November 13th I played a very special solo concert at Dokkhuset, Trondheim. This exclusively all improvised concert was a live recording, and also a five camera video production. I hired some of the best light and sound engineers in Norway to set up the perfect conditions for an immersive experience for a packed Dokkhuset, and the result got just as good as I hoped for. Here’s a part of the concert, and the rest will be released as more videos and a full album in 2020:
The reviews are in! Top image shows that F2P were chosen as one of the top jazz albums of September by Mezzo (FR). Here’s some highlights from some of our many reviews so far:
Undoubtedly one of my favourite albums of this year, “Free To Play” is a richly rewarding experience, from a trio who are proving to be not just one of the best in their field of music, but also beyond boundaries. Fabulous music that I have a feeling Iʼll be enjoying for many years to come.
UK Vibe, Oct 2019 – 5 out of 5 stars
Like all the best music, this album reveals something new and pleasing on each successive hearing.
BBC Music Magazine (UK), Oct 2019 – 4 out of 5 stars
Free to Play, a perfect title for the Espen Berg Trio’s new recording, doesn’t mean that the group plays nice. It suggests that the band takes pleasure in its inspiring interplay.
Downbeat (US), Dec 2019 – 4 out of 5 stars
EBT are rapidly becoming an important new voice in a crowded field of post-E.S.T. trios, and while their two preceding albums have much to recommend them, on Free To Play the trio have really hit their creative stride.
Jazz Journal (UK) – 4 out of 5 stars
Free to Play immediately places itself with instant proximity to the top of the list of the best Norwegian jazz albums ever.
Jazznytt (NO), Sept 2019
On ‘Free to Play’ the Espen Berg Trio shows off its skills with catchy compositions and virtuoso improvisations and also shows that it is looking ahead.
Jazzenso (NL), Sept 2019
This third album of the trio confirms the qualities already observed: an original approach to melody and harmony, a “journey without end and without borders” where everyone enjoys the freedom evoked by the title.
Jazz Magazine (FR), Sept 2019
Espen Berg and his accomplices stand out, however, from many artists from Scandinavia in that they play music which is extroverted and always accessible. But we all know what simplicity hides: a lot of discipline and precise details that allow Berg to alternate between the fluent music and the colliding music with a certain mastery. And that’s what gives this recording its particular brilliance.
Culture Jazz (FR), Sept 2019
This fall I’m working with several projects at the same time, traveling from tour to tour. It’s been a joy to play with my trio in Oslo at Nasjonal Jazzscene, and in Greece at the Half Note Jazz Club, and with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Marius Neset at BOZAR in Brussels. I had some amazing days in Propeller Studio recording a duo album together with Silje Nergaard, co-produced and engineered by Mike Hartung. Silje and I have played several concerts around Norway in October, and we’re traveling to London to play at the EFG London Jazz Festival in November. Firstly, I’m going to Oslo (my 2nd hometown these days) to work with the percussion students at Norwegian Academy of Music, who are premiering my arrangement of XIII for seven percussionists during the academy’s chamber music festival. Then I’m playing my biggest solo concert so far, at Dokkhuset Nov 13th, which will be a live recording scheduled for release next year.
After that I will tour in Trøndelag with Tråante feat. Marja Mortensson and Katarina Barruk, and finally a European tour with Bridges feat. Seamus Blake. Busy times all the way into the Christmas holidays. I feel extremely privileged for getting to work with all these amazing people and being able to play my music all around.
I’m very glad to be able to play with this magical orchestra one more time. On Friday February 15th we will invade Dokkhuset in Trondheim, and play as a part of the international Pop Jazz Platform conference program. This version of Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is my Norwegian dream team: It features 14 amazing and highly profiled soloists, playing more like an enormous and tightly woven band rather than an orchestra.
An international jury has selected Espen Berg Trio to play at this year’s jazzahead! in Bremen (DE). Norwegian jazz is highlighted in 2019, with its own showcase evening called the Norwegian Night. This evening will feature eight of the most prominent bands from the cold north, and among them EBT.
Espen Berg Trio will play at 11.30 PM on Thursday April 25th. Attending jazzahead!? Be there!
Stay tuned for the release of a new and exciting collaboration project. I recently visited Oslo to record video and shoot press photos, spending the whole day in the beautiful main hall at Oslo Konserthus with an amazing team!
Espen Berg Trio’s third album, “Free to play”, will be released exclusively in Japan on the Japanese label Blue Gleam on March 27th 2019. The recording was done in Nilento Studio, Gothenburg, Nov 25-26 2018, by Lars Nilsson and Michael Dahlvid. The international release will be in September 2019 on the Norwegian label Odin Records.
The album features eight new compositions, freely improvised music, and fresh arrangements done in collaboration with Bárdur and Simon. We can’t wait to share it with the world!