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Mats Eilertsen Trio: Elegy

HUBROCD2504
Released: 20.09.2010

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Elegy emerged as the result of a fantastic first meeting of three musicians who share their love of playing music with no boundaries, but with enthusiasm, drive and a sense of humour.
Bass player, composer and bandleader Mats Eilertsen (b. 1975) is a busy man these days. He has toured extensively with the Tord Gustavsen Ensemble for the past year, played at festivals all over Norway with his own “Radio Yonder” (HUBROCD2501) quartet.

On “Elegy”, his fifth album in his own name, he presents a brand new piano trio. The exciting pianist Harmen Fraanje (b. 1976 in Roosendaal, the Netherlands) plays in several of the most popular Dutch jazz groups, and is beginning to make a solid name for himself internationally. The inventive drummer Thomas Strønen (b. 1972) has a long history together with Mats Eilertsen from groups such as the Maria Kannegaard Trio, FOOD, Parish and the Anders Aarum Trio, and their chemistry is evident.

It is difficult to spot the dividing line between composed material and free improvisation here, and the sparks really fly when the three musicians get going. Their scope is broad, ranging from lyrical passages to improvised sections, but a spirit of playfulness permeates the album.

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Reviews:

  1. “Mats Eilertsen fingert als Einstieg in seine CD ’Elegy’ solo über die Bass-Saiten. Da denkt man an etüdenhafte Kommentare, ehe seine beiden Mitstreiter, Harmen Fraanje (Piano) und Thomas Strønen (Schlagzeug) den Schleier eines beschwingten Lamento beiseite schieben und das Spiel Fahrt aufnimmt. Es sind Klangliebhaber, die ein Netzwerk aus improvisierten Storys und komponiertem Material ausbreiten, die sich überdies nach immer neuen Verbindungen auf die Suche machen. Da kann es schon mal vorkommen, dass ein ständig pochender Piano-Ton nervt. Gleichwohl ist er Mittel zum Zweck, denn die sich anschließende Auflösung ist ein Paradebeispiel für beste Interaktion. Man hört Teile und erfasst erst dann das Ganze. Der Bassist (Komponist und Bandleader) Mats Eilertsen, 35 Jahre alt, ist ein vielbeschäftigter Musiker. Er tourte intensiv mit dem Tord Gustavsen Ensemble, bereiste Festivals in Europa und Übersee mit Wolfert Brederode und Yuri Honig. Auf der neuen CD, seiner fünften unter eigenem Namen, präsentiert er ein brandneues Trio. ’Elegy’ kombiniert das Abstrakte und Melancholische, das Traditionelle und Melodische auf überzeugende Weise.”
    - Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (Germany)

  2. “It´s an impressive trio debut, Fraanje injecting an element of playful subversivensess that provides the inspirational spark that brings the very best out of the two top-notch Norwegian musicians. Whether it be the thoughtful title track or pieces such as “Flying” og “Tuven, Tuven”, this is a perfectly judged collaboration that would delight festival audiences across Europe.”
    - Jazzwise, Stuart Nicholson 3/4 (UK)

  3. Dutch pianist Fraanje is a real find. Blessed in equal measure with a fine touch and a wide-ranging dynamic sensitivity, he has both terrific technique and the intelligence to temper that technique, whenever necessary, in spacious service of the music as a whole. Norwegian drummer Strønen – a crisp master with fast-turned brushes, with whome Eilertsen appearad on the fine 2004 Parish session for ECM with Bobo Stenson and saxophonist Fredrik Ljungkvist – does more than his share to help Eilertsen and Fraanje deliver a really tasty session. Following the distilled ad lib magic of the opening, atmospheric Drumba and the spare arco-fed meditaion that is the title track, the music moves effortlessly from the lyrical to the freely informed, with Eilertsen´s lovely, poised yet flowing Sukha and the in-part torrential reading of Miles Davis´s Nardis forming the emotional and technical bookends of a richly conceived, yet, once again, limpid session. It has rapidly become one of my favourite releases of the year.”
    - Jazz Journal, Michael Tucker (UK)

  4. “Eilertsen’s material ranges from the tender, folkloric “Sukha” whose song-like lyricism, rests somewhere between the late Esbjörn Svensson’s pop-centricity and Gustaven’s mid-tempo minimalism, and “Kram,” which leans more towards the greater extroversion of “Nardis,” but with an underlying thematic emphasis. The trio’s free improvisations are equally impressive, from the brief, quarter-note piano chord-driven title track, a feature for Eilertsen’s arco, to the strummed bass figure of “Flying”—Fraanje’s ebbing-and-flowing waves evoking images of birds in flight—and the more jagged but equally cinematic “Falling.” Throughout, Eilertsen ensures complete democracy, distanced from a convention where piano is supported by a rhythm section of bass and drums. There’s no lack of support to be found on Elegy, but it’s a mutual thing—pulse as likely to come from Fraanje supporting Strønen’s open-minded excursion as it is the other way around. Eilertsen anchors the bottom when needed, but is, more often than not, a melodic foil in this equilaterally designed and, consequently, open-minded trio.”
    - Allaboutjazz.com, John Kelman (USA)

  5. “Der umtriebige, vielbeschäftigte Bassist, Komponist und Bandleader Mats Eilertsen, aus Norwegen stammend, stellt mit ‚Elegy‘ die fünfte CD unter eigenem Namen vor. Sonst verstärkt und grundiert er noch die Projekte von Tord Gustavsen, Wolf Brederode, Yuri Honing, Hakan Kornstad, Frode Barth. Der Holländer Harmen Fraanje entpuppt sich als aufregender Pianist, der mit seinem lyrischen Grundpotential, wie nebenbei, nordisch anmutende Bravourstücke abliefert. Thoma Stronen am Schlagzeug überzeugt als langjähriger musikalischer Weggefährte von Eilertsen. Dieses blinde Einvernehmen der beiden Rhythmiker beeindruckt. ‚Elegy‘ lebt von den kleinen (leisen) Verschiebungen innerhalb der Songstruktur, baut Spannung durch beharrliches Insistieren auf, arbeitet mit dem Element der Ruhe und schafft es dadurch, die Aufmerksamkeit und Konzentrationsfähigkeit des Hörers hoch zu halten. Eine neue überzeugende ‚Stimme‘ unter den Klaviertrios in Europa ist hier zu hören. ”
    - Freistil (Austria)

  6. “Mats Eilertsen har skrudd sammen en jazztrio som gir begrepet klagesanger nye dimensjoner. Det både trøster og bærer.”
    - Bjørn Olav Nordahl, Vårt Land (Norway)

  7. “Ei plate du ikke blir lei av å lytte til.”
    - Roald Helgheim, Dagsavisen (Norway)

  8. Elegy” forteller at (trioen) har både repertoir, individuelle/kollektive ferdigheter og ditto egenart til å bli et favorittband på klubbscenene både i og utenfor Norge.”
    - Dagbladet, Terje Mosnes (Norway)