Northwestern Songs Arne Torvik Trio
- 3First Song07:12
- 4Åpent rom05:30
Info for Northwestern Songs
The trinity of piano, bass and drums is an ensemble construction with a particularly prominent place in jazz, past and present. Indeed, some of these piano trios, as they are commonly termed, are among the most revered and popular groups the music has seen. The standing of the piano trio in the Norwegian jazz landscape is no different. And like a lot of modern jazz from Norway in general, in particular how it evolved since the generation of Garbarek, Andersen, Rypdal and others spearheaded new sounds in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it has also taken on flavors very distinct to this country.
Given this venerated and popular status, the piano trio can be both a tempting task to tryone’s hands on as it can seem a daunting one. For pianist, composer and educator Arne Torvik (b. 1981), the opportunity to form a trio to play his own compositions arose while on a sojourn away from his home town of Molde. This is a slightly sleepy, mid-sized city on the Western coast of Norway that for one week each year explodes with jazz in all co nceivable (and some inconceivable) shapes for the duration of the venerable Molde International Jazz Festival.
Torvik met and played with double bassist Bjørnar Kaldefoss Tveite and drummer Øystein Aarnes Vik during a short stint in Oslo. They quickly hit it off, and the idea of making an album with this trio began to take shape. The resulting album, Northwestern Songs, was recorded at Newtone Studio in Oslo, June 2019. Here, Torvik continues to explore the relationships between pop sensibilities and jazz, which was also a feature of the music on his debut as a leader, the 2016 quintet recording Northwestern Sounds. At the same time, the open and revealing nature of the trio format allows him to further explore and challenge himself as piano player.
Northwestern Sounds garnered some international recognition, and the music drew comparisons with some of Norway’s most popular and well-known jazz musicians. And while one can hear elements in Torvik’s trio that seem to align it with some of the prominent Norwegian piano trios of today – a strong feel for melody and lyricism and a penchant for space which allows the pieces to breathe and the notes to resonate– there are others that set Torvik’s piano trio apart and highlight his unique voice as a pianist and composer.
Sometimes, these particularities are subtle, and delightfully so. Notice, for example, the hip-hop-influenced bass and drum interplay that surges just under the piano lead towards the closing stage of “Iver”. At other times, they appear more to the fore, at least initially, such as the R&B-like syncopation that carries the album opener “Compromises”.
With Torvik’s strong melodies leading the way, Kaldefoss Tveite and Aarnes Vik tread assuredly but lightly close by. Focused, attentive, and understanding rather than reined in, sometimes taking center stage as Torvik leans back. The approach is one of openness and fluidity, the trio moving seamlessly from one stage to the next, investigating new connections between various pop forms and jazz. As such, Northwestern Songs is proof that there is still plenty of ways to explore the piano trio format.
Arne Torvik, piano
Bjørnar Kaldefoss Tveite, bass
Øystein Aarnes Vik, drum
references his geographic location in Norway with the title of his debut release on Øra Fonogram, but he’s absorbed an international flavour to his music, expressed in the six original compositions on this recording. Torvik leads a sextet through the set with attractive melodies as a constant thread and plenty of nods to relaxed, funky grooves, overtly rocky beats and more meditative folky moments. (...) This a warm, emotional set from Arne Torvik and his band with fine playing all round. (Mike Collins, http://www.londonjazznews.com, 2017)
Richtig gute Musiker allesamt, zusammen harmonieren sie prächtig. Die Stücke sind gefällig und teilweise ziemlich relaxed, aber nicht einfach oder banal. Da möchte man mit ein paar Freunden im Auto eine norwegische Küstenstraße entlang fahren – zur nächsten Musikhochschule, wo abends Arne Torvik mit seinem Sextett auftritt... (Tim Jonathan Kleinecke, http://nordische-musik.de, 2017)
Torvik's debut album, which was released in Norway last year and is now being promoted outside its borders, is distinguished by a number of things: the high level of musicianship on display; the equally impressive quality of the compositions and arrangements; and finally, the ease with which jazz and pop forms are blended. Without any compromise to the integrity of the material, Torvik threads elements of R&B and melodic pop into many of these compositions, resulting in a highly harmonious fusion that can be soul-stirring. (Ron Schepper, www.textura.org, 2017)
The opening piece «Heart» already sketches clearly where Torvik musical territory is located. Eikrem and Myhre Olsen phrasing quote Garbarek folky-singing lines, Jørgensen Bjarnar guitar suggests shining, angular lines that sound like Metheny in his most country-ish mode, and Torvik piano playing cements the strong, innocent melodic vein. Torvik and his group further variate on similar simple, melodic textures, stressing the leisured yet tight and emphatic interplay. (Eyal Hareuveni, saltpeanuts*,2017)
This is an album where the melodies are as wide as the horizon line and as clear as the sky that frames it. Pianist Arne Torvik keeps things uncomplicated on his new recording Northwestern Sounds, preferring for simple beautiful statements to ring loudly and with clarity (...) One of those albums that, by keeping things simple, keeps the reasons for enjoyment coming. (Dave Sumner, www.birdistheworm.com, 2016)
....Den usedvanlig vakre, melodiske og nærmest popinspirerte musikken er av typen som tar bolig i en - og blir værende (Tor Hammerø i Romsdals Budstikke, 2016)
«Northwestern Sounds» (Øra Fonogram/Musikkoperatørene) er komponisten og pianisten Arne Torviks sterke platedebut denne veka. (...) Ein kraftfull debut er det uansett, og nok eit døme på all den bra jazzen som vert laga i landet vårt. (Roald Helgheim i Dagsavisen om Northwestern Sounds, 2016)
Torvik er en låtsnekrer av meget høy klasse og de fleste låtene her glir lett inn i øregangene allerede ved første gjennomlytt, sjøl om de på ingen måte er lettvinte. (..) Det som imidlertid er helt åpenbart er det melodiske og det nesten popinspirerte - dette er musikk også for musikkelskere langt utenfor jazzmenigheta. (...) Arne Torvik har lagt lista høyt og på et vakkert sted. (Tor Hammerø i Romsdals Budstikke/ Tor de jazz om Northwestern Sounds, 2016)
..for en pretensiøs jazzkritikar kan det groovy åpningssporet Heart fort bli en guilty pleasure (...) men den er som resten av plata, ei silkemjuk, passe melankolsk og tight låt arrangert for et band med ekstremt dyktige musikarar. (Olav Opsvik i Jazznytt om Northwestern Sounds, 2016)
This album contains no booklet.