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Reviews RCD2173

This is Espen's third album and continues to build on the trio's early promise as he manoeuvred the influences of Jan Johansson, Esbjorn Svensson and Tord Gustaysen to telling and personal effect. He has a captivating sense of lyricism, something of a lost art in these days of pattern running. How profoundly this can effect an audience, as when Eriksen began playing in a noisy room in his native Norway when his concert seemed a lost cause. Yet within minutes you could hear a pin drop, the melodic construction of his phrases working with the hypnotic narrative of a storyteller - you just had to listen to see where it would all end up. Here Eriksen shows evidence of continued artistic growth; unfazed by the apparent need for some jazz musicians to dazzle with glossy technical excursions, he works within a carefully proscribed emotional climate that speaks of yearning and unrequited emotion. The often programmatic tune titles of his eight originals - 'Grounded', `Floating', 'In the Mountains', `Never Ending January' - providing a mini-concert that can be returned to again and again to explore the subtle mysteries of this most undemonstrative, yet compelling musician's creations.
Jazzwise (UK)

Recorded at Propeller Studio in Oslo, this session is accessible and melodic, with just enough dynamics to keep it from getting too predictable. If you like ballad-oriented piano trios with an impressionistic approach or have a soft spot for ECM or Nordic jazz, this powerfully understated record should appeal to you. Eriksen was smitten by the C. Bechstein grand piano that was waiting for him in the studio, adding extra inspiration to the session (and it does sound lovely).
The Absolute Sound (US)

We are living in the jazz age – the Scandinavian jazz age, that is. Specifically, the Norwegian jazz age. First we had Bugge Wesseltoft, then Tord Gustavsen, and now there is a flood of great artists from those heavily wooded shores. The Espen Eriksen Trio formed in 2007 and this is their third release, so they are relatively young and you can hear as much in the music on the gloomily titled yet hardly miserable album. Its youthfulness is apparent not in excess vigour – only on one track do they really let loose – but in the freshness of playing from pianist Eriksen, bassist Lars Tormod Jenset, and drummer Andreas Bye. This is a band that has tone and touch, a rare combination at any age, and it’s put to god use in tunes that get their message across in a subtle yet engaging fashion. You can hear the influence of those that have gone before them, but his trio has a sound of its own; one that’s thoughtful, poignant, and avoids self-indulgence. The key to their appeal is rhythmic integrity; this is not a groove driven band, but everything they do is underpinned by this sensibility. This trio is as fine an exponent of the Norwegian sound as you could hope to hear all year. 8/10.
HiFi+ (UK)

Oh no, not another sensitive Scandinavian piano trio, I hear you moan. Well, yes, but listen out, for they are really rather good. All the eight short compositions are by leader Eriksen and are both melodic and minimal at the same time. The playing is likewise tuneful and largely unadorned, Eriksen's clarion clear, lyrical piano lines well supported by a woody bass and subtle drums. But there is also considerable tonal variety on display, notably the shimmering cymbals on Floating and elsewhere, the deep, descending bass riffs that introduce In The Mountains, and the swelling piano cadences of Brian. Best of all is Jenset's arco solo on Cold Front, sounding almost like an amplified violin in its intonation. Such added touches reveal a trio playing in total empathy, comfortable in themselves and in their music. Scandinavia seems to be breeding piano trios at the moment, but this one is a welcome addition to their ranks.
Jazz Journal (UK)

Elegant, wistfully lyrical, and dominated by Eriksen´s pellucid piano filigrees, it´s an aural balm for the ears. 4/5.
Record Collector (UK)

Third and best-so-far studio album by classy Norwegian chamber jazz outfit.
The Afterworld (UK)

What you might expect from a Norwegian piano trio, and none the worse for that. In fact pianist Eriksen, with Lars Tormod Jenset on bass and Andreas Bye on drums, really does seem resolutely to fly the flag that was previously raised by Esbjorn Svensson and carried on by Tord Gustavsen. The accent is on melody, quiet groove and beauty in the tried and trusted manner, with any extraneous distractions curtailed. The rich bass and drums thrum of In The Mountains, with Eriksen moving down into the lower range of the piano as well, is a striking example of how for apparent simplicity to work there is always a lot more complexity hidden beneath it. Like that one, the other song titles are equally simple and direct: Grounded, Floating, Gravity, Cold Front. The only anomaly is one called Brian! Not that Brian surely?
The Jazz Breakfast (UK)

Zugegebenermaßen ist die Welt der Jazz-Piano-Trios nicht unbedingt von spannenden Überraschungen geprägt. Die Besetzung Klavier, Bass, Schlagzeug und die Provenienz aus Norwegen legt schon einen gewissen Wohlklang nahe und lässt Verweise an Esbjörn Svensson und Tord Gustavsen nicht außen vor. Doch von diesen Parametern sollte man sich im Fall des dritten Albums vom Espen Eriksen Trio nicht abschrecken lassen. Ihre Musik ist natürlich stark von der Melodik ihrer heimischen Folklore geprägt und atmet die Ruhe und Weite der Fjordlandschaft. Diesem fast schon kitschigen Ansatz begegnen die drei exzellenten Musiker stets mit einem kompositorischen Minimalismus, der durch seine offenen Räume viel Platz lässt für eigene Entdeckungen.
Westzeit (DE)

Warm, zart, leicht melancholisch - das sind dagegen die Attribute des "Espen Eriksen Trio", das auf "Never Ending January" jede Menge eingängige jazzig-folkloristische Melodien im Angebot hat. Und die werden von Pianist Espen Eriksen, Bassist Lars Tormod Jenset und Schlagzeuger Andreas Bye gefühlvoll und poetisch zum Klingen gebracht.
Zeitungshaus Bauer (DE)

Einen etwas seltsamen Tonträger hat der Pianist Espen Eriksen da abgeliefert. Phasenweise kommen die Stücke schon ein wenig übertrieben einfach gestrickt daher, Vergleiche mit den unsäglichen Piano-Pop-Dingen der 70er und 80er Jahre sollen besser doch nicht bemüht werden. Dann wieder wechselt die Stilistik, ein machtvoller, ostinater Bass – Lars Tormod Jenset – erinnert an das stilbildende Trio des Esbjörn Svensson, eine schöne Sparsamkeit an Barockes und Romanisches. Manches Crescendo nervt mit allzu bedeutungsschwangerer Dramatik, mancher Track hat einfach den Blues, ein anderer eignet sich zur Dinner Music oder als Lounge Jazz. Dann reißt wieder ein beindruckendes Basssolo aus den somnambulen Selbstreflexionen, wenige Noten, aber genau dort, wo sie hingehören.
Bad Alchemy (DE)

O mundo do jazz precisa de mais um trio escandinavo de piano, contrabaixo e bateria na linha de Esbjörn Svensson e Tord Gustavsen? Com certeza que sim, desde que tenham o lirismo, o refinamento e o sentido de concisão dos noruegueses Espen Eriksen (piano), Lars Tormod Jenset (contrabaixo) e Andreas Bye (bateria). Este é o seu terceiro disco e a fonte de melodias frescas e inebriantes não parece ter fim.
Observador (PT)

Melancholic, jazz-oriented music is what they offer on their third release, demonstrated in eight well-defined compositions by the hand of Eriksen. Pianist Espen Eriksen has a background in jazz and pop. Lars Tormod Jenset plays bass, also in other Scandinavian projects like of Hot'n'Spicy, Bendik Giske Kvintett  and Rodent. Andreas Bye is a much asked drummer and worked with Bugge Wesseltoft, John Scofield, Joshua Redman, among others. As a trio they exist since 2007. Eriksen plays his piano with an elegant touch. Bass and drums complete the sound of this trio that focuses on accessible, introspective instrumental music where harmony, melody are important. No avant-garde manoeuvres here. But music of a quiet and balanced nature, that will bring your mind to peace.
Vital Weekly (NE)

Gjennom å spille inn for plateselskapet Rune Grammofon har trioen sikret seg internasjonal eksponering, og bandet turnerer mye utaskjærs. Dette er en trio i det vi etter hvert kan kalle en nordisk pianotradisjon. Etter tre album kan vi likevel registrere at den har lykkes å finne sin egen lille nisje i dette segmentet - det låter umiskjennelig eriksensk. Her er mye musikalsk lyrikk og melodiøse linjer både i temaføringer og improvisasjon. Inspirasjon fra folkemusikk er også hørbart i flere sekvenser. Gruppa har laget et vakkert album, hvor pianist Eriksen og bassist Jenset suppleres av trommeslager Andreas Bye.
Romsdals Budstikke (NO)

Espen Eriksen Trio er ute med ny plate. På CD og vinyl. Ei plate mange bør sikre seg, ikke minst spellemannkomiteen. Det kan diskuterast kor nyskapande og vanskeleg det er å levere slik trioen på nytt gjer. Det som ikkje kan diskuterast er kor velspelande det er og kor kvalitetsmessig gjennomført det er. Eg har leita og funne artistar som liknar på Espen Eriksen Trio. Litt for å finne meir musikk i denne gata, mest for å høyre kor bra dette er målt mot andre. Utan å ta for hardt i snakkar me her om internasjonal toppklasse innan denne sjangeren av jazz. Denne er til å ha langt framme i platesamlinga. 6/6.
Tysvær Bygdeblad (NO)

Ein stor del av attraksjonen i musikken ligg nettopp i dei melodiøse låtane kombinert med fine og veltilpassa arrangementsdetaljar som til dømes den sært vakre bogebasslinja på den hustrige og insisterande "Cold Front" eller det rytmisk spanande kompet som ulmar under dei pregnante pianolinjene i høgdepunktet på plata, "In The Mountains". Dei tre musikarane kjenner kvarandre godt og kan gå inn og ut av roller og posisjonar. På denne måten får dei med minimalistiske verkemiddel maks ut av låtmaterialet. I tillegg til flotte, velspela låtar er plata glitrande produsert. Her er både luft og rom og trykk og pondus. Det er all grunn til å halda fram med å lytta til Espen Eriksen Trio.
Dag Og Tid (NO)

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