Eik Trio – ‘Trust’

The Norwegian jazz ensemble, Eik Trio is a new trio but with experienced musicians from other settings and bands. Featuring Bendik Hofseth – a very well-known musician in Norway and for other countries he is the saxophonist who replaced Michael Brecker in Steps Ahead when he quit this band at the time. Everyone knows Nils Petter Molvær and Heine Bugge has played with Marius Neset and others and in many different types of music, with his accordeon.

Trust is a collection of jazz standards portrayed with the interpreted essence of each melody’s core, as the primarily focus. The title Trust mirrors the trio’s focus throughout the production, of letting each melody present its nature and trust each other and the atmosphere evolving within the trio, conscientiously.

Cover photo http://www.pexels.com
Design by Max Franosch

The album is a collection of ten very well known standards played and sung beautifully. Elisabeth Karsten sings with clarity and pure tone but is not what I would call a “jazz voice”. Her phrasing is very good in an understated delivery. Ole Fredrik Norbye plays delightful lyrical, spacious piano lines that match Elisabeth’s vocal styling very well. John Børge Askeland adds the bass tones to the proceedings as when needed but also takes the lead as on the opening bars of ‘Witchcraft’.

It is the guest musicians that add to the overall feel of the album and prevent it sounding too one dimensional. Bendik Hofseth plays tenor sax on three of the ten tracks and whilst matching the tone set by vocal and piano brings another texture in to play whilst maintaining the overall balance of the track. Nils Petter Molvær plays ‘I Love Paris’ with a slight edge to his sound but, as with the rest of the album, does not upset the feel of Trust. The contrast between trumpet and piano works very well, particularly against the bass undertones from Askeland. The accordion of Heine Bugge adds a different tonal colour to ‘For Once in My Life’ and his mix of single, drawn out notes, and runs gives the tune the merest hint of vibrancy that I enjoyed hearing.

Trust is a pared back album played at a sedate tempo with a simplicity that only goes to show the skill of the musicians involved – absolutely nowhere to hide! – but also highlights the melodic majesty of the chosen tunes. If you are seeking lively, energetic jazz music then this is not the album you are looking for. If you want something to savour, something where everything can be heard, enjoyed, and reflected upon when time becomes an irrelevance then this album is very much for you.

Trust is released on the Losen Record label 10th March, 2023

Musicians: Ole Fredrik Norbye – piano; Elisabeth Karsten – vocals; John Børge Askeland – double bass; Bendik Hofseth – tenor saxophone (tracks 2, 6, 8); Nils Petter Molvær – trumpet (track 3); Heine Bugge – accordion (track 5).

Tracklist: 1. Fly me to the Moon. 2. Come Fly With Me. 3. I Love Paris. 4. Stay With Me. 5. For Once in My Life. 6. Stranger in the Night. 7. Witchcraft. 8. Young at Heart. 9. I’ve Got You Under My Skin. 10. My Way.

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