Johan Lindvall Trio: This Is Not About You

Swedish pianist leads trio in set of minimalist originals projecting either nervous energy or melancholy reverie


I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt have occasion to say it again – the amount of excellent jazz, improv and experimental music coming out of Norway in recent years has been remarkable. I don’t doubt that that has been the case for a long time, but it is only relatively recently that its profile has been raised in other markets.

As it happens, Lindvall is Swedish but he is based in Oslo, this session was recorded there (except Break) and his two colleagues are Norwegian. Apart from Karen O’s Rapt all the compositions here are by Lindvall. Several of them achieve a paradoxical meld of sprightliness and melancholy, perhaps a bit like whistling in the dark.

Lindvall’s touch and voicings are as brisk and sparkling as a mountain stream, especially on the more nimble tracks that open the programme. Some of these are based on almost obsessively repeated rhythmic figures. The brief Listen introduces a degree of anxiety which is picked up on the longer and faster Last Time. Getting Out begins a transition, a softening in mood which is endorsed by the graceful and gentle Rapt. From then the atmosphere seems to be one of resignation and acceptance until the live final track returns to rhythmic patterns suggesting a new optimism.

If the allusions to sadness suggest this is a depressing experience, I should dispel that impression. The music is exquisite (not a term I’d often use with reference to jazz) and played with real feeling which imparts a sense of hope and resilience.

Imagine Something Different; Give Up; Listen; Last Time; Getting Out; Rapt; In Rain Or Spring; This Is Not About You; Not Now; Leave Me Alone; Break (32.47)
Lindvall (p); Adrian Myhr (b); Andreas Skar Winther (d). Oslo, 12 September 2019 except Break: Glenn Miller Café, Stockholm, 23 February 2020.
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