I hope that this recording is not the last we hear of this particular combination and that they reconvene for future recordings which are sure to be as excellent as this one.

Edition: EDN1229

Jasper Hoiby: double bass; Noah Stoneman: piano; Luca Caruso: drums

Recorded 2023 by Sam Crowe at SAJE Studios, London

Having returned from Copenhagen to live in London, Hoiby has seems to have imbibed some of the bustle of the metropolis and gathered around himself a trio of like-minded musicians. Hoiby has certainly found two shining lights to ignite this trio. Stoneman relishes the space that the trio affords him and creates a dizzying flow of powerful chords and scintillating arpeggios without ever losing the strong sense of harmonic inventiveness.

That he is in his early twenties (and already recorded a debut album, on which Caruso drummed) and still studying at the Royal Academy points to a long career at the centre of the British jazz scene (and one hopes international recognition). Caruso, having already graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, has been busy making himself a fixture in the London scene and recorded with dozens of artists.

Composing duties are shared between Hoiby (4 songs), Stoneman (1 song), Caruso + Stoneman (1 song), and the trio (4 songs). The opening tune, from Caruso and Stoneman, ‘Undaunted’, is a (very) short, spirited scuttle up and down the keyboard with rat-a-tat drums providing cross-rhythms.

This segues into the title track, written by Hoiby, which intertwines two subtle melodies – one on piano and the other on bass –which the players continuously unravel and knit back into phrases that the drumming interprets in ways that relate as much to the harmonies as to the rhythms.

Like all great piano trios, there is a strong sense of each player and each instrument seamlessly merging into the others. Hoiby’s ability to drive tunes with a cool but robust groove is familiar from his playing with Phronesis and Planet B. In this new trio, he is responding to different invitations.

So, while Earthness is itself a Planet B track (from the excellent ‘What it means to be human’ from 2022), the shift from saxophone to piano in a trio creates quite a different sense of the tune. As a title track and showcase for this Hoiby’s different trios, ‘Earthness’ stands out as one of the strongest jazz tunes of recent years.

Hoiby’s plan is to take the ‘3 Elements’ concept in other directions, with other trios. While I appreciate that this will give him opportunities to explore the potential offered by different musicians, I hope that this recording is not the last we hear of this particular combination and that they reconvene for future recordings which are sure to be as excellent as this one.