Trygve_seim-yeraz_span3
April 2009

Trygve Seim/Frode Haltli
Yeraz
ECM Records

Tenor and soprano saxophonist Trygve Seim and accordionist Frode Haltli are joined on Yeraz by a third, non-corporeal member: silence. The space around and between the pair’s improvised exchanges exerts a powerful, nearly tangible presence, contributing to the music’s classical air.

The duo’s repertoire consists mostly of compositions by Seim. He favors sparse, quiet, folk-ish themes, and accompaniments that exploit the accordion’s “band-in-a-(squeeze)-box” capability. Haltli excels at emphasizing his instrument’s capacity for contrasts of color and texture. At times, his playing has the quality of a clarinet quartet. Elsewhere, the instrument sounds like an analog synth, a harmonium and even a pipe organ.

Seim’s tendency to play long, sustained improvised lines, as well as his manner of phrasing and ornamentation, betrays the influence of his fellow Norwegian, Jan Garbarek. His tone, however, is a good deal lighter and fuzzier around the edges than Garbarek’s; in general, Seim’s playing is gentler, and perhaps more vulnerable-sounding, than the elder saxophonist’s. The cushion of silence enveloping Seim and Haltli highlights the tranquil nature of their interaction, making for a deeply felt music.

Originally published in April 2009
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