Per Henrik Wallin

Dolphins, Dolphins, Dolphins

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On this recording made about three years after a terrible accident, pianist Per Henrik Wallin shows he has lost none of his stamina and might even be reenergized by the presence of two younger and talented musicians, saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and drummer Kjell Nordeson. The disc is divided about equally between trios and either solos or duo combinations. While this recording is steeped in the European free improvisation canon, references to the American form abound. Often, as on the extended piano solo "J.W.," Wallin acknowledges his debt to Thelonious Monk, stride, and the blues, and he is not afraid of concluding with a rendition of the standard "I Should Care." Widely considered an heir to German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, Gustafsson does blow with ferocious intensity and abandon, but he also proves to be quite comfortable in more quiet and minimalist settings where the trio produces carefully crafted music. He makes admirable use of polyphonics, and it is a thrill to hear him roar, skronk, hiss, or hum. Although Nordeson does not get as much of the spotlight as his two cohorts, his precise drumming makes an essential contribution to a recording that has a cerebral quality appropriately balanced by emotionally charged playing. Dolphins, Dolphins, Dolphins isn't exactly easy to digest at first, but repeated and attentive listening is definitely rewarding.

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