"Avoid the basic concept of the jazz piano trio and make it more groovy, with simple melodies” Iiro Rantala. After the album “My Working Class Hero,” dedicated to John Lennon and “Tears for Esbjörn,” a homage to the influential Swedish pianist, “How Long Is Now?” puts the spotlight fairly and squarely back on to the Finnish pianist, composer and life-force Iiro Rantala. This new trio album with Peter Erskine (drums) and Lars Danielsson (bass) constitutes a many-faceted summing-up of a happy and resoundingly creative phase of Rantala’s life. Rantala says of the new album: “I think this is one of those ‘composition is the king’ kind of projects. The theme, the writing, the mood of the composition are the most important things.” Seven of the thirteen compositions here are by Rantala himself, three tracks by the other players in the trio, and three more are by others who, in their different ways, have helped to construct Rantala’s appealing musical personality.
Happy coincidences can often lead to extraordinary results. No-one could have foreseen that Lars Danielsson and the Armenian pianist Tigran would pair up to form the new dream duo of the European jazz scene, when in fact the two musicians played their first concert together only one week before the scheduled recordings of Liberetto. It was clear from the first note that two musical soulmates had found each other, and despite it happening by coincidence the result of their meeting was all the more intense. Lars Danielsson says: “Tigran sees my music exactly the way I do and he composes music exactly the way I would do myself. For example, his ‘Svensk Låt’ sounds more Swedish than my songs. It was simply fantastic to record this album with him.”
Christof Lauer is a German jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist, born in Melsungen, Germany, perhaps most well known in Europe where he has done projects with various musicians, such as Palle Danielsson, Carla Bley, Michel Godard, Volker Kriegel, Michel Portal, Maria Joao, Anthony Cox, Gary Husband, Alphonse Mouzon, and Peter Erskine.
Trio M/E/D is also the album recorded by these three great musicians and friends at the close of their 2014 tour of Italy. Word had recently reached us about the untimely passing of Charlie Haden, and Palle Danielsson played a most-touching and rhapsodic tribute to his predecessor in the Keith Jarrett Quartet. Palle’s musical remembrance was the only silver lining to that dark cloud of news, and I was grateful to witness it and to know that it would be preserved for others to hear.
Lars Danielsson ACT-debut “Libera me“ (ACTSACD 9800-2) left no doubts about his creative versatility. And yet: the bass player, cellist and composer continues to surprise. His latest ACT-release “Mélange Bleu” (ACT 9604-2) shows up a completely new dimension to this musician with enormous potential. Danielsson has surrounded himself with partners like pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer und guitarist Eivind Aarset, all of them specialists for mood music that often develops in before a backdrop of ambient inspired sounds, samples and programmed beats.