‘Common Spaces’ – New Simplicity Trio

new simplicity trio_common spaces album AW

IT’S ALL IN THE NAME – but simplicity in terms of melodic and harmonic articulation (rather than any artistic paucity) is what drummer Antonio Fusco, pianist Bruno Heinen and double bassist Henrik Jensen share in Common Spaces, their new recording of mostly original trio compositions. 

Read the full review at LondonJazz News…

Available as CD or digital download from Babel Label at Bandcamp.

 

Antonio Fusco drums
Bruno Heinen piano
Henrik Jensen double bass

newsimplicitytrio.com

Babel Label – BBDV16147 (2017)

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‘Blackwater’ – Henrik Jensen’s Followed by Thirteen

Blackwater

DANISH-BORN, London-resident double bassist Henrik Jensen’s second release with his Followed By Thirteen ensemble – Blackwater (named after the river by which he proposed to his wife-to-be) – follows up 2013’s debut, Qualia.

Read the full review at LondonJazz News…

Released on 2 September 2016, Blackwater is available from Jellymould Jazz.

 

Andre Canniere trumpet, flugelhorn
Esben Tjalve piano
Henrik Jensen bass
Antonio Fusco drums

henrik-jensen.com

Jellymould Jazz – JM-JJ023 (2016)

‘Live’ – Will Butterworth Trio

willbutterworth

PERHAPS it’s due to the powerful, enigmatic mystery of music that it sometimes only unlocks its bejewelled treasures to listeners when they’re good and ready.

Pianist Will Butterworth’s live trio album, recorded at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club, has been drifting in and out of my consciousness for some time now – but only recently has it flowered into the lively/balmy wonder that it undoubtedly is. Butterworth is joined by the familiar names of bassist Henrik Jensen and drummer Pete Ibbetson in five expansive numbers which clearly require the space and focus to fully appreciate their various perambulations and nuances.

Hailing from Edinburgh – born into a classical music environment – and resident in London for the past decade, Will Butterworth is known for his work with drummer Dylan Howe in reinterpreting Stravinsky, as well as his sideman role on the British jazz scene. He reflects on the interesting way in which this particular gig unfolded as, in the true spirit of improvisation, most of the trio’s playing was totally unlike their rehearsal: “When we finished… we had no idea what had happened… it was so different to our expectations. We try to get away from the individual solo with a backing track. So I guess… unexpected stuff will happen.” Certainly the resulting live capture (with the occasional clinking wine glass) reveals a fertile air of malleability and equality, rather than a bland, pre-meditated piano showcase with rhythmic accompaniment.

Butterworth’s own The One opens the set in restless, almost Bachian tones, as the pianist pushes spry singular lines and bold chordal colour – and, as it builds, already the combined strength of all three musicians is evident, with Ibbetson’s drums and percussion satisfyingly prominent in the mix and Jensen’s resonant, fluid bass in meaningful dialogue with the piano. Will’s style is difficult to pin down, somewhere between Bill Evans and John Law, and his own brightly-swinging Blues (at ten minutes’ duration) also evokes the spirit of Ellington, Monk and Tyner – his varietal cadences ripple with that kind of bravura and invention, happily matched by bass and drums. In this trio’s hands, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne standard I Fall In Love Too Easily finds that beauteous sweet spot of elegance balanced with unexpected, subtly-jarring pianistic intervals and clusters; it’s as if the “no idea what happened” that Butterworth referred to is at work in this triangle, providing an edge which takes it far from any sense of the soporific (and his solo coda briefly reveals Rachmaninov-like romanticism).

The Syndicate (another Butterworth original) becomes a jaunty conversation between the three instrumentalists, the space left between just as important as the elaborate, teasing extemporisations. Here, Jensen and Ibbetson instigate the anarchic momentum, and Butterworth relishes the opportunity to dart in and out as the breathless, pacey intensity becomes extraordinarily compelling (maybe all cutlery activity was involuntarily suspended at this point!). Finally, an interpretation of Willard Robison’s ballad Old Folks, its initial tenderness eventually breaking into brisk walking pace, with Butterworth’s luminescent soloing sounding Brubeckian at times – and Jensen and Ibbetson crackle in a momentary duet. At almost fifteen minutes in length, it feels like time suspended.

This is a piano trio album which is totally accessible, yet continually and politely fizzes with interest. The recorded sound is close and direct, yet benefits from ‘at the gig’ reality, engendering that exciting sense of jazz ‘in the moment’.

Released on 16 March 2015, the album is available from Music Chamber Records (take a listen to the audio samples there), iTunes and Amazon.

 

Will Butterworth piano
Henrik Jensen bass
Pete Ibbetson drums

Sleeve illustration by Chloe Vallance

willbutterworth.com

Music Chamber Records – MC0014 (2015)

‘Qualia’ – Henrik Jensen’s Followed by Thirteen

Qualia

IT’S A PLEASURE to hear a new quartet release that’s bristling with such obvious vitality and ebullience! Danish bassist and composer Henrik Jensen presents a debut album of ten jazz originals, with compatriot Esben Tjalve at the piano, American trumpeter Andre Canniere and popular British drummer Peter Ibbetson.

Jensen has spent the last few years playing for a variety of artists, but now focuses his creativity on leading and writing for this four-piece which he calls Followed by Thirteen. The album’s title, Qualia, is defined as “an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us; the way things seem to us.”

Andre Canniere is already known to audiences for his own driving jazz/rock fusion group, but here we discover his more acoustic persona with a technique which is clean and fluent, either at full throttle or when more reflective. At times, his pairing with Jensen is reminiscent of American bassist/composer Ben Allison and trumpeter Ron Horton, though clearly both here express their own individual and appealing characteristics.

Esben Tjalve has a beguiling pianistic style, the opening The Post Office inviting and delivering more than a hint of Thelonious Monk (perhaps even Ellington), courtesy of his fun, even brazen, melodic and improvisatory lead – a great, smile-raising lightness of touch. Pete Ibbetson displays a reliable sense of momentum here, similarly keeping things breezy with brushes and cymbals. The slower-paced The Milden Hall Museum (one of a number of tracks with intriguing, Google-prompting titles!) sees Tjalve and Jensen soloing skilfully around a memorable trumpet hook from Canniere. Dog of the Day returns the band to swing mode, all personnel evidently and brightly demonstrating their affinity with each other (as does Hep Hep, later on in the programme).

And so the album continues, with delight after delight being conjured. A Wave Goodbye sets up an entrancing, slightly disquieting Avishai-like bass and drum groove – a great vehicle for Canniere and Tjalve to roam free, whilst also playing off each other very effectively. City Fox‘s lively pace is addictive (and over all too quickly!), but then gives way to the quirky, twisting bassline of Landmarks where Tjalve and Canniere need no encouragement to follow suit with the freedom to explore, Ibbetson arrestingly and shimmeringly entertaining! Beautifully lyrical, Schmetteling reveals the quartet’s mastery of space, with Jensen soloing so eloquently; and finally, the moving, piano-led Mum Melody honours the album’s dedicatee, Henrik’s mother, and provides another opportunity for his bass to sing.

The recording is favourably direct, with an almost ‘captured live’ feel, helping to make the connection between band and listener. Jellymould Jazz are building their relatively new catalogue with some fine albums, and it’s certainly worth bookmarking their website to keep an eye on their output with releases of this high calibre.

Qualia – certainly distinctive in quality – is on general release from 29 July 2013, following a press launch of 18 July.

 

Andre Canniere trumpet
Henrik Jensen double bass
Esben Tjalve piano
Pete Ibbetson drums

henrik-jensen.com

Jellymould Jazz – JM-JJ013 (2013)