Tune in to Lana Trio for a taste of hot and lively free jazz played in the Norwegian style by said trio on their self-titled album (VA FONGOOL VAFCD008). You recall of course that trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø was mentioned on the duty roster just recently as one third of As Deafness Increases, whose album was by coincidence released on same label – he’s playing a far less abstract mode of brassy mublement on this outing and where possible giving human / animal voice to that ungainly lump of metal with its obscene sliding component, thus joining the ranks of thousands of jazz players who transform trumpet, trombone or tuba into extension of their conversational language. Nørstebø’s parps and slobbers are pretty upfront on most cuts – so far, so engaging.
However secret weapon of this trio for me is Kjetil Jerve, the pianist, who’s clearly made such a close study of Cecil Taylor’s work that he practically breathes the DNA of that Afro-American titan through his own Nordic fingertips. You’d do the same if you took a copy of Indent between the sheets every night for your bedtime reading. Said Jerve is more knife than pianist; he weaves intricate and deft patterns in seemingly indefatigable style, his digital muscles never tiring for an instant, and while I’d be first in line at the record shop the day his solo piano album hits the racks, for time being I’ll make do with the second track here which showcases a complex thread of intelligent keyboard tickling that’s so intense that all Nørstebø can do is moan gently in appreciation. There’s also ingenious dynamics at play on track four ‘03.07’, where Jerve inserts short trills, runs and atonal fugues into a taut, wiry framework, with the skill of a vendetta-seeking Italian wielding his stiletto. I’m not enough of a musicologist to know, but I think Jerve is cunningly deconstructing chords according to his own rules, then drip-feeding the information back to us in reordered fragments.
Other standouts: track 5, ‘06:39’, which is more about atonal noise than free jazz and allows the players to get some serious improvised groaning out of their systems. Ditto Track 6, ‘04:16’, which strays into “prepared piano” territory by way of Keith Tippett’s experiments using jangly things inserted under the piano lid. Oh, and we mustn’t overlook the drummer Andreas Wildhagen, who is also well-schooled in the Andrew Cyrille / Sunny Murray mould with his free-ranging and agitated pulsations. Like their label-mates As Deafness Increases, Lana Trio have oodles of rapport and simpatico ESP as a group, enabling fruitful sessions. Extra bonus: note brevity of tracks which rein in excess of the type associated with BYG Actuel records, yet does not sacrifice on the high energy front. All round high scoring item. From September 2013.