Espen Berg, Water Fabric, Odin ***1/2

Ridiculously prolific Norwegian pianist and composer Espen Berg has already made his mark this year with a series of intense solo piano recordings. But the chamber music of Water Fabric is even more distinctive with its genre exploding character …

Published: 25 Nov 2023. Updated: 3 months.

Ridiculously prolific Norwegian pianist and composer Espen Berg has already made his mark this year with a series of intense solo piano recordings. But the chamber music of Water Fabric is even more distinctive with its genre exploding character and voracious appetite for mixing and matching genre whether firmly rooted in jazz or voyaging far beyond. A sextet album with a strong rhythmical character to its lead lines from trumpeter Hayden Powell on 'Circumzenithal' for instance that provide lots of character and is at its strongest in terms of jazz flavour on 'Triple Point Suite'. Drummer Per Oddvar Johansen, (no stranger to fans of that other fine Norwegian pianist Helge Lien) violinist Harpreet Bansal, violist Ellie Mäkelä and cellist Joakim Munkner complete the line-up and the writing for strings is neatly interwoven into the more expansive passages, lilting so engagingly especially on 'Triple Point Suite' where folk influences also find plenty of space to freely roam.

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Ari Hoenig, Tom Ollendorff, Conor Chaplin, Enchanted, Fresh Sound New Talent ***1/2

Hearing Tom Ollendorff and Conor Chaplin together both on Ollendorff's own excellent album Open House and live at a concert in Sligo proved a similar experience to listening to Enchanted - Ollendorff's own tune 'Hollywood' is even all present and …

Published: 24 Nov 2023. Updated: 3 months.

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Hearing Tom Ollendorff and Conor Chaplin together both on Ollendorff's own excellent album Open House and live at a concert in Sligo proved a similar experience to listening to Enchanted - Ollendorff's own tune 'Hollywood' is even all present and correct here. US drummer Ari Hoenig keeps things pared back and contributes some of his own writing along with a blend of standards - his style recalls Northern Irish drummer David Lyttle's a bit. Perhaps this elegant studio album recorded in Wales last year could do with a few more fireworks but nevertheless there is some immaculate soloing from Ollendorff and a swinging momentum thanks to Chaplin and Hoenig that always engages. Hat tip once again to Fresh Sound New Talent for yet another release that captures a glimpse in Ollendorff and Chaplin (the latter especially wonderful on 'The Painter') of some of the finest new generation players to emerge on the UK scene as well as continuing their longstanding championing of Hoenig.