Ayumi Tanaka - piano
Johan Lindvall - piano
Christian Wallumrød - piano
3 pianos is an album made by a unique piano ensemble consisting of three musicians with different backgrounds and experience. The curiosity for the piano and its countless possibilities was the outset whereas the wish to bend the common boundaries for piano music was the background for this project. The ensemble makes music with clear connections to the music and the ideas of the twentieth century. The musicians develop the material in their own way by focusing on elements like tuning, register, intervals and dynamics. The material includes both written compositions and improvised pieces. The trio has a sophisticated way of instant-composing, and this quality reflects both the musicians individuality as well as there orientation towards interplay.
John Ephland - Downbeat
Unlikely union, three pianos brings together kindred spirits with the shared aesthetic that betrays convention. Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka, Swedish pianist Johan Lindvall and Norwegian jazz pianist Christian Wallumrød (all now based in Norway) manage to play as if one piano were in the recording studio. The results are at times fascinating when they aren't charming or outright playful. The trio approaches the piano as a sound sourcewith a particular timbral range, not as a conventional rhythm instrument. In fact, pulse is almost buried throughout the seven pieces of composed an improvised music. And while the album dispenses with theme, melody, tempo and any sense of formalism, there are minute variations — intermittent repetitions, with sustained moods inside each selection. In general, the moods tend to be of a serene, floating nature with the occasional spunky, more percussive approach. That said, the three pianists exhibit incredible restraint, patience and a deep listening as one track leads into another. Harmonics and glissandi permeate 34 and 33, the pianists sharing spritely counterpoint, bell-like tones, contrasting dynamics and gentle chords. The combination of three pianists untethered from key centers or chord changes might seem like a recipe for discordance and a frayed listening experience. Instead, a piece like Till Patrick Modiano No. 2 highlights how a suspended sense of forward motion can transcend the mind’s need for harmony and traditional organization
Eyal Hareuveni - Salt Peanuts
The Nakama musicians-collective-label continues to challenge its dedicated listeners, now offering a provocative spin on the concept of the piano trio, featuring three distinct composers-improvisers-pianists playing written compositions and improvising together. The pianists are Japanese, Oslo-based Ayumi Tanaka who leads her own trio and is a member of the experimental Nakama quartet; Swedish, Oslo-based Johan Lindvall who has played with sax player Mette Henriette and in the group Torg and the Christian Wallumrød, the more experienced musician here, leader of his own acoustic-chamber Ensemble, member of the experimental quartet Dans Les Arbres and the electronic duo Brutter.
This trio aims to explore new sonic possibilities of the three keyboards playing together, fed by ideas of the twentieth century iconoclast composers and improvisers. «3 Pianos» offer seven short pieces – three compositions are dedicated to the French novelist and recipient of the Nobel Prize, Patrick Modiano, and another one to the American painter Romaine Brooks, all written by Lindvall. These compositions are intersected by three collective improvisations.
The tone of the composed pieces is severe and reserved. These minimalist and serene pieces examine the qualities and dynamics of the piano sounds as they float and lost in the recording studio after short, abrupt intervals in the collective playing, with subtle attempt to suggest a melodic core or harmonic structures. «Romaine Brooks» stands out as the most diverse and almost conventional piece here, offering a clear melodic theme, an arresting narrative and delivered in a masterful interplay. The improvised pieces intensify the experimental vein of the composed pieces even further as the three pianists deconstruct the former fragile structures into intriguing, abstract textures. On each of these improvisations the listener is tempted to explore resonating labyrinths produced by strange tunings.
Highly impressive. «3 Pianos» is like nothing you have heard before. It calls for a different, deeper kind of listening.