Thomas Torstrup, Martin Högberg, Jon Pål Indeberg: Patos

Norwegian organ, guitar and saxophone church session is at times contemplative and spiritual but at others subtly propulsive


There have been some memorable sessions of jazz recorded in a church or similar consecrated space. Think of the organ improvisations of Keith Jarrett’s Hymns, Spheres created in 1976 at Germany’s Ottobeuren Abbey; the Aftenland duets of Jan Garbarek (ts, ss, wf) and church organist Kjell Johnsen which were cut three years after in Stockholm’s Engelbrektskyrkan, or the various albums recorded subsequently by the Officium project of Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble.

Recorded in Sakshaug Kirke, Trøndelag, this striking session from Norwegians Tostrup, Högberg and Inderberg is a distinctive addition to all such previous endeavours. Tostrup and Högberg have played together for many years: in 2010 they formed a duo with the express intent of exploring the combination of church organ and what one could call “singing” (post-Rypdal) electric guitar. In 2017 they released their first album on Øra Fonagram, after inviting leading saxophonist Inderberg to participate. The success of Selbu Sessions led them to the variegated, openly cast yet poetically integrated music which is Patos.

The music is really refreshing. The interplay and exchange of matters of call and response, of (especially) melodic exposition and extension, in tandem with an astutely pitched diversity of tonal colour, rhythmic accent and dynamic verve: all makes for consistently stimulating art. And such lucid interplay as the trio achieves complements perfectly a shared ability to shrug off any confining notion of genre.

Always uncrowded, the music flows as from one generative well, offering what one might characterise as an organic melding of “unanchored” aspects of jazz and classical music, folk and rock. The result is sometimes contemplative and spiritual in ethos (epitomised by Etterdønning) but can also have a good deal of subtly propulsive and at times playful rhythm to it (sample Way Out, Noe I Vente and Frem Og Att). The resonant whole engenders a sense of well-being as heartening as one might wish.

Patos; Way Out; Noe I Vente; Catchy Framework; Skyggedans; Hva Nå?; Frem Og Att; Preludium I C; Fri Flyt; Etterdøning (42.06)
Torstrup (pipe org); Högberg (elg); Inderberg (ss). Sakshaug Kirke, Trøndelag, December 2020.
Øra Fonagram OF187