Barely a year has passed since the release of of the critically acclaimed “Finding Seagulls”, a wonderful intro to the music of Danish trio Little North. For this, their latest album, the band continue to expand on their Nordic jazz sound with an elegant, involving set of original tunes.
Pianist Benjamin Norholm Jacobsen, drummer Lasse Jacobsen and bassist Martin Brunbjerg Rasmussen expand the core essence of the trio on selected tracks, with the addition of Swedish guitar prodigy Viktor Spasov and trumpeter Kasper Tranberg. The intelligent use of these two further instruments works particularly well, offering further layers and textures to the music, without ever being overtly flamboyant or at odds with the atmosphere the trio strive to create.
There’s a spacious, cinematic feel to Little North’s music that I really like. It’s unhurried, sensitive and at times, compellingly beautiful. A sense of togetherness and intuitive understanding is clear to hear with the trio. Intricate interplay, deep grooves and delicate, mouthwatering melodies all combine with grace, subtlety and sincerity.
The anthemic “Running down the park” energises with its repeating motifs and cascading melodies, reminiscent perhaps of an old Christian Scott tune, light and dark converging with melodrama. The beauty of “It’s beginning to rain again” lies in its timeless simplicity. This is stunning, taking me back to memories of EST at their sensitive best. The classical romanticism of “Calystegia” meanders with longing and intrigue. “Push” entices the listener in, a dark sense of intrigue underlying this fascinating piece. The lyrical “Spotting Salamanders” sounds like a tune steeped in its own folklore, beguiling storytelling at its best. Mystical and free-flowing, “Einar” reaches out, slightly restless in its captivating transcendence. “Tide” gradually increases in intensity, its mesmeric charm totally captivating. Breaking the mould, “Huntress” quickens the heart rate, its dynamism pulsating freely. Like an age-old, long-forgotten nursery rhyme, “Ind i det Azurblå” is quietly decadent, a gentle, soothing antidote to all our ills.
“Familiar Places” enhances further Little North’s growing reputation. Wonderful, original music, well-crafted and expertly performed. Yet another example of how Scandinavian jazz continues to delight with its myriad of high-quality composers and performers.