Album Review: JAF Trio – JAF Trio

JAF Trio are an up and coming young Finnish-Danish band featuring Adele Sauros of Superposition, Bowman Trio bassist Joonas Tuuri and drummer Frederick Emil Bülow. They won the We Jazz Rising Star at the We Jazz Festival in 2017 and now that very label are putting out the trios debut album

The trio’s self titled album has a real of sense tightness and clarity. The recording, especially in the drum sounds, feels very precise and dry. The playing is a very high standard and the music flirts between absolute control and spontaneity.

As with any bass/drum/sax trio there is naturally a lot of space for the listener to fill, and this music is relatively complex. Harmonically, the dexterous bass parts keep us guessing as to where we are for much of the time and though the music may suck you in intellectually as you try to work out its changes and patterns, for me, the tracks are best described and enjoyed as journeys. I couldn’t help myself imagining a character walking, running, hesitating, through constantly changing streets or buildings. To be honest, a bit like the old pink panther cartoons. There is no attempt to dwell in one place and the constant changes in texture and groove keep us moving all the time. In fact, it often seems that the three instruments are, cleverly, on separate journeys at the same time. There are moments when the music does converge but the for the most part we are in a state of constant change.

There are highlights aplenty throughout the record, from the angular, jittery opener ‘Ninth Row of the Fifth Floor’, to the bubbling, insistent ‘Something new’, through to the beautifully languid ‘Shadesof Tomorrow’, there’s always something to hold your interest – emotionally, intellectually and crucially melodically.

Don’t expect to settle on a verse or chorus – just accept the journey for what it is. It’s quite abstract, but also very real. It’s modern jazz.

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