Taking its inspiration from Scandinavian landscapes, Stefan Orins’s pieces mix harmony, density and energy. Behind the pianist’s tunes, which indicate paths to follow rather than compositions in the classical sense, hides a very northern sensibility which suggests the spark of life contained in every little thing. His Swedish roots provide the inspiration that give this music its sense of space and its aerial quality, reminding the listener of Keith Jarrett in the 70s, of Bobo Stenson, or of John Taylor. The group goes beyond the traditional clichés of the piano-bass-drums trio, by putting the communication between musicians at the forefront. The energy flows; spontaneity, lyricism, and simplicity are the keywords here.
“With his brother Peter Orins, who plays the drums on this album, pianist Stefan Orins is part of a group of musicians that for several years has been the driving force behind the Circum association, gathering a number of jazzmen who keep Lille as a homebase. One of the logical steps in this local investment was the creation of an elegantly-designed record label by the same name. Here joined by bass player Christophe Hache, who brings his depth of sound and his serene breath, this trio’s influences are pretty obvious if you look at the name of the first two tracks, Stenson and Ornit Ornette, even if they are not limited to those. The rest of the tracks evoke Scandinavian landscapes and foggy fjords, and reinforce our impression that the Orins brothers have been listening really closely to the ECM catalogue, and its records coming from the cold – Jarrett obviously springs to mind. Often meditative, sometimes troubled to the point of letting the storm through, with dark harmonies and enigmatic circumlocutions, oscillating between sooty light and the chromatic chaos of stormy skies (the cover is a good summary for all this), their album is made up of breathing, surprising compositions which form a coherent and sometimes convulsive universe. Enough to awaken more than plain curiosity. The trio’s cohesion and the obvious authority with which it asserts its personality mean that they have already found their place in French contemporary jazz. We wouldn’t like their regional anchor to deprive them of the opportunity of playing in other places. They absolutely deserve to be heard elsewhere.
JAZZMAN (June 2004) – Vincent Bessières