PER HENRIK WALLIN TRIO - The Stockholm Tapes
[Ayler,
www.ayler.com]

PER HENRIK WALLIN / JOHNNY DYANI / ERIK DAHLBACK - Burning in Stockholm
[Atavistic / Unheard Music Series,
www.atavistic.com]

I came across pianist Per Henrik Wallin's music only a few years ago. I think my first general knowledge of this Swedish pianist's existence arrived as a courtesy of his double release "Proklamation I & Farewell to Sweden" [hathut]. It was then that I discovered the rare genius and quirkiness of his style and came to appreciate this much over-looked artist. These two releases concentrate in full on Wallin's earlier work, and both showcase the master in top form. "The Stockholm Tapes" represents the more lyrical side of Wallin's work out of these two CDs. He is in heavy poetic mode for at least half of this recording [which was realized in 1977]. His touch is almost gentle as he caresses the keys of the piano ever so tenderly, trying to find the perfect sound, the perfect phrase. It's the second part of the CD [recorded in 1975] that presents the real fury. Alto player Lars-Goran Ulander blows a layer of enraged lines on top of the repetitive and broken percussion beats of Peter Olsen. Wallin's approach on these tracks is very heavy handed. He tries to break through the other players' and actually lead his trio, but too often it's difficult to hear his playing. On the latter part of the CD, he's too far off in the mix to fully appreciate his approach. Overall, "The Stockholm Tapes" serve as a crucial document for an under-recorded and original pianist.

The latter of the two recordings "Burning in Stockholm" dates back to January 1981. It showcases the more "harsh" side of pianist's work. The reason I say this I guess is that cacophony does reign supreme. On the other hand, I suppose it's the lack of the alto player that makes this a more bearable session to stomach and digest. Wallin here is joined by a very solid rhythm section made up of legendary Johnny Dyani on bass, along with percussionist Erik Dahlback. The recording is made up of one long 49 minute piece. Wallin's playing throughout is well executed, clean and most of all very innovative. He goes off on tangents and uses his piano as a percussive instrument. Then, all of a sudden, he switches gears, and plays a soft, lyrical section, that can really perplex the listener. But this is the beauty of this record; its variety. The styles and techniques he uses blend into each other very well. The playing from all members of the trio is very driven, very direct, and most definitely with a sense of purpose. It's almost as if the trio had a train to catch, and were playing to outrun all the other cars in a traffic jam on the way to the train station. The only sore side of the recording is its relative brevity. For some reason, it just ends abruptly. Both releases come highly recommended as crucial documents of the pianist that will someday [I hope] be better known outside of his native Sweden.

Tom Sekowski


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+ OE GIARDULLO / SANGEETA MICHAEL BERARDI - Art Spirit
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Tempo Technik Teamwork; VARIOUS ARTISTS - Intransitive Twenty-Three
+ [#/TAU] BORIS D HEGENBART - SMIP (Somethingmovinginsideplasticbox)
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>> PER HENRIK WALLIN TRIO - The Stockholm Tapes; PER HENRIK WALLIN / JOHNNY DYANI / ERIK DAHLBACK - Burning in Stockholm
+ EARL HOWARD - Strong Force
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