How to master The Art Of The Trio perfectly. Until now we’ve only known it from Brad Mehldau, Bill Evans and E.S.T. Now, with the Norwegian Helge Lien Trio, a new formation is on the way to adding new exciting soundscapes to the piano trio. Perfectly in tune with each other, this trio has presented us with Hello Troll, an album that paints lyrical- impressionistic moodscapes, and whose appeal is practically irresistable.
A little nation with a big jazz tradition is the land of fjords and trolls. Fascinating new artists and acts sporting a huge zest for playing and an irrepressible urge for experimentation keep pushing out of Norway to conquer the rest of the jazz world. The Helge Lien Trio, who have already won a large circle of fans in Scandinavia and Japan with their five albums and inspiring live concerts, are especially significant. They maintain the balance between jazz traditions and the avant-gardist art of improvisation like hardly any other classic piano trio, par excellence.
Helge Lien, who besides his own trio project performs with other Norwegian acts like Silje Nergaard, has developed his very own unmistakable style of trio playing with band colleagues Frode Berg (bass) and Knut Aalefjaer (drums & percussion). With instinctive sureness, the musicians develop a chamber music jazz that stands out through its harmonically complex tone colors. Building on Bill Evans’ lyrical power and the exhilaratingly melancholic playing of Esbjorn Svensson, Lien, in constant dialogue with Berg & Aalefjaer, creates distinct moods on Hello Trollmoods that he presents with ease.
Comprising brilliant originals, piano solos and trio playing by pianist Helge Lien, bass player Frode Berg and drummer Knut Aalefjaer, Hello Troll is maybe the best piano trio album to ever come from Norway. Alright, comparisons like that are a bit dodgy, especially considering the extremely high quality of piano trios spawned by this country’s flourishing jazz milieu, past and present. But when it comes to establishing a common musical expression where piano virtuosity and master musicianship join together in compositions, each one better than the last, and where the different moods are created and expressed so intensely yet calmly, no album comes close to Hello Troll. Dagbladet