Helsinki Songs is the eight ECM album as a leader or co-leader for Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim, with most of the compositions written during a recent lengthy stay in the Finnish capital. Once back in Oslo, Seim put the songs together in the Rainbow studio with the help of bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Markku Ounaskari plus pianist Kristjan Randalu. A gorgeous and wonderful listen, Helsinki Songs is at times bright & uplifting, at others more tranquil & introspective, the melodies from Seim and Randalu just pouring out from the heart, with the rhythm section holding things together nicely.
"Sol's Song" kicks things off in exemplary fashion, charming melodies just sweeping the listener away like a cool summer breeze, while the more solemn title track offers up hazy atmosphere thanks to some alluring sax lines from the leader. "New Beginning" follows suit, a brooding number featuring some poignant melodies from Seim, which leads into the majestic "Ciaccona Per Embrik", a piece highlighted by some magnificent piano passages from Randalu. Other noteworthy tracks include the dreamy "Nocturne", the playful interplay of "Randalusian Folk Song", and the almost free-jazz of the manic closer "Yes Please Both", the latter letting the rhythm team get some fiery solos in.
Though a bit laid back at times, Helsinki Songs offers up some exceptional melodies and a 'warmth' that you don't always hear on some jazz releases. Well written and tastefully performed, Trygve Seim and his bandmates have done a fine job on Helsinki Songs, another winner from the folks at ECM Records.
01 Sol's Song
02 Helsinki Song
03 New Beginning
04 Ciaccona Per Embrik
05 Birthday Song (For Mats Eilerts)
06 Sorrow March
08 Randalusian Folk Song
09 Katya's Dream
10 Morning Song (Dedicated To Jimm)
11 Yes Please Both