Christmas Came Early Oddgeir Berg Trio
- 1Berg: Nå Tennes Tusen Julelys04:38
- 2Berg: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear05:01
- 3Berg: O Come All Ye Faithful (Herbei O Ihr Gläubigen)04:17
- 4Berg: Det Hev Ei Rose Sprunge (Es Ist Ein Ros Entsprungen)08:15
- 5Berg: Glade Jul (Stille Nacht)05:34
- 6Berg: Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker (My Heart Always Wanders)06:28
- 7Berg: In Dulci Jubilo05:57
- 8Berg: Deilig Er Jorden (Schönster Herr Jesu, Herrscher Aller Herren)06:11
Info for Christmas Came Early
The slowest Christmas album of all time?
Is this really a Christmas album? The Oddgeir Berg Trio are still playing the same familiar melodies that have accompanied us throughout the years. But this time, they're performing them with a dedicated, trance-inducing slowness wilfully out of tune with the typical cheeriness of Christmas eve. This may not be the weirdest Christmas album ever recorded – but it most certainly ranks among the most radical ones.
You'll find renditions of popular favourites like “Silent Night”,”In Dulce Jubilo” and “It came upon the midnight clear” here. But the group are performing them with such passionate reticence that they at times sound like bands like Bohren & Der Club of Gore – Christmas does seem to be a bit darker in Norway. The production matches these otherworldly interpretations: Again, the trio withdrew into Oddgeir Berg's very own Bonker Studio in Oslo to create the sonic twilight zone between night and day that they've by now established as their trademark.
Not all is doom and gloom, however: On several occasions, rays of light are breaking through the clouds, brightly illuminating these beautiful minor-mode-landscapes. And it will only take a cursory look at the saccharine cover motive and the camp band picture inside to understand that the band aren't out to ruin the fun. In fact, isn't this what the festive season should actually be about: Silence, inwardness, slowing things down?
The best thing about it: As the title indicates, you don't have to wait until Christmas eve to enjoy this music. Christmas came early is like a little present you give yourself – no matter the season or occasion.
Oddgeir Berg, piano, keyboards
Karl-Joakim Wisløff, double bass
Lars Berntsen, drums
Oddgeir Berg Trio
Electroacoustic jazz with one leg in melancholy and the other in ecstasy
Jazz trios named after the piano player give certain expecations, be it Horace Silver and his tender "Que Pasa" or Esbjørn Svensson and his Northern sounds, clarity and intimacy are common to these, with a hint of tonal melancholy.
These characteristics also feature on "Before Dawn", the debut album from The Oddgeir Berg Trio, who are clearly familiar with a Scandinavian jazz tradition. Tunes such as "The Mermaid’s Dance" and "Springeren" summon images of bonfires by the sea lit to herald the summer solstice, and the inevitable turn of the season when Autumn arrives and buries its roots and turns with fine melodic lines into the silence of winter.
The trio has some other tricks up its sleeve though, most importantly an urgency for action, pace and adventure, best heard in "A.C.M" and "Slogro" with their rhythmic relocations and aggressive radiance. Here the Oslo based trio has more in common with Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson than Scandinavia’s Jan Johannson. The Jimi Hendrix rock sound of the doublebass and the propulsive drum sound energetically support Berg’s playing. Berg’s curiosity in experimenting with Wurlitzer\Rhodes and synthesizer sounds sneaks into the soundscape and lends a distinctive colour to the sound panorama.
This album contains no booklet.