Kjetil Mulelid Trio: What You Thought Was Home

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A while ago I suggested in JJ that this might well be a golden age for piano trio jazz in Scandinavia. Here is more evidence for a proposition founded initially on the quality of groups such as those of Helge Lien, Jan Lundgren, Iiro Rantala and Bobo Stenson. Born in the small village of Hurdal, Norway in 1991, Mulelid is a graduate of the jazz programme at Trondheim University of Science and Technology, where the teaching staff he met included pianists Erling Askdal, Vigleik Storaas and Espen Berg.

A sometime associate of Arve Henriksen, the technically accomplished and dynamically sensitive Mulelid has been making waves for some time now, both at home and in central Europe. This excellent release, as rhythmically engaging as it is lyrically compelling, features a suite-like sequence of finely crafted pieces from the pianist, complemented by bassist Hegge’s Bruremarsj. It is this trio’s second disc, following the well-received Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House ( also on runegrammofon) which came out in 2017.

If tracks like Folk Song, Waltz for Ima and When Winter Turns Into Spring can conjure fond memories of Keith Jarrett’s variously charged flights all those years ago in the Belonging quartet, there can be no doubting Mulelid’s burgeoning originality of conception. This is particularly the case with regard to matters of rhythmically sprung dynamics and a freshly projected, crystalline intensity of spaciously rendered melodic expression.

Mulelid exhibits here both the loveliest of touches and an adroit sense of when to mix and modulate chordal weight and linear grace. And Hegge and Winther are no less impressive. Their dynamic range and ability to listen hard conjoin with Mulelid’s essentially poetic approach to conjure 37 or so minutes of some of the most captivating music I’ve heard in quite some while. 

Discography
What You Thought Was Home; Folk Song; Bruremarsj (Wedding March); Tales; Far Away; A Cautionary Tale Against A Repetitive Life; Waltz For Ima; When Winter Turns Into Spring; Homecoming (37.08)
Mulelid (p); Bjørn Marius Hegge (b); Andreas Skår Winther (d). Halden, 15 & 16 November 2018.
rune grammofon RCD2208