On their second album, this most melodic trio continue in the same tradition as on their highly-acclaimed debut from 2010 - a tradition that implies typically Scandinavian elements such as folk music, melancholia and the deep woods. In that respect, it's fair to say that the Espen Eriksen Trio belongs to the same tradition as Tord Gustavsen and the late Esbjern Svensson, even Jan Johanson in some respects, but without really sounding like any of them.
But it's also fair to say that the trio's less-is-more approach is in stark contrast to many contemporary piano trios, with shorter tunes and a strong focus on melodic content. On What Took You So Long, you will find eight new Eriksen compositions and two quite unlikely cover versions. "Oslo," the lovely and captivating track that ends the album, captures both sadness and optimism in a simple and unsentimental way.
Espen Eriksen's musical background is varied, ranging from pop music to jazz and the church organ. He has played with top Norwegian jazz musicians like Bendik Hofseth, Mats Eilertsen and Thomas Strunen and was for three years pianist, arranger and composer for singer Christina Bjordal, leading up to her international debut, Brighter Days, for Universal Music in 2006. Bassist Lars Tormod Jenset lived and worked as a musician in Copenhagen for seven years before relocating to Norway in 2007. He is also a member of Hot N Spicy, Bendik Giske Kvintett and Rodent. Andreas Bye is one of Norway's most requested drummers in jazz and pop. He was a member of Bugge Wesseltoft's New Conception of Jazz and has played with John Scofield, Joshua Redman, John Taylor, Dhafer Yousef, Nils Petter Molv, Hokon Kornstad, and many others.
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