A String Trio Playing Jazz? Seriously?
Yes I know, this is a very unusual combination. You get Iiro Rantala from Finland, formerly with the Trio Töykeät, Adam Baldych on Violin, and Asja Valcic on Cello.
But don’t get scared, this is worth exploring!
Iro Rantala String Trio: Anyone With A Heart (ACT 2014)
Well, first of all, is this Jazz? Honestly, no idea. Rantala has studied not only Jazz, but also classical music, and is a proclaimed Bach fan. In any case, it is fascinating music, all composed by Rantala himself.
One of my favorite tracks is Freedom, inspired by Jonathan Franzen’s novel (which I never really liked by the way). Here he dampens the piano to get a very particular sound. The strings even have oriental elements in their playing. All this is driven by a constant groove, that pulls you in and lets you sit on the edge of your chair. Here’s a video of Rantala performing a solo version of Freedom in his own place, to give you an idea what to expect:
My other favorite is the ballad Alone, that prominently features the beautiful sound of Valcic’s cello.
Again, this track probably isn’t what you’d call typical Jazz. I couldn’t care less. This is music that escapes traditional categories and genres, but is beautifully played by musicians who are in it with all their heart.
This is worth exploring if you’re looking for something different.
My rating: 4 stars