Little North ‘Finding Seagulls’ LP/CD (April) 4/5

Little North is a young Danish piano/bass/drums trio featuring Norholm Jacobsen on piano, Lasse Jacobsen on drums, and Martin Brunbjerg Rasmussen on bass. Together they offer a captivating musical voyage, steeped in the lineage of Scandinavian music, combining melancholic Nordic soundscapes with a deep tradition of jazz.

Already highly acclaimed in their home country, the group spent their formative years playing and composing together, developing a chemistry which belies their youth. The intuitive way they work together can be heard time and time again throughout this album, their poetic, melodic music inspiring thoughts of Danish fjords and beautiful, sparse, open landscapes.

“Finding Seagulls is a metaphor for the search for land in an ocean of endless possibilities. When a seagull appears on the open sea, you know land is nearby. As a trio, we are constantly in search of new sounds and stories. This album is a representation of that search”. say the trio. And to my mind, this inquisitive, open attitude is certainly reflected in their music. The trio aren’t afraid to set sail and explore new ideas here, knowing that the safety of dry land is never that far away.

The album opens with the sparse yet compelling “Two and Three”, with its invitingly warm melancholia. The dark, intriguing “Ode til Skyer” gradually casts light like a lighthouse searching for a lost ship at sea, a sense of hope amidst the gloom. There’s more than a nod to the influence of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio on the lively “The Kite”, a rousingly satisfying piece. The natural flow continues with “And Daughter” and the deliciously inventive “Horses”. The short but very sweet “Enora” is followed by the achingly beautiful “Anna”, a gorgeously emotive tune that softly pulls at the heartstrings. “Freyu” is a great example of how the trio interact. If I didn’t know better I’d say they’d been writing and performing together for decades, the interplay and musicianship is that good. “Invoke” is particularly adventurous, melodies bouncing around and cascading like the echoes of the sea washing onto a distant shore. The contemplative “Cold Hawaii” is one of those tunes you just don’t want to end, as it builds towards the sound of an old piano, questioning, longingly looking out to sea once more; the closing piece “Kite Reprise”.

Make no mistake, “Finding Seagulls” is a very assured album from Little North. Fascinating and rewarding, it takes the listener to their own little north, a place where dreamy, forgotten landscapes combine perfectly with the essence of a shimmering, foreboding yet strangely hopeful Nordic sound.

Mike Gates