Adam Baldych & Helge Lien Trio – Brothers (2017)

Adam Baldych & Helge Lien Trio - Brothers (2017)
Artist: Adam Baldych & Helge Lien Trio
Album: Brothers
Genre: Modern Jazz
Origin: Poland, Norway
Released: 2017
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps


Thirty one year old Polish jazz violinist Adam Baldych is a multi award winning musician who has gained high critical acclaim throughout Europe. His technique is said to be far in advance of any jazz violinist alive today. This claim is easily justified from the content of the album, which in itself almost re-defines the role of this instrument in contemporary improvised music. Over the past few years he has worked alongside many top artists including Nils Langdren, Lars Danielsson, Iro Rantala and Billy Cobham. However for this venture he has chosen his current working trio for the eight original compositions which are placed alongside his version of a twentieth century classic and appearance on the title track from guest saxophonist Tore Brunborg. Pianist Helge Lien, a player who is capable of both sheer power and restrained melancholy has twenty albums to his name including nine as leader and commands as high a level of following in Japan as he does throughout Europe. The all Norwegian trio is made up of versatile bassist Frode Berg who is also a commanding figure within the Rock scene, as well as holding down a bass chair in The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, alongside one of the most in demand drummers on the scene, Per Oddavier Johansen.

This is an album with the central theme and purpose to reflect the world today as the composer see’s it. Often when a musician openly states that his recording is a strongly personal one, the listener has some difficulty buying in to the concept. With “Brothers” this is not a problem due not only to the quality of the playing but also to the very clear message the leader and composer is trying to convey. A good illustration of this can be found in a short statement within the sleeve notes which contains five of the titles within the album. (quote) We are “Brothers” as “One”. In a world full of fear and loneliness, like “Shadows”, we’ll sail together with “Love” and “Faith” We are Brothers.(unquote) Whatever the chosen tempo of a particular theme the violin playing here is both profound and very powerful, over a trio dominated by the excellent Helge Lien and echoing back to EST days. All the music as you would imagine is full of a restrained emotion and really does draw you in to the Adam Baldych view of the World. When the saxophonist from Trondheim Tore Brunborg joins the quartet for the title cut he successfully adds a further telling dimension and depth of feeling to proceedings. The Leonard Cohen anthem “Hallelujah” sits very well with the originals and is played with huge respect to the theme but in such a way that it seems almost as personal to the quartet as the other eight pieces which are all composed by the leader.

In summary this is a recording of immense depth and perceived meaning, but at the same time highly accessible to most ears.
Reviewed by Jim Burlong