"Puls" internett magazine: 19th of September, 2001

Rob Waring Trio: Synchronize Your Watches

In the late '80s, a unique trio appeared here in Norway, led by the American-Norwegian vibraphonist Rob Waring. The trio released the CD "Secret Red Thread" in 1992 and has, for some (not particularly logical) reason, waited until now to release their next one.

Rob Waring has lived in Norway for almost half of his 45-year life. He spent the first approximately 25 years in New York, where he received his education and developed into a most promising jazz vibraphonist and classical percussionist. Since settling in Norway in 1981, Waring has been an important contributor to a number of significant musical collaborations - primarily on the boarderline between jazz and contemporary classical music, but also, among other things, involving Norwegian folk music, and modern dance.

The Rob Waring Trio was formed in 1987 and, together with bassist Carl Morten Iversen and drummer Frank Jakobsen, Waring has renewed this collaboration at irregular intervals. As was the case with their previous CD, the music we meet here is unique and original.  Improvisation is the central element throughout, but in addition to an almost traditional jazz approach, contemporary classical music is an obvious source of inspiration this time too. The trio pays visits to musical spaces that can be characterized as free or fairly open landscapes, but also spaces that are rhythmically strict, and it is clear that they are comfortable wherever they travel - both with the music and with each other.

Waring has composed most of the music, but he has also received excellent assistance in this area from Jon Balke, who has written three of the tunes. The music is full of beautiful moods, and the trio is incredibly adept at employing dynamical effects. The only reservation I have in relation to the music is that it has a tendency to become static at times.

The vocalist Solveig Slettahjell joins them on four of the pieces, one with lyrics by Sidsel Endresen, the others wordless melodic wanderings/ inprovisations. Norway now has, with Slettahjell, a new vocal talent of enormous scope. When she delivers Endresens lyrics, it is not difficult to hear that the author/ singer has been and is an important source of inspiration. But that fact must never be held against someone who is searching for something personal.

Slettahjell's English pronounciation and diction are perfect, both in singing and recitation. At this stage, she does not manage to engage my interest to quite the same degree when the vocal expression is wordless, but nevertheless, Solveig Slettahjell is a vocalist and musician we both can and must expect much from in the future.

The Rob Waring Trio is a good example of the signicance of continuity, also for improvising musicians. These are musicians who know each other extremely well, and who know exactly how to move both the music and each other. The Rob Waring Trio represents a powerful expression and a unique sound.

Tor Hammerø