is a continually surprising and satisfying collaboration between three Scandinavian musicians: tenor man Lars Moller, keyboardist Jon Balke & drummer Morten Lund. The first sounds you hear come from Balke's synthesizer and are fashioned to some degree after Bach's music for the pipe organ; it also puts you somewhat in the mind of seventies supergroups like Return to Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. After a couple of minutes of this, you might think you are in for a fusion date.
You would be wrong. If there is any fusion here, it's not with 'rock.' Balke's electronic keyboards do contribute a lot to the overall sound of the album, but no other elements from that form are present: no electric guitar or bass--no stringed instruments at all--and the rhythms are either strictly jazz or, as in the album's second track, descended from African or South American music; possibly there is some influence from composers like Cage and Crumb who wrote heavily for percussion. And Moller's intense tenor, frequently off-register, clearly runs through the Avant Garde tradition. Rather than RTF, if we had to compare this ensemble to one that featured Chick Corea, Circle would seem a more likely antecedent.
Though there is some considerable influence from classical music--Balke's piano is as indebted to the Impressionists as his opening salvo was to the Baroque--the structure is too free to be considered third stream. Running just under an hour, Trialogue
is essentially a continuous improvisation divided into three chapters. Each are distinct, but come together to create a single coherent piece. The CD is adventurous and full of novel sounds, but the music logical in structure. A fine three-way conversation indeed.