Emil Brandqvist Trio

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Emil Brandqvist Trio: Within a Dream

As a narrative tale, the way the Emil Brandqvist Trio has evolved reads like a dream come true. The current chapter is appropriately titled “Within A Dream”, the fourth album they have recorded on SKIP Records. Plenty of attention has been bestowed upon the ensemble lined up around drummer Emil Brandqvist from Gothenburg, Sweden: an ECHO JAZZ nomination, Longlist prize of the German Record Critics’ Award and, most recently, No. 7 ranking on the German Jazz Charts for the preceding album, “Falling Crystals”.

If there’s a secret to this trio, it surely lies in the rare talent to have developed a sound all their own. The hallmarks include intricate audiophonic paintings by none other than Emil Brandqvist on drums, neo-classicistic elements from Finnish pianist Tuomas A. Turunen – sometimes sensitively dashed & daubed, other times a product of racing runs that roll away into the beyond – and the almost stoically advancing strength heard in the playing of Max Thornberg on upright bass.

As was already the case on “Seascapes”, the second album, Emil Brandqvist again employs bass clarinets, flutes and even synthesizer accents he plays himself to give greater clarity to the atmosphere felt in the compositions. Options like these are equally used to make surprising extensions within the pieces possible, yet never as solo instruments, always as a pointed element toward enhancing the mood. Ever the romantic, Tuomas A. Turunen shines with his sparkling, poetic input, only to change pace and act as the solid rhythmic foundation for the ‘catchy’ compositional elements.

Once listeners have felt their way into the cosmos of the trio on “Stay A Little Longer”, where the instruments mirror the title via gradual introduction including a little Celesta stardust, “Starlings” presents the typical Emil Brandqvist Trio sound. On “View From Above” the synthesizer plays a more distinctive and even unexpected role before the tempo picks up remarkably in the composition by Tuomas A. Turunen entitled “Metropol Round”. A decidedly tricky rhythm makes “Landscapes” one of the highlights on the album, while “Back On The Ground” delivers a late-night blues of the sort you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hail from Scandinavia. “Time For A Change”, the finale and a composition jointly written by Turunen and Thornberg, has all the makings of the closing soundtrack to a feature-length film that kept you riveted to your seat.

2017 became a year of an international breakthrough for Emil Brandqvist and his trio as they toured actively across Europe and made their debut concerts in Asia. Inish Festival and Galway Jazz Festival in Ireland, Festival Jazz de Plateau Picard in France and Seoul Nordic Culture Festival in South Korea were included in the trio’s concert program. Their tours included venues such as Glocke in Bremen, Christuskirche in Bochum, Speicher in Bad Homburg, Novometskà Radnice in Prague and Annedalskyrkan in Göteborg. Emil Brandqvist Trio also had the honour to be one of the showcase acts at Jazzahead music fair, which lifted the trio to the radar of hundreds of jazz professionals around the world.

The current year started with a special production with the Swiss author, actor and TV host Max Moor in Berlin and Nürnberg. These Jazz & Literature events will be followed by a large release tour in Germany including concerts at some of the country’s leading cultural events: Movimentos Festival, Elbjazz festival, Palatia Jazz, Kissingen summer and Beethovenfest in Bonn. Release concerts will take place also in Sweden and Finland. The full concert calendar can be found here

Photo by Steven Haberland.