Bruno Råberg Trio ‘Tailwind’ CD (Red Piano) 5/5

The thing I love most about listening to a jazz trio is when the musicians connect in such a way that the music they’re making sounds effortless. This can be in any number of ways, from the tried and tested jazz standard right the way through to the experimental and avant-garde. When a band are “on it”, they just are, and the resulting music comes across as sincere, free, delightful and simply downright enjoyable.

“Tailwind” is Brono Råberg’s tenth album as leader. The Swedish born bassist and composer is a longtime resident of Boston, and is joined on this recording by regular collaborator, pianist Bruce Barth, and newer acquaintance drummer Adam Cruz. Together, on this release, they have produced an album rich in vitality and splendour.

Although a fairly straight-ahead jazz recording, there’s an essence to the trio’s music that lifts this way above any standard fare. Made up of mainly original compositions, there’s a distinct skill and poise to the performances, at times quietly adventurous, crisp and energetic, emotive and atmospheric, but always melodic, the music draws deeply from the jazz tradition, with all three musicians contributing individually and as a kinetically connected integral unit.

“For me Tailwind is the feeling of being gently pushed ahead.” says Råberg. “Having my intentions and dreams amplified by a collective effort, in this case making music together as a group. When playing with great musicians such as Bruce and Adam I get the sense of being lifted and carried along; the music flowing effortlessly and deeply.” And it’s the same sense of being lifted that I get when listening to this album. The natural feel of ebb and flow allows the music to ignite my senses and flow through me as all great music should do.

I could pick out any number of the ten tunes for special attention, but I’ll just mention three here for now. The opener “Message” sets the tone perfectly; rhythmic, dynamic and exciting, the soloing and interplay top-notch, with a vibrancy and verve that flows seamlessly. “Le Candide II” blazes a brilliant trail of luminescent fervour with its engagingly uplifting crescendos. And the sublime and stunningly beautiful “Lone Tree Hill” cannot fail to impress, its tenderness resplendent and majestic.

Bruno Råberg has created and delivered one of the modern jazz delights of 2018 in “Tailwind”. Quite simply a joy to listen to and most certainly one of my favourite discoveries this year. Highly recommended. All eyes on Bruno Råberg Trio we say.

Mike Gates