The jazz trio format is tried and tested and has become one of the basic ensemble formats of modern jazz. Here is a trio that has its feet planted firmly within the tradition, but still offers something unique to the listener. The Espen Berg Trio made its mark with the group’s first album, “Mønster”, in 2015. The trio was referred to as “the biggest and most important musical discovery in the first half of 2016” by Jazz Japan, and they have toured extensively in Japan, where they have also signed a recording contract. Now the trio is back, with a striking and elegant new album that very possibly will be an even bigger breakthrough for the trio. This is a group that is positively overflowing with talent and musical enthusiasm.
Pianist and composer Espen Berg (b. 1983), from Hamar in central Norway, is currently living in Trondheim, where he earned a master’s degree in 2008 from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) renowned jazz programme. Since then he has been engaged as a professor at the university. He has toured worldwide with his trio Listen, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Marius Neset, as well as with his own projects. He has released two critically acclaimed solo piano albums, and in 2007 he was voted the best soloist at the Hoeilaart International Jazz Contest in Belgium. In 2016 he won one of Norway’s most important music awards, JazZtipendiatet, which resulted in the commissioned work “Maetrix”. This piece had its world premiere at the Molde Jazz Festival in 2017, played by the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Among the musicians Espen has worked with are Silje Nergaard, Anders Jormin, Per Jørgensen, Hildegunn Øiseth, Arve Henriksen and Mathias Eick. The music Berg composes demands a level of precision that could make a Swiss watch tremble in fear, but it seems simple and organically free-flowing when he and the trio are playing it.
Bassist Bárður Reinert Poulsen is originally from Tórshavn on the Faroe Islands. He moved to Trondheim, where he received a degree from the NTNU’s jazz programme in 2014. He is an extremely active musician, and plays with both jazz and pop projects – the Fjords, Wako, Fieldfare, Swenefon – in addition to being a member of the Faroese Symphony Orchestra. Drummer Simon Olderskog Albertsen is from Stjørdal, and like the other members of th trio, also has a background from the jazz programme at the NTNU. He plays in a number of jazz bands, but also works with folk and pop music, and as a theatre musician. He released the album “War Wounds” together with the English singer-songwriter Mark Gregory, and has appeared on records with Wako and Operasjon Hegge. “Bølge” was recorded at the legendary Rainbow Studio by engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug, and is available as a digital recording, on CD and as a stylish 2LP.
09 March Bergen Jazzforum (N) 15 March Mo i Rana (N) 16 March Mosjøen (N) 17 March Antikvariatet, Trondheim (N) 18 March Kampenjazz, Oslo (N) 21 March Tromsø Jazzklubb (N) 31 May ByJazz, Oslo (N) 09 June Athens Jazz Festival (GR) 10 June Preveza Jazz Festival (GR) 04 July Tallinn Jazz Club (EST) 05 July Tartu (EST) 06 July Juu Jääb Festival, Tallinn (EST)