I have done three concerts at the fantastic jazz club Kampenjazz (Oslo) this month, with exiting new projects. First, I played with a brand new quartet. Håkon Aase (violin), Øystein Aarnes Vik (drums) and Mats Eilertsen (bass). Two young and hungry talents, together with two older and also still hungry talents. It was a wonderul evening. Then, I finally got to bring one of my favourite nordic sax players to Oslo, Thomas Agergaard and his new Nordic Quartet, with Jon Fält on drums and Thomas Fonnesbæk on bass. It feels so good to play with this band, the music just floats in an easy, free way. The last concert was a Bill Evans tribute, in a trio with Jarle Vespestad (drums) and Christian Meaas Svendsen (bass). We played only Bill Evans-compositions. Extremely educational for me, and great fun! All of the concerts was recorded, and I can already now say that it sounds really great. Some of it might even be released!  (By the way, the grand piano that I used on the first two concerts was an amazing C. Bechstein, delivered and tuned by Trond Hellstrøm. I must say, for the sake of both the concert and the recording, this lifted the quality a lot.) More concerts will come with all these projects, stay tuned for updates.

Next: On thursday I will perform in Aberdeen with Arild Andersen Quartet, with Paolo Vinaccia (drums) and Tommy Smith (sax).
And, in March I will record a new album with the polish violin player Adam Baldych, together with my trio.

Good days!

PS some reviews of the first concert (in Norwegian):


All about jazz | Badgers and other beings

By  Jakob Baekgaard
5 1/2 of 6 stars
Since he signed to Dagobert Böhm’s Ozella Music, Norwegian pianist Helge Lien has reached a new artistic plateau with his trio. Hello Troll (Ozella, 2008) was an immediate success that showcased the group’s lyricism and tight interplay and the spacious beauty of Natsukashii (Ozella, 2010) added new colors to a wide musical vocabulary rooted in the Nordic aesthetic.

Continue reading “All about jazz | Badgers and other beings”

Downbeat July 2014 | Badgers and other beings

Norway’s Helge Lien Trio is a mirror back to America of what the jazz-piano trio has sounded like over the decades, full of rumination, romance but also some bite. The trio’s third release for Ozella suggests an underlying narrative that’s less “Stardust” and more roving star. “Mor” opens the set with something akin to what one might have heard from Keith Jarrett in the late 1970s—minus horns—with a dash of Esbjörn Svensson. Both “Joe” and the dream- like “Hvalen” avoid a swing feel for more of a danceable, free-flow rhythm, a mattress that the music tosses and turns on, full of chords and flowing gestures—restless without being pointless.

Veterans all, composer-pianist Helge Lien, bassist Frode Berg and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen are clearly of one mind. There’s a patience to these tunes that coincides with an underlying, undefinable unease, the combination a subtle fascination. “Hoggormen” sports a deft left-hand chordal movement from Lien that keeps you listening for what’s coming next in this soft tumbler of a rocking funk tune that threat- ens to but never boils over. Solo spots throughout

this CD—the poetic “Badger’s Lullaby” is a perfect example—keep us listening to everyone, again the accent being on a trio and not just one voice, the piano at its center.

—John Ephland
(four stars)