Per Henrik Wallin Trio - The Stockholm Tapes

Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta

I came across pianist Per Henrik Wallin's music only a few years ago. I think my first general knowledge of this Swedish pianist's existence arrived as a courtesy of his double release "Proklamation I & Farewell to Sweden" [hathut]. It was then that I discovered the rare genius and quirkiness of his style and came to appreciate this much over-looked artist.

This release concentrates in full on Wallin's earlier work, and showcases the master in top form. "The Stockholm Tapes" represents the more lyrical side of Wallin's work. He is in heavy poetic mode for at least half of this recording [which was realized in 1977]. His touch is almost gentle as he caresses the keys of the piano ever so tenderly, trying to find the perfect sound, the perfect phrase. It's the second part of the CD [recorded in 1975] that presents the real fury. Alto player Lars-Goran Ulander blows a layer of enraged lines on top of the repetitive and broken percussion beats of Peter Olsen. Wallin's approach on these tracks is very heavy handed. He tries to break through the other players' and actually lead his trio, but too often it's difficult to hear his playing. On the latter part of the CD, he's too far off in the mix to fully appreciate his approach.

Overall, "The Stockholm Tapes" serve as a crucial document for an under-recorded and original pianist.