– Trombone trio conducts fruitful exploration in the chordless format
Erik Johannessen – trombone
Jon Rune Strøm – bass
Erik Nylander – trommer
Øyvind Brække – trombone
Inkblots is Erik Johannessen’s first album released under his own name. This is a trombone trio album, periodically strenghtened with an extra trombone, played by Johannessen’s idol Øyvind Brække.
Inkblots is a free jazz record with both composed and improvised material, inspired by comic books, mythology, European buildings, New York and the Rorschach test, and can accommodate everything from experimental noise to glimpses of swing and sometimes even groovy and singable themes. While the music is mainly written by Johannessen; Strøm and Nylander contributes with one song each, in addition to a rendition of one of Bill Frisell´s modern standards. Four of the songs are fully improvised by the band on the basis of simple premade agreements. All this gives Inkblots a playful and varied character, but also makes way for serious and meditative moments.
The musicians have gained experience in many branches of Norwegian music, with Johannessen playing in Jaga Jazzist (Norwegian Grammy 2010 for One-Armed Bandit), Lord Kelvin and Magic Pocket, Nylander in Liarbird (Norwegian Grammy 2011) and Strøm in the critically acclaimed Frode Gjerstad Trio. Øyvind Brække’s best known project is The Source and their famous annual Christmas show.
The trio has played together since 2009 and looks forward to playing this repertoire on stages in Norway and the World.
Inkblots was recorded by Johannes Ringen in Moustache Studio and Even Ormestad in Cabin Recorders, and mixed by Audun Borrmann in Cabin Recorders. Mastered by Morten Stendahl in Redroom studio.
«From the band Lord Kelvin we already know that Erik Johannessen has a taste for both scientific subjects and other departments, he´s gathered a long list of bands he´s collaborated with, in jazz, rock and pop; and when he releases his first album «Inkblots» in his own name, he calls it a free jazz album with both composed and improvised material, inspired by both physical and spiritual floating matter en masse. Joined by bassplayer Jon Rune Strøm, drummer Erik Nylander, and fellow tromboneplayer and idol Øyvind Brække as a guest on «Whale Song Sing-Along, «Jeff Smax» and Bill Frisell´s beautiful «Egg Radio» he delivers a tremendous debut album characterized by great musical scope. It all opens with the tromboneplayer who both blows and sings, then moves on to trio interplay at breackneck speed, it´s free, it´s beautifully melodious, the musicians speaks with their horns to each other, always on the edge of their seat, listening, in varying degrees of «freedom». While there are musician´s jokes about the trombone, the horn that made it´s entry to Jazz through Jack Teagarden and J . J . Johnson, mainly commands respect. With ballast from Jaga Jazzist, Magic Pocket, Denada, Trondheim Jazzorchestra etc, Johannessen emerges with full force, interacting with musicians that make «Inkblots» a consistent product.
– Roald Helgheim, Dagsavisen
«The trombonist Erik Johannessen (36), known from amonst others Magic Pocket and Lord Kelvin, has his album debut under his own name with «Inkblots» in a trio (Jon Rune Strøm, upright bass; Erik Nylander, drums) only expanded to a quartet when fellow trombonist Øyvind Brække makes a guest appearance on three songs.
Two of them, Johannessens «Jeff Smax» and Bill Frisells «Egg Radio» are highlights on an album where the melodybased moments surpasses the free studio improvisations, but just the same shows Johannessen as a both secure and searching instrumentalist the whole way.»
– Terje Mosnes, Dagbladet