Recorded at a Swiss music festival, the music performed by this estimable trio must have given the audience its money’s worth, while offering the mind’s eye a hodgepodge of slanted perspectives. Pianist Sten Sandell and his rhythm section largely, reside in an analogous musical plane here.
On the opener titled "Ovala Takter I," the pianist works within the lower register atop drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s pumping and asymmetrical metrics. With finicky voicings and swirling contrasts, the improvisational aspect adheres to the highest form of intuitiveness. In a sense, the band instills a sense of the unknown via Sandell’s often-haunting phraseology. Bassist John Berthling is an accelerator, where the unit delves into sequences of rapidly flowing harmonic developments (and oddities). Throughout these four pieces they dig deep from within amid seamlessly integrated storylines that evolve and refresh.Complete with dynamic flurries engineered upon crashing cadenzas and cascading progressions, the trio surges forward with a rumbling, free-form gait that seems uncannily structured. At times they wind matters down into a minimalist framework that creates a semblance of desolate environs. Since its recent release, this album has become a critic’s favorite. Count me among those who assert that "Oval," is among the finest new-jazz type programs of 2007.