Jonas Cambien Trio

Photo credit: Johannes Andersen

‘They sound like no-one else.” * * * * / John Sharpe on

”Veteran Clean Feed roster artist Jonas Cambien (piano) and colleagues morph a cohesive yet uncanny take on jazz experimentation that defies rigid categorizations.” * * * * / Glenn Astarita on

‘We Must Mustn’t We is immediate and bracing” * * * * 1/2 / Derek Stone on

”Half the fun is learning the new musical language a pianist like Jonas Cambien is speaking.”/

Jonas Cambien – piano, compositions Andre Roligheten – soprano and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute Andreas Wildhagen – drums

The music of Jonas Cambien Trio balances seamlessly between hummable songs and free improvisation, and is at the same time simple and complex, primitive and sophisticated, beautiful and rough. 

The trio has released three critically acclaimed albums on the Portuguese label Clean Feed:

Nature Hath Painted the Body (2021)
A Zoology of the Future (2016)
We Must Mustn’t We (2018)




Listening to Jonas Cambien Trio can feel like getting a sneak peak under the hood of the music, a clear view of how the gears and levers move. At the moment, the Norwegian jazz scene is filled with inventive, small ensembles, but this band still stands apart. There’s a certain clarity about their music, musical short stories that you can experience on their two full length albums, both released on the Portuguese label Clean Feed: ‘A Zoology of the Future’ (2016) and ‘We Must Mustn’t We’ (2018). Sometimes it’s complex, other times it’s simple and catchy, like a children’s song or a riff or a pop hook. Listen, for example, to the off beat swing on “We the People”, from their debut album. Sometimes, there’s almost no improvisation, like the gorgeous “Rennaissance” off their second album. Other times, it is as if the three musicians make their separate, subtle suggestions, still fitting together as one piece.

Jonas Cambien came from classical studies in Brussel to study jazz at the Norwegian Academy of Music for over ten years ago. The meeting between contemporary classical music and jazz is still evident in the trio, as Cambiens different ideas are filtered through the different temperaments of drummer Andreas Wildhagen, known from bands such as Nakama and Paal Nilssen-Love Larg Unit, and reed player André Roligheten, known from Gard Nilssen’s Acoustic Unity and Albatrosh, among others.

The key is the way the three musicians perform their parts, sometimes as if they are oblivious of each others, other times as one big mysterious instrument. The music is cerebral, but there’s a understated lightness to it. It can be an uplifting experience – in one moment, the joy of hearing a childish melody, the next moment the relief of solving a complex musical equation, to watch it unfold, disappear and make room for new, odd moments in the world of Jonas Cambien Trio.

Text by Filip Roshauw

(courtesy of Johannes Andersen)