Human Being Human: Equals

Danish piano trio does the post-Evans thing: no knock-out improvisations or extravagant gestures but some electronic shading to remind of the date


Following April Records’ three fine releases by the Little North Trio, the latest all-Danish piano trio venture from the small Danish independent is largely an intimate and lyrical post-Evans affair. It profiles music by bassist Torben Bjørnskov as strong in singing melody as it is in exquisitely conjured atmosphere. A fine player in both pizzicato and arco mode, Bjørnskov is concerned here with neither knock-out improvisations nor extravagant gestures: far from it.

Gandhi and John Lennon were early influences on the young Bjørnskov and much of Equals comes across as a tempered search for a world of clarity and peace: sample the bright and energising yet beautifully balanced opener that is the now flowing, now musing Naked Trees.

If Gloom is as good an example as any of the assured measured weight of the leader’s intonation and pizzicato phasing, Equals exemplifies the subtle breadth of the trio interaction to be enjoyed, with Tjalve offering some discreet electronic touches and Bjørnskov essaying sustained arco colour.

Place Unfound and One Not Two feature further keyboard electronics from the London-based Tjalve: the former is an extensive rubato mood piece while the latter is the most upfront number here, driven by Bülow’s energising accents. You can enjoy more of the drummer’s crisp play with cross-accents and dynamics on the following Sun, while Karman Line takes us back to the flowing limpidity which characterises the major part of the music – albeit with some fleet pianism from Tjalve and briefly rising dynamics in the coda, courtesy of Bülow.

An album as elegant and graceful as it is melodically and rhythmically vibrant in its own distinctive way, Equals impresses more and more with each listen.

Naked Trees; Equals; Gloom; Lovolution; Place Unfound; One Not Two; Sun; Karman Line (43.55)
Esben Tjalve (p, kyb); Torben Bjørnskov (b, elec); Frederik Bülow (d). Finland Studios, Denmark. 12-13 March 2021.
April Records APRO99CD