Tingvall trio, Birds, Skip Records ***1/2

Thinking back to 2012 when I first heard the Tingvall Trio live and interviewed the band down in the shiny lobby of their hotel gaff lodgings for the night over in Bloomsbury I get pangs. Remaining a just about still hinged - huns going all ''un'' …

Published: 25 Jul 2023. Updated: 9 months.

Thinking back to 2012 when I first heard the Tingvall Trio live and interviewed the band down in the shiny lobby of their hotel gaff lodgings for the night over in Bloomsbury I get pangs. Remaining a just about still hinged - huns going all ''un'' ain't a good idea - follower of their work, the vogue of the piano trio ain't as centrestage as it was back then. That said Life & Fire another fine release emanating from the protean German jazz scene the work of the Omer Klein trio this year is another gem. Rule out the power of a top piano trio at your peril whether in fashion or not. And yet waves of AfroFuturism, jazztronica, spiritual jazz revivals, nu jazz and more are tides that have rowed in and out leaving the piano trio becalmed at times since the wonder years of e. s. t. in their pomp particularly circa their classic Strange Place For Snow, the Bandwagon and art of the trio era Brad Mehldau. And yet the piano trio like hard bop ain't going anywhere.

While the Tingvall Trio are very accessible and almost always hugely melodic, Martin Tingvall's love of a rampant tremolo, baroque hymnal flourishes and his vaulting the octaves prolifically may seem a little too exuberant for some. And yet the skill of the trio is the way Omar Rodriguez Calvo injects a completely different throbbing feel to tone the humidity down when he solos and feeds in organically. And the sheer athleticism of Jürgen Spiegel is easily a match for some of Tingvall's sprint finishes and more energy laden forays.

With e. s. t and the Neil Cowley Trio gone in the air I look still to Tingvall and also to the fine Daniel Karlsson trio for enduring inspirations drawing on the rich Swedish Jan Johansson-ian piano player vein and adding more ideas from a range of inspirations. Birds from the Hamburg based Swedish/Cuban/German band by now something of a venerable institution does not disappoint.

The drama of the more serious pieces come over best, perhaps linger less long on some of the more toothsome passages certainly if you want to bathe more mindfully in the spa of the more emotional reaches of the sound found in what's on offer here. And I'd suggest dear reader that you head to 'SOS' and 'The Day After' plus the awesome pedal note packing 'Woodpecker' first. Martin Tingvall proves once again how much of a poet of a piano he is and how cannily he incorporates folk motifs from home into his capacious lines that meet jazz head on and get kidnapped by the great traditions of piano jazz down at the crossroads where all the interesting collaborative hybrid sounds live. When you get that deep strain of melancholia the yin to the yang of the sweet exuberance elsewhere it switches on an electric light. Calvo's veritably elastic riff at the beginning of 'Air Guitar' is a peach of an intro. A class act then they remain. Reason to be cheerful part one is listening to this their latest… and reason to be cheerful part 2 - erm, två, ta-da - the Tingvalls are back in London next month with a date at Ronnie Scott's on 16 August. Part 3 is clearly to tunnel back into their back catalogue beginning with the mighty Vägen. SG

Tingvall trio l-r: Omar Rodriguez Calvo, Martin Tingvall, Jürgen Spiegel, photo: via Skip

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Sam Eastmond, John Zorn: The Bagatelles Vol. 16, Tzadik ****

A formidable coming together led by the UK's foremost exponent of the remarkable world of John Zorn something of a label regular on Tzadik London arranger and composer Sam Eastmond. Commissioned by Zorn, who turns 70 in September, to select and …

Published: 25 Jul 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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A formidable coming together led by the UK's foremost exponent of the remarkable world of John Zorn something of a label regular on Tzadik London arranger and composer Sam Eastmond. Commissioned by Zorn, who turns 70 in September, to select and arrange from his massive 2015 composed work The Bagatelles, Eastmond conducts an adventurous 12-piece who inject a Mingus like fervour to the sound - the front line saxists including Chris Williams and Emma Rawicz & trumpeters Noel Langley and Charlotte Keefe. The fiery rhythm section also brandishes Let Spin's Moss Freed on guitar particularly significant on '74' while fine newcomer bassist Fergus Quill often proves pivotal as the ensemble gain traction. You derive almost an antique sense of jungle period Duke Ellington in the trumpet foray on '78' but just as often the ensemble rip into a post modernistic routine ('63') in a feast of styles that prove a rollercoaster of a ride and an exultant way to mark Zorn's 70th.

Out on 8 September

The Eastmond ensemble plays Cafe Oto in London on 19 September. The release is part of a 4 CD box set also featuring work by Peter Evans, Ben Goldberg and the Chris Speed-Jon Irabagon Quartet with John Zorn.

Tour de force from Sam Eastmond, above. Photo: press