Simon Toldam Trio: Omhu


This distinctive Danish trio of quality improvisers have been together for nigh on a decade and have garnered considerable critical praise ever since their debut release of 2012, Sunshine Sunshine Or Green As Grass.

Omhu (meaning, in good part, due care or concern for detail) is their fourth release. Recorded with exceptional clarity, it documents their striking capacity for three-way cross-rhythms and overall group empathy, their distilled yet open phrasing largely delivered in the slowest of tempi.

Leader Toldam has a lovely touch, crystal clear and with the subtlest feeling for overtones. A member of Dutch drumming legend Han Bennink’s trio, his wide-ranging background includes work with Eivind Aarset, Marc Ducret, Evan Parker, Nils Petter Molvaer and Marilyn Mazur. However, the freely woven, chamber-jazz like ethos or aesthetic pursued here strikes me as essaying (whether consciously so or not) fresh tracks in territory first explored by the early trios of Paul Bley and, in Scandinavia, the Norwegian Svein Finnerud. 

Davidson (a fine arco player) and Finsrud (excellent with brushes) are consistently up to the ad libitum mark, their grasp of dynamics founded on a sensitivity to space and a capacity for near-theatrical yet ultra-disciplined extremes of texture and accent.

All the compositions are by Toldam and there’s a welcome strain of lyrically focused quest throughout. Sample Så Godt Du Går for some of the more urgent and edgy passages here and Musik For Orgel for some of the deepest and darkest of the many slow-burn moments to be relished. And don’t be put off this compelling music by the ridiculous combination of charcoal blacks and greys on the album sleeve’s back cover, a combination which serves to render virtually unreadable the track information set out there. Omhu, did you say?

Ind I Tunnellen; 6000 År; Hurtig Indent, Langsom Udenpa; Illumination; Cirkel; Sol; Se, Der Kommer En Dag; Så Godt Du Går; Musik For Orgel (46.23)
Toldam (p); Nils Davidson (b); Knut Finsrud (d). Bremen, 2018.