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Arve Henriksen & Harmen Fraanje - Touch of Time (ECM)

26 January 2024

Norwegian trumpeter/electronicist Arve Henriksen has a long history as both sideman and leader (cf. his classic ambient jazz record Cartography), while Dutch pianist Harmen Fraanje has made his name with bassist Mat Eilertsen, among others. After improvising a set together at ECM’s fiftieth anniversary concert in 2019, the duo decided to continue their working relationship, culminating in Touch of Time – their first album together. Outside of three tunes, everything here is improvised – not that you can tell. Two more musically like-minded souls would be difficult to find, as both musicians operate on the same introspective, otherworldly wavelength. Check out “The Beauty of Sundays,” where the pair chases a spontaneous tune into the clouds and beyond, alighting on the nearest moon. Fraanje leads “Red and Black” with a mildly dissonant chord pattern, which Henriksen’s trumpet croon ties together. “Mirror Image” features Henriksen’s treated horn carrying a simple, sedate melody as Fraanje chimes in exactly when needed – and lays out when not. Even the composed songs, like Fraanje’s lovely “What All This Is,” sound as if the players were joined at the hip from the first note before anyone glanced at the score. Hearing Touch of Time is like being invited into a stranger’s lucid dream, enveloped with beauty.