Sep 11 2014
There are no songs here. Using the word ‘tunes’ is out of place. The Nature of Connections, the new release by trumpeter Arve Henriksen presents pieces that possess no semblance of form. This music is revealed as beauty in motion, providing an illusion of presence… a timelessness where each piece has no beginning, no end, just an existence in the present moment of a particular expression.
And it is absolutely gorgeous.
The core trio of trumpet, bass and drums is partnered with a string trio of violins, fiddles, and cello. There are no divisions of labor here. Strings occupy the same space as the trumpet trio, with no one instrument seated permanently at the head of the table. Henriksen may be the group leader, but his behavior on the bandstand indicates a view toward equality under the spotlight.
The influence most evident is of Nordic folk. Sharing territory with that of violinist Oskar Schonning’s excellent 2012 release The Violin, Henriksen infuses small doses of Norwegian jazz and chamber music into these pieces. This is peaceful music that doesn’t sit still and where serenity is not a permanent state of being, but always the final landing spot.
A few tracks challenge the notion of serenity. The urgency of strings provides “Hymn” a bit of propulsion. Bassist Mats Eilertsen takes a winding path through the string trio. The interplay between his bass chatter and the sudden surges of harmony from the string trio is a powerful device. Eventually Henriksen steps in on trumpet and lifts right up, with strings following soon after.
Drummer Audun Kleive spurs the string trio on and gets the pulse rate up a bit on “Keen.” Henriksen crafts a melodic thread with some defined features and rides it for the length of the piece. It’s the closest this album gets to structured expression, and its value as a tool of differentiation can be measured in the clarity it brings to the pieces with a vaguer shape and definition.
“Arco Akropolis” lays the drama on thick with a rise of intensity and tighter trajectories locked within a smaller roaming area. It, like “Keen” before it, provides something just a little bit different, and gives the prevailing serenity some texture and personality.
The album returns to form with the concluding song, “Salm.” Graceful, poignant, tranquil, and, like the rest of the album, it is absolutely gorgeous.
Your album personnel: Arve Henriksen (trumpet, piccolo trumpet, piano), Mats Eilertsen (double bass), Audun Kleive (drums), Nils Økland (violin, hardanger fiddle, viola d’amore), Svante Henryson (cello), and Gjermund Larsen (violin, hardanger fiddle).
Released on Rune Grammofon
And if you purchase directly from the label, they have a couple different types of vinyl options in addition to the CD.