Dag Arnesen Trio – Pentagon Tapes (2017)

Dag Arnesen Trio - Pentagon Tapes (2017)
Artist: Dag Arnesen Trio
Album: Pentagon Tapes
Genre: Contemporary Jazz, Post-Bop
Origin: Norway
Released: 2017
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
Morris (00:03:39)
Grynte (00:04:58)
Bonden I Bryllupsgarden (00:06:57)
Summer Morning Mist (00:06:58)
Yellow Feather (00:06:07)
What Is This Thing Called Love (00:04:40)
In Your Own Sweet Way (00:05:26)
Svendsen Ordner Alt (00:05:37)
Love Me Tender (00:06:16)
I Remember This (00:04:15)
Lille Maltrost (00:04:23)

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To Norwegian jazz fans, Dag Arnesen needs no introduction. He’s been a major player on the scene since the 1970s – both with his onw groups and with the various international stars visiting his country. He is also, at present, co-leader of the Bergen Big Band. What he is, perhaps, best known for (in recent years) has been the interpretation of Norwegian folks songs and the compositions of Grieg, rather than straight-ahead jazz. This folk heritage can be found on this set. This is partly in the inclusion of folk songs (‘Bonden I bryllupsgarden’) and his own gently folky compositions (‘Sunday morning mist’, ‘Yellow earth’). It is also partly the delicate touch with which he plays, keeping to the right-hand of the keyboard and playing with a light, bright, high tone, and partly his intuitive response to the melodic line. So, he brings out some gentle nuances in cover versions of Elvis’ ‘Love me tender’, Cole Porter’s ‘What is this thing called love’ and Dave Brubeck’s ‘In your own sweet way’.

Throughout the recording, the rhythm section provides a warm counterpoint to Arenesen’s playing. I particular like the way that Sandberg’s richly deep bass is so well separated from the piano notes, to give a lovely broad sound to the playing. Thormosdaeter’s drumming is relaxed and on point without any unnecessary fuss or embellishment. All in all, a fine example of a piano trio playing relaxed music.

It is probably also worth pointing out that the recording was named at the Watergate scandal (despite the timely resonances to current politics) but rather, after the room in which the sessions were recorded. The Steinway grand piano and the rooms rich acoustics provide the ideal space for this trio to record.
Reviewed by Chris Baber