Espen Eriksen Trio with Andy Sheppard – Perfectly Unhappy

Album (Brief) | Rune Grammofon | By Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

This aptly titled fourth outing from the Norwegian trio presents a paradoxically melancholic yet blissful set of piano-based, saxophone-led originals. Whilst Lars Tormod Jenset and Andreas Bye lay their delicate and creamy bass/drum bedding, Eriksen gives the album its shimmer with his wonderfully measured yet effervescent piano as renowned guest Andy Sheppard weaves in some delightfully impassioned threads on sax. Highlights include the wonderfully evocative “Suburban Folk Song” and seductive “Naked Trees”; see the penultimate track “Home”, however, for an example of how a jazz foursome can reach a place of emotional intensity whilst remaining thoughtfully restrained.