These are three musicians breathing as one.

April Records

Arild Andersen – Double Bass; Daniel Sommer – Drums; Rob Luft – Guitar

Danish drummer Daniel Sommer leads a splendid new trio album from April Records, AS TIME PASSES. This is different from a session led by someone like Art Blakey or Buddy Rich. There are no extended noisy drum solos. Sommer, along with Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen, and English guitarist Rob Luft have crafted something sublime.

The Bill Evans Trio with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian are a worthy comparison. Both groups shared equally in ideas, the melodic dialog, compositions, and production.

Arild Andersen’s bass career started in the 1970s. He was the leader on twelve ECM Records. Wikipedia lists close to fifty albums as sideman. He has played with Don Cherry, Jan Garbarek, Bill Frisell, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, and many others. One of my favorite Arild Andersen albums is a duet he performed with Sheila Jordan in 1977.

Guitarist Rob Luft hasn’t been around as long as Andersen but his career is poised to go in the same direction. After graduating from London’s Royal Academy Of Music he won the Kenny Wheeler Music Prize. John McLaughlin judged the guitar competition at the 2016 Montreal Jazz Festival and awarded Luft second prize. There have been more awards and critics are loving his three albums as leader.

Danish drummer Daniel Sommer has been playing drums since he was five. He holds a master’s degree in music from the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and The Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Sommer also holds an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma from the Danish National Academy of Music, 2022. That’s where Andersen and Sommer first met. They brought Luft into the trio after Andersen heard him play in Ireland and Norway.

The title track, Luft’s ‘As Time Passes,’ is stunning. Beautiful organic guitar phrases repeat, morph, and drift off. They intertwine with Sommer’s brushwork on the snare and cymbal. ‘As Time Passes’ is dreamy, spacey. Andersen’s bass is tender and melodic. Later he plays these heavy sustained notes. It’s like he’s trying to stop the music from floating off into the ether.

Luft said he likes to create a wide stereo image, so he uses different delays and reverbs. He uses two guitar amps with a pedal setup that runs in stereo. His main instrument was a Gibson ES-175 but for the overdubbing he used different acoustic guitars with both steel and nylon strings.

Sommer uses brushes a lot on AS TIME PASSES but on ‘Ea’ he’s using sticks. He’s got such a delicate touch. He told me he’s not interested in playing long flashy drum solos. He is more interested in the interplay, the empathic communication, and creating music as a band together.

Andersen plays a beautiful intro on ‘Evening Song.’ I love what Sommer does with brushes on this. The sound Luft makes out of his guitar reminded me of Hank Marvin, from the Shadows. Luft somehow gets that clean, twangy, vintage Stratocaster sound out of his Gibson.

Sommer’s brushes shuffle and snap on ’North Wind.’ Luft’s guitar shimmers. Sommer switches to sticks. He is meticulous in his timing, rhythm, and dynamics. Andersen can make a double bass sing. He’ll play clusters of notes and pounce on one, making the whole bass resonate. The drums are playing off what the guitar and bass are doing. These are three musicians breathing as one.

AS TIME PASSES is the first of Sommer’s planned Nordic trilogy on April Records. The next album is a free improvised electric/acoustic album with Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen and the Swedish bass player Johannes Lundberg. The third is a piano trio album with the Finnish piano player Artturi Ronka and the Swedish bass player Thommy Andersson.

We have some wonderful music to look forward to.