The jazz world is not short on piano trios, but it’s not every day one comes across a trio with a personal musical language. Espen Eriksen Trio was formed in 2007 and has released four critically acclaimed records on the Norwegian label Rune Grammofon. The trio’s music relies on highly melodic and lyrical instrumentals and a “less is more” approach and is often credited for its unique voice within today’s jazz scene by the international press. To quote BBC in their review of the trio’s second album “A wonderfully plaintive jazz record, abandoned to the lost art of melodic minimalism, stripped back and beautifully near bare. No smoke and mirrors, just the graceful chemistry of superb musicians at the top of their game”.
The last two years the trio has worked a lot with the British saxophone star Andy Sheppard, resulting in multiple tours and the record “Perfectly Unhappy”, released in 2018. Their concerts have been broadcasted by BBC, Westdeutscher Rundfunk and Lithuanian National TV. After extensive touring worldwide, Espen Eriksen Trio comes through as a tight unity with a dazzling use of dynamics, ranging from melancholic moods to hypnotic grooves.
As a summer special, The Blue Lamp is delighted to welcome back the great Scottish drummer, John Rae who left our shores some 9 years back to make his home in New Zealand. He comes with a wonderful trio for a short summer tour so we grabbed the opportunity to bring them to the Lamp.
Ben Wilcock and The Jelly Rolls’ are a swinging New Zealand piano trio who began their career in a speak-easy called The Black Sparrow. Since their inception they have released two studio albums; Sneaky Weasel (2014) and The Phantom Canoe (2017) and two live albums; Live in Cromwell (2016) and A short history of jazz, the 1930s for Radio NZ (2016). Over the last five years The Jelly Rolls have made regular appearances at jazz festivals throughout Australasia. The resplendent Ben Wilcock takes centre stage on piano, suffusing Harlem Stride, as well as the influences of jazz piano greats, such as Oscar Peterson, Errol Garner and Ahmad Jamal. He is joined by the effervescent John Rae on drums and the multi instrumentalist Dan Yeabsley on the Double bass and saxophones. They are currently touring ‘The Phantom Canoe’, a uniquely New Zealand jazz album inspired by the legends of the Te Arawa people of Rotorua.
“Even without knowing the background to the album’s conception it’s a great listen, one that harks back to the time when jazz was for dancing, with great driving rhythms and phrase constructions that make you want to move” Aleisha Ward, NZ Musician
‘This is good times music and you can feel it deep in your bones” John Fenton jazz journalist