When I started this post, I was suprised to notice that I hadn’t written a single post on this trio yet. I kind of assumed I had. But my search function told me otherwise.
Martin Tingvall’s Hamburg, Germany-based piano trio is a pretty international affair. Tingvall himself is Swedish, his Bass player Omar Rodriguez Calvo is Cuban, only the drummer is German.
They have a pretty strong following in Germany, but start to get better known beyond the borders.
Let me open a parenthesis here: I’m still surprised that Jazz is a very regional affair. You’d think that in the days of the internet any artist can be heard and known everywhere. And especially in a niche area like Jazz people wouldn’t really care where an artist comes from. But then again, quite often I see artists available due to some weird label rights in Europe, but not in the US, or vice versa.
Probably it boils down to the fact that album sales really don’t matter that much any more these days, and concerts are the main way a Jazz artists gets to their audience these days. And concerts quite often remain a very local affair. Great artists like Triosence for example rarely venture out of their native Germany. Parenthesis closed.
Tingvalls albums in the past have been very consistent, weird-sounding (to non Swedish ears) Scandinavian names like Vägen, Vattensaga, or Norr, and also have followed a certain style.
Tingvall Trio: Cirklar (Skip Records 2017)
The latest album keeps this consistency. A weird name (that the booklet doesn´t bother explaining), and a very Tingvall-like Scandinavian-inspired jazz.
If you´ve followed my blog for a bit you know which kind of style I like in piano trio. Basically either the Oscar-Peterson swinging and grooving style, or the more melodic approach.
Tingvall clearly is the latter. They do groove up to a point in the faster tracks, but the real beauty is revealed in the slow tracks, that evolve into always interesting melodic and harmonic developments.
Track 4, Black Molnen is a perfect example of this, the type of ballad I just love.
Some may ask: but where is the Jazz in that? And I agree, this music is probably borderline in that respect. But to me, the melodic and harmonic beauty is just what I’m looking for.
As mentioned above, faster tracks on this album don´t always work for me. Track 5, Skansk Blues, is too much of a regular blues to be attractive. Blues obviously live from simplicity, but here the recipe just gets a bit too repetitive.
The title track, another ballad, then again gives me exactly what I want from Tingvall. If you like this track, buy the album.
That’s not to say that I only like the slow tracks on this album. Tidlös for example is a very groove uptempo track that has just the right amount of creativity. And Bumerang (See clip above) is quite well done, too.
Finally, Elis Visar really gives you the feeling of an open Nordic landscape.
Overall, really worth checking out.
My rating: 4 stars
You can find it here (Qobuz) and here (Prostudiomasters)