Kasper Staub Trio: / (2012)
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The unique title of this debut from the young Danish trio headed by pianist Kasper Staub, /, is explained as the sign that stands for the doubts the trio had to shake off and the choices it took in order to create its music. Staub, bassist Jens Mikkel and drummer Anders Vestergaard have collectively accumulated experiences in modern jazz, contemporary music, post-rock and singer-songwriter projects in Denmark and Sweden.
The album, a limited-edition vinyl, features the trio performing 15 short and highly melodic vignettes, all characterized with a strict and refined rubato style, and a calm, simple musical language. The trio's range embraces references from classical impressionists like Erik Satie and Claude Debussy, to the sophistication of modern piano-led outfits by Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, and Norway's Eple Trio...even the pop songs of Radiohead.
The short pieces moves between the varied inspirations. On a few of these concise-themed pieces"True Romance," "Wuppertal," "Travel" and "Hokusai"Staub sounds closer in spirit to the re-imagining of simple, folk melodies by Swedish pianist Jan Johansson or the shiny melodies of Jarrett's Scandinavian quartet. Mikkel's confident playing on these pieces references the melodic drive of great Scandinavian bassists as Palle Danielsson and Arild Andersen. "Takt & Tone" and "Regnbuen" are well-crafted contemporary pieces, spiced with a light touch of improvised interplay. "It's Not Me" and "Girls with Radical Haircuts," on the other hand, are structured as pop songs, with repetitive, cyclical motives that build their tension, and some remarkable interplay between Staub and Mikkel. The entire set list is sequenced as a coherent, organic, continuous series of melodies.
Beautiful, provocative music.
Track Listing: True Romance; People Who Love Each Other; Takt & Tone; Wuppertal; Når Andre Råber; Holbergsgade 34; It's Not Me; Regnbuen; Godmorgen; Travel; Hokusai; Partita; /; Girls with Radical Haircuts; Her Maatte Jeg Holde An.
Personnel: Kasper Staub: piano; Jens Mikkel: bass; Anders Vestergaard: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced