Christian Reim Trio: Christian Reim Trio

New-millenium trio jazz from the pianist, a veteran of the 1960s Norwegian scene centred around Jan Garbarek


The pianist, organist and composer (and sometime vocalist) Reim has long deserved a bigger name outside his native Norway. Born in Porsgrunn in 1945, Reim is of the same generation as the so-called “ Big Four” of Norwegian jazz: Terje Rypdal and Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen. He joined Garbarek and other Norwegians on Rypdal’s Bleak House of 1968, playing organ and piano. His alert pianism helped make the three-part, at times free-fired Winter Serenade the standout track of the album.

In 1964 he was in Copenhagen, playing bass for Dexter Gordon and, so it is said, piano for Don Cherry. A year later he moved to Oslo, where he joined a quintet led by the distinguished post-bop trumpeter Ditlef Eckhoff. In the 1970s he made some excellent (recorded) appearances at the Molde Jazz Festival with a variety of top players. He became a familiar figure at Oslo’s experimental, genre-stretching-and-mixing Club 7 and in the early 1980s ran his own jazz club, Hot House. Later that decade Reim took charge of another club in Oslo, Jazz Alive.

I was eager to hear this music. Recorded at Reim’s home in Oslo, it features the pianist in two trios. One is with the much-missed bassist Harald Johnsen (1970 –2011) – who together with Jarle Vespestad (d) made key contributions to early ECM recordings by the Tord Gustavsen Trio. The second trio here features the widely recorded Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Håkon Mjåset Johansen: my post of 25/03/20 discusses their work with Magnus Broo (t) on the 2017 Rules.

Just short of 36 minutes, the music here invites – and repays – much repeated listening. Throughout, Reim is in fine fettle. Six distinctive Reim originals are rounded out by a fine, lightly swinging version of Ennio Morricone’s Once Upon A Time In America, a meditative rubato reading of the beautiful – and very moving – Swedish Christmas traditional O Jul Med Din Glede and the uptempo, delicious “walking” variations on a theme by Richard Nordraak (the 19th-century Norwegian composer of his country’s national anthem). A lovely and lasting release.

(1) Dina; Polonese; Variasjoner Over En Tema Av Nordraak; O Jul Med Din Glede; (5) Once Upon A Time in America; Nina; Et Steg Fram; Ta Toget (Til Valdres); The Little Girl From Guadeloupe (35.46)
Reim (p) with (1) Harald Johnsen (b); Jarle Vespestad (d). Oslo, autumn 2001. (2) Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b); Håkon Mjåset Johansen (d). Oslo, summer 2003.
Jazzaggression JACD 132