Kosmos Trio: Brev Til En Ven

Although annotated by the chairman of Swinging Europe, these young Danes take the pensive conventions of Nordic piano trio as their lodestar


A useful sleeve-note from Niels Overgård, chairman of the board in The European Swing Network, supplies background information on the early days of trio members Frede Holger Thorsen (p), Harald Hagelskjaer (b) and Gustav Hagelskjaer (d) – including their initial interest in odd metres and musicians such as Tigran Hamasyan and Avishai Cohen.

This outstanding debut recording shows how far these young Danes have come in creating their own path in Nordic piano trio jazz. Brev Til En Ven (which translates as Letter To A Friend) is a release of original, leanly rendered yet highly atmospheric compositions, with pensive melancholy and vibrant affirmation held in stimulating balance throughout.

There is here both drama – sample the building solo drum figures of the title track or the ominous arco figures of Langfredag (Good Friday) – and pulsing ostinato energy: hear Blue Garden, Forén (Unite/For One) or the mesmeric rolling measures of the opening Mørkevandring (A Walk In The Dark).

The drama and the energy are throughout infused by the contributions from what one might call the key albeit invisible members of a trio that is, metaphorically speaking, a quintet: space and silence (sample the achingly beautiful Brev and Slow Motion).

The chaste modality of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 6 – for me, the great man’s surpassing achievement – is generally held to be one of the finest examples of the strength of will needed to cut things down to the bone, the better to approach the poetic heart of things. Aided by a recording quality of wondrous clarity, the finely chiselled lyricism and patient mastery of tempo in Brev Til En Ven are, in their own post-Evans, post-Motian register, marked by precisely such a quality.

Essential music from a label which continues to offer freshly conceived releases of inspiring and lasting quality.

Mørkevandring; Slow Motion; Brev Til En Ven; Blue Garden; Forén; En Anden Gang; Langfredag; Ved Kysten (37.38)
Frede Holger Thorsen (p); Harald Hagelskjaer (b); Gustav Hagelskjaer (d). Aarhus, 6-7 October 2021.
April Records APR 104CD