeter's quartet, heard recently at Mai Jazz 2008, in Stavanger, Norway—to layer his characteristically serpentine lyrical lines over the hypnotic "Blackwater." Shining cohort, guitarist Even Helte Hermansen, guests on the episodic "Eclipse," continuing the trance-inducing "Blackwater," but mid-way picking up with Ulvo's arpeggio-driven theme, bolstered by Sjovaag's more energetic, rock-inflected approach.

While collective improvisation factors large here, it's of a nuanced nature with influences that come more from the classical sphere—traces of Arvo Part, Erik Satie and Debussy can be heard throughout— as well as the ubiquitous alt-rock presence of Radiohead (even though the disc is largely acoustic). Ulvo also cites pianist Misha Alperin as a reference, and in his largely tranquil approach with the occasional unexpected vibrant outburst, it's a clear line to albums like Her First Dance (ECM, 2008). It's a modernistic blend that combines tranquility with dark-hued, out-of-time passages of subtle grandeur, "River Song" feeling much as if Satie were an improvising pianist, with its spare theme a rallying point for trio interaction that's unfettered yet still revolving around the song's base structure.

Another example of how Norwegian artists are stretching the boundaries of the traditional piano trio past its breaking point into completely new territory, The Widening Sphere of Influence is an appropriate title for Eple Trio's imaginative musical expansionism. Whether it's the delicately atmospheric, image-inducing "Buoy" or more majestic "River Song," which bookend the disc with related motifs, Eple Trio's blend of serenity and occasional bursts of jagged intensity make for a unique and consistently compelling listen.

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: drums; Mathias Eick: trumpet (5); Even Helte Hermansen: guitar (6).

Title: The Widening Sphere of Influence | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: NORCD

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read UHHM CD/LP/Track Review
UHHM
by John Bricker
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Decoy CD/LP/Track Review
Decoy
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read "Cycles of Animation" CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Embodied Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Embodied Hope
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "Myths and Morals" CD/LP/Track Review Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Decoy" CD/LP/Track Review Decoy
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Birdsongs" CD/LP/Track Review Birdsongs
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 12, 2018
Read "Harmony of Difference" CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017