Trygve Seim – Rumi Songs


Like pianist Tord Gustavsen, saxophonist Trygve Seim is working with Sufi poetry and with a singer, and the results are similarly successful though very different in their sound and style.

Seim – a very active player within the ECM stable, especially of late as he is on no fewer than four of the label’s newest releases – has always been precise and particularly eloquent in the atmosphere he creates, and with this album he refines that beautifully.

Trygve Seim

Trygve Seim

The mix of timbres is distinctive – the leader’s tenor and soprano saxophones fully integrated with Tora Augestad’s vocals, Frode Haltli’s accordion and Svante Henryson’s ‘cello. The absence of percussion, the combination of three instruments in a similar tenor range, the soaring mezzo-soprano skating over their  surfaces, all go towards providing a mellifluous path through the ten pieces, only one of them an instrumental.

The words are all in English, Seim using 20th-century U.S. poet Coleman Barks’s translations of the 13th-century Persian theologian/mystic’s poems, and they feel timeless and immediate: “When I see your Face, the stones start spinning!” or “You dance inside my chest” – these could be taken from modern pop songs (well, almost). And how about “This being human is a guest house/Every morning a new arrival”? Such an intriguing image!

There is a modesty, a plain beauty to both Seim’s music and its performance here. It’s concise, any decoration feels crucial, never indulgent, it’s full of air and room to think. It’s direct and to the point. And simply gorgeous.

  • For an eloquent and insightful piece about this album and Seim’s style, read Richard Williams on his blog The Blue Moment – it’s HERE.

Categories: CD review

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