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Little North - Familiar Places (April)

11 April 2022

Familiar Places, the fourth album by Danish piano trio Little North, could be used as a model for a certain strain of jazz. Concentrating less on swing or the blues and more on melody and atmosphere, pianist Benjamin Nørholdm Jacobsen, bassist Martin Brunberg Rasmussen and drummer Lasse Jacobsen fill songs like the rippling “Spotting Salamanders,” the dynamic “Tide” (on which Rasmussen switches to arco) and the sublime “It’s Beginning to Rain Again” with minimalist chords, reserved, occasionally even delicate rhythms and a focus on the tune, rather than individual members’ musicianship. Which isn’t to say the players don’t take solos – Benjamin Jacobsen displays a beautifully melodic touch in his breaks, and Rasmussen proves himself a canny soloist as well. But the group is more interested in providing a united front, often leaving the solos to their special guests. Trumpeter Kaser Tranberg adds tasteful sonority to the lovely and enigmatic “Calystegia,” while guitarist Viktor Spasov contributes lead lines so perfect to the glistening “Running Down the Park” and the radiant “Push” that he sounds like the fourth member the trio didn’t know they needed. Elegant and exquisite, Familiar Places is quite the calling card.