Innovations are often set in time frames of decades, yet there are still enough people who write and post letters, talk on the telephone, and appreciate an acoustic piano trio. Walter Lang uses the latter when he readies himself for his switch-over to the new decade. The changes in his piano trios that seem to occur about every ten years are more of a coincidence. Nevertheless, these changes mark radical realignments in the pianist’s artistic goals. His liaison with the Belgian bass player Nicolas Thys and the American drummer Rick Hollander lasted through most of the first decade of this new Millenium. Then followed the “trio of the second decade” with Swedish bassist Thomas Markusson and Berliner Sebastian Merk on drums. This formation left its mark on the music world through its countless concerts around the globe. Lang-Markusson-Merk’s music is immortalized on four albums, „Starlight Reflections“, „Moonlight Echoes“, „Full Circle“, and „Translucent Red“. They were all released by the Japanese label „Atelier Sawano“ and are therefore difficult to obtain. „It’s a shame,“ says Walter Lang, since many of the compositions made with the trio from this second decade are among this Munich native’s favorite pieces.
Essentially, the pieces that his trio plays are Lang’s own. There are no cover versions and few standards. Nevertheless, Lang never sees himself as the hierarchical leader in this musical community – especially when it comes to his current group. Thomas Markusson continues on bass, and, as of December 2018, drummer Magnus Öström of the legendary Esbjörn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.) has taken the seat behind the drum set. A win? More than that! Öström manages something that few percussionists are able to accomplish; with his unmistakable playing style, he leaves his musical mark on every band, igniting his partners so that they shine a little brighter by his side. A team player of the highest order, “A super amiable person with great people skills, a fantastic musician”, as Walter Lang puts it. “When I asked him in December 2018 if he wanted to join us, he immediately said yes. I sent him all our CDs. He memorized all of the music, using Sebastian’s drumming as his guideline. “
In the meantime, Öström has set his own benchmarks within the trio. Emphatic, attentive, he plays mostly with brushes, rarely grabbing the sticks and staying clear of electronic gimmicks. Because „it is simply great to play with him“, and because Lang was very interested in how the old songs from the previous decade would sound in this new trio, „Tens“ has become a kind of remolded best-of album. Twelve tracks on which a pianist, a bassist and a drummer literally come together to form a tried and tested equilateral triangle, play with each other, listen to each other, react spontaneously. Walter Lang, Thomas Markusson and Magnus Öström – three musicians who possess everything that makes the piano trio stand out as a classic formation: a pianist whose play speaks and sings, tells stories full of beauty, authenticity and excitement, a bassist who sets the perfect mood, and a drummer who conveys absolute security so that everything moves in the right direction.
Walter Lang’s “Twenties Trio” is something special, something both timeless and contemporary, something that, by all means, you will want to cherish, set aside, and save. Like a handwritten letter.
The Beginning and the End 00:05:25
Little Brother 00:07:24
Meditation in F Mi 00:05:55
Snow Castle 00:05:54
Misty Mountains 00:05:02
No Moon Night 00:08:37
Kansas Skies 00:05:24
I Wonder Prelude 00:02:27
I Wonder 00:05:38
When the Day Is Done 00:05:07