I ydre hjerte (The outside heart) – Søren Nørbo Trio
Review by: Jakob Bækgaard, April 11, 2011, Jazz Special
I ydre hjerte (The outside heart) is a beautiful and courageous expedition into the piano trio’s idiomatic expression. Melodically clear and chaotically abstract at the same time. Nørbo dares to push the listener onto a journey, where safety barrier begins to shake and beauty becomes demanding.
There are various piano trios that choose the safest way and play predictable and nice versions of standards, which one cannot have anything against. The pianist Søren Nørbo has other plans for his music. He is undoubtedly inspired by the lyrical tradition of Bill Evans, but his playing is rougher than Evans’ phrasings. If one draws parallels to a pianist, whose approach would resemble Nørbo’s, it would rather be Paul Bley, whose felt lyricism and avant-garde abstraction is similar to Nørbo’s esthetics in the album I ydre hjerte.
As the title indicates, it is about music, where the heart is worn on the sleeve, but there is no sentimentality though. On the contrary, it seems that beauty crumbles into small delicate bubbles.
Nørbo is accompanied by a trio consisting of a bass player Nils Davidsen and the omnipresent drummer Kresten Osgood, who changes between gentle colourism, relaxed swing and troubling rumble.
The opening tune På den anden side (On the other side) begins with a simple melody that falls into bell ringing, while Davidsen strokes his bass with a bow. The melody does not remain steady, but it disappears in a stream of underplayed chaos that later returns to its initial motif.
Tankens stærke strøm (Strong stream of thought) is in itself a good depiction of the music as a unity that includes recognizable motifs constantly melting into rhythmic curves and spirals. Like a thought being mutated in new variations and later turning back to its starting point.
The music flows without an actual progress and is surprisingly poor in grooves, but when they come, as in Lysning, oh lysning (Forest glade, oh forest glade), they burst out with sharp precision. Instead, one gets a sort of circular compositions, where the flow of notes creates an interchange between harmony and chaos.
I ydre hjerte (The outside heart) is a beautiful and courageous expedition into the piano trio’s idiomatic expression. Melodically clear and chaotically abstract at the same time. Nørbo dares to push the listener onto a journey, where safety barrier begins to shake and beauty becomes demanding. Listening to Nørbo is like hearing a lullaby in a hurricane. It can get frustrating as the melodic lines are cut off and rhythms break open, but no one has ever said that art should be easy listening and the album I ydre hjerte is undoubtedly a piece of art.