Coming across a jazz trio with an identity of its own can be a rare thing, but once it happens, something instantly grabs you and you understand it right away. Espen Eriksen Trio is a perfect example of such bands, coming from Norway. After making their debut in 2010 with “You Had Me At Goodbye”, the piano trio returns with its second album entitled as “What Took You So Long”. Unlike other contemporary jazz releases, the fact that there are shorter tunes here, often related to pop structure, makes it stand out. It’s music that could be played at a bar as much as it could be played at home. It’s no wonder that Eriksen’s musical background is varied, ranging from pop to jazz and the church organ, along with Lars Tormod Jenset’s and Andreas Bye’s, the other two members that contributed to the creation of this beautiful release.
A glamorous take on modern jazz music, “What Took You So Long” does more than just provide enough space for relaxation and enjoyment. As time passes by, all you want to do is sit and go through the entire record all over again, focusing on melody and flow, since building a powerful track progression is one thing that the Espen Erikson Trio seem to be special at. In times keeping things at a certain rhythm and then gradually slowing down, as the album reaches “We Don’t Need Another Hero” (originally by Britten and Lyle) with its blissful melodies, happiness can be found even in sad nostalgic themes. Bringing out a sense of optimism, those ten lyrical instrumental tracks can be heard almost at any place and still not sound the same. Aiming for the soul, they don’t quite share their unique identity. You have to get into them in a sense of appreciation to see what they have to offer: a different outlook and perspective on whatever it is that surrounds you, a blissful sonic dream.