We'll admit that we're hardly what you would call a great place to discover new jazz artists, but we also hope that you'll indulge our random genre-crossing whims and listen to Norwegian jazz pianist Espen Eriksen's lovely, low-keyed album You Had Me At Goodbye (April 13, Rune Grammofon). Taking a cue from acclaimed piano trio E.S.T. and their late, great namesake Esbjörn Svensson, Eriksen fashions spare but wonderfully melodic songs that seem as untethered and light as clouds. The production is lush but uncluttered, just the sound of piano, bass and drum leaving plenty of open space for the notes to resonate and sing.
You Had Me At Goodbye is, as their bio insists, jazz -- but it's also something more...and less. The solos are brief, the improvisation as far from discordant as possible and, in many ways, these are simply beguiling melodic songs that happen to be instrumental: the "voice" here is Eriksen's piano. Goodbye pretty much had us at "Anthem," a track that takes all the right turns, moving easily to minor chords and delicate, loosely structured flutters of spinning piano lines. We're also seduced by "In the Woods", a song that builds on a rhythmic bass foundation with graceful, building intensity, chord progressions and piano notes that literally seem suspended in air. This is the soundtrack for your next best day. Highly recommended.
Espen Eriksen - "Anthem" (from You Had Me At Goodbye)
Espen Eriksen - "In the Woods" (from You Had Me At Goodbye)
You Had Me At Goodbye is also available at the Amazon.com mp3 store and iTunes.