Geir Åge Johnsen drums
Fredrik Sahlander bass
Bernt Moen piano
Release No: LOS 232-2
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Recorded February 2019 by the trio at Studio A, Kristiansand, Norway.
Mixed and mastered August 2019 by Lars Nilsson at Nilento Studio, Sweden.
Produced by Bernt Moen
This recording is partly supported by Sørnorsk Jazzforum and University of Agder, Norway.
Piano tuner/tech Åse Tveit
Front cover photo by Ellen Ekevik
After having played together in numerous constellations in the past, we finally decided to record a long overdue trio album.
A studio session was scheduled in February 2019 and we spent a day recording the album. With no set repertoire or arrangements, everything was decided on the spot, which gives the recording a unique sense of spontaneity and playfulness.
We picked some of our favorite compositions from the jazz standards catalogue and just went for it.
The result is a documentation of three musicians listening, playing and enjoying each aspect of the music and the collective interaction.
Moen´s thoughts on the recording session and how the versions of the compositions came about:
“Isotope” Geir Åge played a funk groove during the miking of the drums and I immediately heard a riff in my head and started to play along. We all dig “Isotope”, let’s do it in a funky, riff-based version.
“Lament” Recording this J.J Johnson classic was Johnsen’s idea. There are some beautiful melodies and chord changes in this composition. I thought it would be nice to give it a more “classical” feel, leaning towards the northern jazz sound ideal.
“Naima” This just happened. I started working inside the piano and the guys joined in. We had talked about doing “Naima”, but not in which version. We did a take, listened to it and agreed that this was it, this was our version of Coltrane’s “Naima”.
“Interplay” We wanted to do this iconic Bill Evans composition. Again, a riff came about through some jamming. I wanted to do a dark and hard version, we just went all out on this one.
“Things Aint What They Used To Be” Well, maybe sometimes they are, at least for us when we did the take.
“All Blues” Geir Åge came up with this cool groove over a 6/8-time signature. The guys were laying down a solid groove which offered me the freedom to be all over the place, going back and forth between different time signatures and what not during my solo. It all came together in the end with the melody coming in on top of the groove.
“When All Is Said And Done” This is one of my compositions and playing it with Geir Åge and Fredrik was the perfect setting for interpreting and recording it.
Bernt Moen, August 2019
Originally hailing from Långsele in northern Sweden, bassist Fredrik Sahlander moved to Norway in 1997 to study at the Conservatory of Music, Kristiansand. After several years working as freelance musician in Oslo, he returned to Kristiansand where he completed a PhD specializing in improvised music at the University of Agder, where he is currently working as an associate professor in music performance.
Geir Åge Johnsen was born and raised in the town of Ålesund, Norway. He quickly became a much sought-after drummer, resulting in a large catalogue of recordings in various genres of rhythmic music. He is an alumnus of the University of Stavanger.
Bernt Moen`s interest in jazz was sparked when studying at Musicians Institute, then later at Berklee College of Music and the University of Agder where he is currently working as an associate professor of music in his hometown of Kristiansand, Norway. Moen has a vast catalogue of releases, both own albums and as a sideman.
The diversity of the trio’s broad stylistic competence is a contributing factor to the outcome of this recording. That, and the sheer joy of finally getting to record an album together.