JAF Trio, whose music respects the traditions of jazz with a modern touch, captivate the listener with their vivacious debut album. The opening track, Ninth Row of the Fifth Floor, places us right in the middle of a whirl of tempo changes provided by the rhythm section, bass player Joonas Tuuri and drummer Frederik Emil Bülow, provoking an active engagement from the sax melody provided by Adele Sauros. The first few tracks on the album, particularly Masterpiece, incorporate echoes of – pardon the generalisation – Scandinavian folk music.
In Something New, the insistent descending four-note chromatic motif played by Sauros provide a wonderful contrast to the otherwise virtuoso material on the track. The four notes sound like a warm-up before the take and make the listener sit up and take notice. The track ends completely unexpectedly, which adds to its impressiveness.
All except two of the seven tracks on the album were written by Bülow. Of the other two, Dark Sparkle is by Sauros and Shades of Tomorrow is by Tuuri. These two are also calmer than the rest, preparing the listener for the concluding track, Det er dig, which begins with the composer’s drum intro and continues to play around with keys and time signatures. There is also a commendably extensive solo for the rhythm section.
The album is musically diverse. Clocking in at just over half an hour, it is short enough to make the listener wish for a couple of extra tracks, but as such it also leaves an appetite for the band’s next album. Finally, the lovely cover art, by Finnish artist Maija Lassila, must be separately acknowledged.
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
We Jazz Records, 2020