Søren Bebe Trio ‘Home’ (Private Press) 5/5

It sometimes feels that we might drown under the almost constant deluge of wonderful music from so many Scandinavian piano jazz trios. Whilst most, if not all of it is worthy music, I often find it difficult to distinguish between the various trios. It seems to me that very few have developed distinct identities. Off the top of my head I can only think of EST and Tord Gustavsen. Then, along comes Søren Bebe. Søren seems to have assimilated the influence of Gustavsen to good effect and yet, to me at least, seems to have established that all important individual group sound, subtly different from the others.I’ve been aware of the trio’s music for some time, since hearing ‘A Song For You’ from 2012 and thereafter ‘Eva’ an album from 2013 featuring bassist Marc Johnson. For this release, alongside Bebe on piano we have Kasper Tagel on bass and regular drummer Anders Mogensen. The album was recorded in Copenhagen in 2015 and was mixed and mastered by Jan Erik Kongshaug at the famed Rainbow Studio in Oslo. It seems very fitting that the veteran sound engineer known for his work with ECM is on hand here.

The overarching feature of Bebe’s music is its lyricism. There is a clear lineage from Bill Evans to contemporary masters such as Keith Jarrett. Like, Gustavsen, there is often an emphasis on simple folk-like, almost mournful melodies.

The Danish pianist established the trio in 2007 and together they have released five previous albums.

The opening track ‘The Path Somewhere’ has an almost classical influence allied to a folk-like melody. Intensely melodic with bass and drums marking out a rhythmic pulse under the piano.

‘Tango for T’ follows and, like much of the album, it is very contemplative, and reveals its musical secrets gradually. Another melodic jewel.

One of the outstanding tracks for me is ‘A Simple Song’. It is exactly that. The trio asserts a hypnotic influence on the listener and it is impossible not to allow yourself to luxuriate in the soundscape that they create time and time again throughout the album.

This is not simply a pianist with rhythm section, each member of the trio is an equal partner in the music making and the trio breaths as one.

‘Look Out Now’ is another fantastic piece of music, seductive in its simplicity.

It would be easy to simply dismiss this as just an album of background music, but to do that would be to do the music and the musicians a grave disservice.

Along with the jazz music, Bebe has also produced a series of albums of music for Ballet classes. Listening to both it is clear that there are similarities between the two genres. Indeed, I suspect that Bebe sees no distinction between the two.

Bebe is justifiably proud of this album and has said that he considers it to be the trio’s “best album yet”. He goes on to say that “the record is the first time I’ve actually been true to my artistic vision. ‘Home’ is a quiet, slow album – the kind I’ve always wanted to make but didn’t have the guts to do.”

Listen to this album and you too, like me, will be transported to a better place.

Alan Musson