Jonas Cambien Trio

It was about time to finally hear Jonas Cambien Trio live. And where else, if not at my beloved venue in Oslo, Kafe Hærverk. This concert was a part of Improverk – concert series curated by Signe Emmeluth and Andreas Røysum. I warmly encourage you to follow their activity, as the program is always extremely interesting.

Jonas Cambien is a Belgian pianist and improviser, who moved to Oslo in 2008 to turn Norwegian’s heads completely. He has joined the forces with Norwegian jazz celebrities – Andre Roligheten (reeds) and Andreas Wildhagen (drums) and started a magnificent trio with already two successful releases on Clean Feed Records. Their music is described by the cirtics as “seamless balance between hummable songs and free improvisation, and is at the same time simple and complex, primitive and sophisticated, beautiful and rough.” Jonas’ classical traning is also to be noticed in his compositions. This trio definitely deserves your full attention.

There was something special about this concert – maybe the fact that they have played for the first time again since March, or that they have played some new tunes from the upcoming, third album… Maybe it was the fresh perspective and new variations of old tunes, mixed with the burning pleasure for playing live again.

They started with a new composition from the upcoming album, which will be released in March 2021, faithfully on their mother-label. It takes us through all the juicy stuff that Jonas Cambien Trio has to offer – from rythmic, composed parts, through free improvisation, all the way to the culminating point where each musician unfold his craftsmanship.

Then they moved on with a combination of old compositions – Creationism from the last album We Must Musn’t We (2018), together with Frosk (which means a frog in Norwegian) from first album A Zoology of the Future (2016), extended by a unique drum solo. This faded into the track, which on the setlist is called Stulen, but the original I recognized in it is I Must Musn’t I.

And then, the master of the reeds, Andre Roligheten gave us a tingly solo on clarinet which made a perfect intro to another new tune from the upcoming album, called Rex. Jonas send it to me a couple of weeks before this concert, and I must admit, it just knocked me out after the first listen – I have been playing it all over again since. Here’s a short clip from this spectacular tune:

Rex keeps up the dynamic from the beginning to end, which makes it a little bit different than other compositions from this trio. It still invites the listener to enter the magical world of Jonas’ compositions and see through the language that the trio speaks. After the solo is over, Jonas starts playing dynamically in the background, perfectly melting into the last tunes of the clarinet, which then introduces main melody that escalates throughout the tune. The drums reminds me of a horse canter. And there is this one moment, when Andreas adds a pulse with the bass drum, beating up faster and faster, turning into a gallop. Tempo speeds up, and it makes you wanna dance and hum along delightedly. This kind of track could make a soundtrack of your life – we all know this feeling of galloping through life and making the impossible, possible. Rex truly sparks the inner fire in me that makes me wanna prove myself and the whole world – everything will be fine and you will kick ass, no matter what.

The 55-minute performance was not only longed-for by the band. If you could hear the reactions of the audience, you would realize that they missed hearing this trio live. When they played, everybody listened with a curiosity and a shiny spark in their eyes, analizing every part of the performance and absorbing the tunes. But when they stopped playing, the audience went crazy and shouted, clapped and begged for more!

Drawing by one and only Fredrick Arnøy

I couldn’t let Andre out of the venue without recording This Is series, so as we stood by the piano, guys got a quick lesson in Polish and we recorded a nice introduction for Wschodnie Triady radio program. After couple of beers, they remembered a few extra words they learend in Polish and showed off theirs skills again to the mic. Check out this uncensored version of This is: Jonas Cambien Trio right HERE.

The short story of, wrong and silly setlist.

When I asked Jonas to take a picture of the setlist, he started making up reasons for not letting me to actually take the picture – “I had made up some of the titles, some of them are not real, but we like to be silly and change them. You’re not gonna get much of it”. That was even better reason to take the picture, it makes it more interesting and have some fun figuring it out, I said and after a couple of hours I came back to the piano, took the picture and stole the setlist.


You can support the artists here:

We Must Musn’t We (2018)

A Zoology of the Future (2016)

Jonas Cambien Trio – website


Check out my Instagram: no.earplugs for a short video-account from this gig and many others.

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