One of the happier developments of modern jazz is the trend of piano trios elevating the game by incorporating various electronics and effects into the mix. When done tastefully, it adds a layer of dramatic elegance to the traditional piano trio sound. On The Big Picture, Jacob Karlzon nails it.
The first track grabbed me immediately. All three instruments come out of the gate at a decent trot. Karlzon’s piano lines are cheerful at first blush, but reveal a sadness soon after. Even the optimism imparted by bassist Hans Andersson’s use of the higher registers is insufficient to cloak it, and drummer Jonas Holgersson puts his head down and keeps moving ahead as if just hoping it will pass on its own. But just when the depression seems to overtake the song, they come together as one, building intensity, notes bright and hopeful, and all that suggested sadness is left behind. I know that’s all a bit melodramatic, but piano trios have a tendency to bring that out in people. Piano, drums, bass… the apparent simplicity of that combination often belied by the emotional depth the music attains.
Here, have a listen to that first track here…
Your album personnel: Jacob Karlzon (piano), Hans Andersson (bass), and Jonas Holgersson (drums).
There is no let-down after that first exhilarating tune. The trio settles into a nice pace with some upbeat tunes before bringing it back down with some quiet introspection. The emotional ebb and flow is typical throughout the album, and the variation elicits a sense of cohesion. The building and receding tempos pull shamelessly on the heartstrings, and thank god for that, because it adds an essential dimension to the melody. Fans of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio and Brad Mehldau should find something to like here. The combination of virtuosity and experimentalism on The Big Picture are a potent combination, and also emblematic of both those names mentioned.
The Big Picture clocks in just under an hour of modern piano trio jazz, released on the Stunt label. The trio seems to be calling Scandinavia its home territory.
Here’s a link to Karlzon’s site, where there’s some music available to stream.
Download a free track from the album at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artist.
Here’s a link to the Stunt label site.