First Reviews of Acres of Blue

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The first reviews of Acres of Blue are starting to appear, and I couldn’t have been more happy with them! On Thursday January 30th, Hamar Arbeiderblad awarded the album with a 6/6 score and the front page headline: “Brilliant new album from Espen Berg”. They also dedicated to full size pages to an interview along the review. This is an excerpt of the review – I did my best to translate all those sophisticated words used to describe the music:

As with his solo debut, Noctilucent, the music is about compositions with a lot of room for improvisation: Characteristically, Berg’s music is just that – a combination of a lyrical, melodic expression and improvisation. This is open-minded and beautiful music, dreamy and fabulating in a way, but mainly imaginative and implying. The spontaneity is well taken care of, while he’s also – like with Noctilucent – utilizing a deep emotional level. It’s maybe even more open and spaceous sounding this time. It’s the grand landscapes that’s being crafted – where boundaries are broken and contradictions meet. To summarize, this is a new rock solid solo album from Espen Berg: Not flamboyant in any way, but delicious, attentive and pretty much epic in its quiet way. — Geir Vestad, Hamar Arbeiderblad, 30.01.14

Dagbladet, a national Norwegian newspaper gives Acres of Blue a 5/6 rating on February 5th:

The pianist Espen Berg (30) releases “Acres of Blue” as a sequel to his debut in 2012, “Noctilucent”, and this is also a solo album with composed and improvised music. Together with nine of his own melodies he seamlessly integrates Sting’s “Hounds of Winter” and Miles Davis’ “Nardis” into a personal expression that sounds more defined, dynamic and authoritative than on the last album, and when both touch, soundscaping and agility continues to be of top class, the album becomes an even more joyful experience. If “Noctilucent” was creating anticipations then “Acres of Blue” is the fulfillment of these, and also the confirmation of Espen Berg’s belonging to the group of top pianists in his generation, within the division of modern jazz- and classical informed music. — Terje Mosnes, Dagbladet 05.02.14

Dagsavisen, another national Norwegian newspaper, published an excellent review February 1st:

With his debut album “Noctilucent” in 2012, Espen Berg appeared as a solo pianist of high rank. With “Acres of Blue” he’s defending his place among the great masters. Like last time it’s a mixture of improvised and composed songs, and with the freely improvised opening tracks “Continuation” and “Frédéric” he’s showing both virtuosity and rich sounding ways of playing the piano. “The most natural approach to expressing myself musically has always been through the piano as a solo instrument”, he wrote on his first album. His extensive list of merits together with several bands proves that he has had many opportunities to practice his strength – on the instrument Keith Jarrett described as “the complete tool for expression”, when he released two solo concerts from 1981 on CD last year. It’s a pleasure listening to Espen Berg’s sparkling album, where he also arranges Sting’s “Hounds of Winter” and Miles Davis’ “Nardis” in his own tonal language – also paying Beethoven a visit with the beautiful “Til Eline”. And he finishes as he started, freely improvising on the tracks “Bokeh” and “Inevitable”. It’s Espen Berg it’s all about, a solo pianist who enters the club of the greatest. — Roald Helgheim, Dagsavisen 01.02.14

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