Frederik Villmow Trio: Motion

Drummer Villmow convenes a session in classic piano trio format featuring the well-travelled Norwegian pianist Vigleik Storaas


Born in 1993 in Cologne and currently domiciled in Norway, drummer, composer and bandleader Villmow holds a masters degree in jazz from Trondheim University. This is his second album, following the much-praised 2019 quartet release Live In Copenhagen with Swedish saxophonist Tomas Franck.

Motion essays the classic piano trio format, featuring the widely experienced (if not veteran) Norwegian pianist Vigleik Storaas. Born in 1963 – and also a Trondheim graduate – Storaas has long been a notable bandleader in his own right in trio, quartet and septet settings, as well as with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. His CV includes work and recordings with many of the major names of Norwegian jazz, including Karin Krog, Terje Rypdal, Jon Christensen, Tore Brunborg, Jacob Young and Tor Yttredal. A few years ago I reviewed the excellent Chamber session on Inner Ear by Storaaas and Yttredal.

Storaas came to special international attention through his participation in the 1994 Nordic Quartet on ECM, with John Surman, Krog and Rypdal: I enjoyed his dynamically alert work a couple or so years ago in Brighton, in the excellent duo concert he had there with Surman. His compatriot, bassist Bjørn Marius Hegge, is a player of congruent dynamic awareness and impressed me recently on pianist Kjetil Mulelid’s What You Thought Was Home (see my post of 19/11/19).

Villmow’s sleeve-note reveals that this session was one of the few occasions during the Covid-19 pandemic that he was able to play with other musicians. But there’s no trace of any rust here: far from it. A well-balanced and beautifully rendered programme mixes freshly compelling takes on three classic standards – Blame It On My Youth, Like Someone In Love and A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening – with distinctive Willmow originals.

The pensive Slow Motion is a ballad feature for Hegge’s patient pizzicato reflections, while December Waltz is an elegantly sprung piece in archetypal head-solos-head form. Best of all is the two-part and aptly titled Open Landscape. Here a spacious, musing eight-bar melody sets up the session’s most adventurous, ever-building-and-shifting interplay between the musicians. Willmow’s capacity for dynamic diversity and cross-rhythmic energy comes to full fruition and Storaas and Hegge dig deep and fly high, while also sustaining the implicit lyrical arch of the music. A fine session.

Open Landscape Two; December Waltz; Slow Motion; Blame It On My Youth; Like Someone In Love; A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening; Open Landscape One (45.44)
Villmow (d); Vigleik Storaas (p); Bjørn Marius Hegge (b). Trondheim, 19 December 2020.
Losen Records LOS 261-2