“Entering The Woods”/Skip Records – Release February 2020
The wait is over: “Entering The Woods”, the 5th album by the Emil Brandqvist Trio, is finished. There’s no doubt that this formation is among the few piano trios worldwide that have played their way up to a continent-spanning listening audience in recent years by constantly developing the band’s very own, highly recognizable sound and advancing it further. More than 10 million streams for individual songs(!) have catapulted the trio to vanguard rankings. In North America they crop up on playlists displaying major radio audience figures, in Japan they’re a must on countless compilations as a prime example of today’s Scandinavian Jazz, and in Germany their last album ranked No. 3 on the national jazz charts. ECHO award nominations and an appearance on the Longlist of German Record Critics have provided further proof of their large-scale acceptance. Most recently the greatest acclaim has come not only from sold out club tours but from performances at equally acclaimed German jazz and classical music festivals such as Movimentos Wolfsburg, Palatia Jazz, Elbjazz Hamburg, the Beethovenfest in Bonn, or Jazz Baltica on the shores of the Baltic Sea. At a live appearance on “Aspekte”, a cultural TV show on the German ZDF national network, they were announced as “the loveliest flower in the piano trio genre.”
The trio’s secret lies in the rare gift of having evolved such an inimitable sound marked by the finely sculpted soundscapes of Emil Brandqvist on drums and the at times sensitively dotted and dashed, other times rolling like a juggernaut neo-classicism of Tuomas A. Turunen, a pianist from Finland who also recently recorded a highly expressive solo CD for SKIP (released as SKP 9139 “Ornaments Of Time”). The stoically driving force emitted via Max Thornberg’s playing on double bass lends the trio unmistakeable body and weight. As usual, Emil Brandqvist himself is responsible for most of the compositions, but it’s become a fine tradition that Tuomas A. Turunen, who now calls the south of France home, acts as co-composer, too.
No sooner than the first notes of “My New Bike” find the listener riding along in the EBT cosmos of sweetly spiced drum accents and lush piano harmonies. On “Unbreakable”, a Tuomas A. Turunen composition, the notes literally pearl across the voluminous yet discreet bass lines by Max Thornberg: audiophonic moments that invite us to dream and ‘resense images’. With the EBT, you can’t help but hear the highly detailed production work in which Emil Brandqvist successfully manages to enhance the piano trio genre time and time again by adding surprising twists: tricky rhythms like the ones on “Crowded Apartment” are just as much a part of his toolkit as adding guest musicians, like on “The Woods”. Here accordion-player Lisa Langbacka joins the trio to provide mellifluously melancholy moments. On “Grand Piano”, Mr. Emil from Gothenburg employs uncompromising drumwork to whip the trio on while deploying a bass clarinet played by Martin Brandqvist and a flugelhorn played by Johan Asplund to set atmospheric accents. “Butterflies”, a waltz in typical EBT attire, lets the fragile creatures dance as they do their winged-thing. In contrast, “Hide And Seek” sounds like a toy clock gone wild as it spins its way ahead while Tuomas A. Turunen delivers the space for keyboard runs far beyond metronome tick-tock atop meaty, earthy sounds from Brandqvist and Thornberg. In conclusion, and thanks to the central key role played by Max Thornberg, “The Clouds Are Clearing” sounds as if Sting had migrated back to the world of jazz. Embellished with prepared piano effects, celesta, bowed bass, horns and woodwinds, it has all the makings of the soundtrack for a cinematic epic.
The trio will be playing these new songs and classics from its catalog on-stage on extended concert tours in April/May, at summer festivals, and in the fall of 2020. Tour dates at www.skiprecords.com or at www.emilbrandqvisttrio.com “Entering The Woods” is a whole new ball game, another slam dunk from the Emil Brandqvist Trio.