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Oddgeir Berg – Keys
Karl-Joakim Wisløff – Doublebass
Klaus Robert Blomvik – Drums
środa, 31 stycznia 2018 – 21:00
czwartek, 1 lutego 2018 – 21:00
It is almost, as if these musicians don’t want to be seen. At least in the past, the members of the Oddgeir Berg Trio have remained in the background, acting as instrumentalists for renowned Scandinavian colleagues such as Dylan Mondegreen or Kenneth Ishak. Until recently, they didn’t even have personal websites. With the release of Before Dawn, however, things are about to change. For the first time, the Oddgeir Berg trio have realised their own vision for 100% and their album instantly ranks as an excitingly different entry into the long list of piano trios. And despite their decades of combined experience, it sounds every bit as fresh and hungry as you’d expect from a debut.
The sound of Before Dawn was sculpted at a very special place, the Bonker Studio in Oslo. Run by two of the trio’s members, Oddgeir Berg (piano) and Karl-Joakim Wisløff (bass), Bonker is much more than just an excellent recording venue. Berg has referred to it as his ‚playground’, although a different comparison might seem more apt: Sporting just 30 square meters and no windows and secured by a heavy metal door, entering into the tiny main room feels like boarding a submarine. It has given the studio a reputation as one of the most unique recording venues, a sanctuary far away from the worries of everday life and the pressure of expectations. All that counts here is the music.
Thanks to this otherworldly, yet focused ambiance, Before Dawn doesn’t so much feel timeless as ‚outside of time’. So it makes perfect sense for Berg to regard legends such as Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and EST as influences and inspirations. After all, it is precisely the link between the past and the present, the tension between tradition and progression, which turn the album into such an exciting proposition, Mesmerising fusion elements are broken up by classic improvisation sections and propelled forward by Klaus Robert Blomvik’s (drums) simmering breakbeats and pulsating walking bass patterns. Although a touch of the ‚Nordic Jazz Sound’ can undeniably be felt, there is a lot more hiding underneath these dreamy arrangements than just sentimental ballads.
It is a sound that Oddgeir Berg has been carrying around with him as part of a passion for jazz, which he’s had to live in private for far too long. Although he still highly rates his successful work in folk rock, Before Dawn definitely feels like a cry for freedom and you can hear the pent up energy everywhere. Berg, Wisløff and Blomvik may not enjoy standing in the limelight. With material like this, though, they may soon have to get used to it.