Reviews Hamar Trio

Not writing does not mean I’m not hearing anything new. Yes, I did, but any record pulled me to write and the words decided not to flow.

I decided to focus on this last “batch” of Clean Feed and there is no escape from the Hamar Trio. Hernâni plays there. He is one of the bass players whose work I like to follow, and it was exactly with this one that I decided to start.
Klaus’s record with the Ballrogg (Abaft the Beam – Clean Feed 2017) only whet my curiosity to realize what the Hamar Trio was going to show us in Yesterday is Here. And because the eyes also eat …

This cover is one of my favourite from the label. Reminds me a possible version of the book “Three Men on a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome.
For those who did not read it, you should put this book in your books to read on the next holidays. It has a great humor and is one of those books that, unfortunately, are unnoticed in the bookstores.

Coming back to the record …
What happens when Klaus Holm, Hernâni Faustino and Nuno Mourão come together? A really good album! Of course!

Long tracks, deep breaths and subtle notes. These are the perfect ingredients for what these three musicians propose to create. We slowly step into this album with Yellow Plum. Sounds like the first experience among the three. It’s the moment they are getting to know each other and the confidence for great conversations is about to emerge. It’s almost like any of us on a first date. We begin by speaking little, the essential, until the conversation flows without anxiety or hesitation. And this is where you listen or you give up listening.
My first date with this record is being seductive.

When you gain confidence you are already in Sjøorm. Klaus is the key point of the whole track but you can not escape from the drums of Nuno Mourão. He grabs you, plays with your ears and pulls for you in a very stimulating conversation full of little refinements in which the double bass fills the space with a genius subtlety.

The sun is almost set and she is out of breath. 

Her naked feet touch the snow 

by the house with a view to the lake.

This could be the beginning of the tale that the Hamar Trio makes me want to write! The desire to put the sound environments into words. A perfect record to be a tremendous soundtrack.

And you quickly enter the thirteen minutes and thirty-two seconds of Sour apple. The music that doesn’t need comments and that can be illustrated like this:

Step by step, in a forest at dusk,

the shadow of a slim silhouette runs 

frantically through the footpaths in 

the midst of bushes bent by the wind. 

She laid down and let herself fall asleep

between the moonlight and the sweat 

running down her chest. 

It is now two o’clock and I’m listening Yesterday is Here. It is the well deserved end for a wonderful record that completely fills me. The music breathes and leaves us in suspense, so many times, until the next note. Second by second the breath of Klaus holds us and what may sound a little, after all is enormous and fills us with curiosity in the search for another and another detail that can go unnoticed.

I would end my tale like this:

– Yesterday is Here – she muttered 

while taking off her red dress 

to the sound of the doublebass

strings reverberating.I hope to follow closely the work of Hamar Trio!

Margarida Azevedo Dizsonâncias 



The Hamar Trio consists of Klaus Ellerhusen Holm on clarinet and alto saxophone, Hernani Faustino on bass and Nuno Morao on drums and percussion. The music was recorded in November 2016 in Portugal and begins with “Yellow Plum,” which opens the album with spare reed sounds, and barely heard percussion using feathering brushes, clarinet and long tones of bowed bass. They create an uncomfortable, unsettling sound collage, one that grows louder, coalescing into a collective improvisation as clarinet and bowed bass undulate in constant motion, leading into a quiet middle of abstract improvisation. It’s a complex, tight act of spontaneous creation, growing gradually louder with sweeping clarinet and their loud/soft, light/dark dynamic setting the pace for the album. A deep and raw toned alto saxophone leads “Sjoorm” with taut bass in music that flexes its muscles and circulates well rhythmically, rough hewn and powerful, moving to a robust free improvisation, gaining momentum and spinning with centripetal force, open and unencumbered and playing with great enthusiasm. Gales of saxophone alternating with long alarming tones of sound and earthy plucked bass are met with incisive drumming carry them to the outer edge of improvisation and the conclusion of the performance. “Sour Apple” also uses long tones of saxophone rolling out over crisply played cymbals and rumbling drums invoking a mysterious feeling as the bass bounds along. The saxophone breaks out a little more clearly, playing an unaccompanied section, sounding naked and unadorned, and emotionally free, before the bass and drums crash back in driving the music faster and louder into an exciting free improvisation with covers an impressive length of time in a performance that is filled with great enthusiasm and eagerness, gradually downshifting in intensity, coalescing around a tight drum pattern for the closing. Unexpected sounds varying in pitch and strength give “Yesterday is Here” it’s ailen soundscape, sounding unsettled, urgent and stressed. The percussive brushes paint shifting and shuffling layers while the saxophone emits a piercing, arcing sound that is almost painful to hear. They have become sound scientists, looking to see how far they can manipulate their instruments, seeking inner and outer space, juxtaposing silence with harrowing vibrations. They create strange and fascinating results, one gets the feeling that Sun Ra would be proud. Give them credit: their music is powerful and bracing stuff. Tim Niland

Music and More




“Yesterday Is Here” is a new release of “Clean Feed Records”. Album was recorded by “Hamar Trio”. It’s three great jazz masters – Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (clarinet, alto saxophone), Hernâni Faustino (double bass) and Nuno Morão (drums, percussion). “Hamar Trio” connects the innovative and modern tendencies of Norwegian and Portugal avant-garde jazz scene. Three musicians are the innovators of avant-garde jazz – they are searching for experimental ways of playing, produce weird and outrageous timbres and colorful expressions. The music is modern, bright, evocative and tremendous. The traditions, famous jazz themes, the roots of 1960’s and 1970’s avant-garde jazz are connected with music of famous jazz stars and original compositions by “Hamar Trio”. The improvisations are spontaneous and live – it’s changing all the time, obtains new colors, themes and sounds. Musicians like to experiment in all cases of musical language – that’s how they create interesting and bright sound.

“Yesterday Is Here” is energetic, wild and dynamic set of compositions. Album is based on free jazz and various styles of it. Free improvisations, fascinating musical experiments, searches of unusual musical decisions and weird timbres, the innovations in instrumentation’s section – that’s the main base of this album. The music is bright, evocative, vivid and warm. Compositions have bright and difficult musical language. Colorful, multi-layed and abstract musical pattern is consisted from dozens of different elements. The original compositions by trio musicians are connected with the excerpts or citations from the famous themes of Derek Bailey or other great jazz stars. The excerpts from the most famous themes are variated, modified and changed – the paraphrases of these themes are integrated in main musical pattern. That brought original, colorful and expressive sound to the album. Musicians are the masters of their art. They are improvising freely, wild and charming – improvisations are filled with bright. viragious, rolling and passionate bursts of energy. Millions of rhythms and rhythmic series, repetitive beats, sharp and colorful harmony, unusual timbres, experimental ways of playing, bordering dynamics, silmunateous connections of moods and tempos – all these elements are used very frequently in this album. The musicians improvising in the spot – just small part of their music is arranged before the concert. That creates an impression of emotional, bright, expressive, unpredictable and colorful sound. Musicians get through different moods and playing manners without any force – vivacious passages gently fit with slow and subtle excerpts, luminous and roaring blow outs or sweet, light and romantic pieces. After harsh and aggressive repetitive rhythmic or harmonic series there comes soft, relaxing and dreamy mood. All these changes are made in natural and warm manner, without forces or hard attacks. The musicians manage to create dozens of different pieces and episodes. Each of them is different from the others, but musicians get them all together in one place. The music is composed and constructed by principe of colliage, when contrasting episodes are played at the same time and are joined in one musical pattern. Roaring and sparkling blow outs, expressive solos, vibrant and tremendous sparkls of energy, passionate and light glissando, enchanting passages contain the main part of clarinet and saxophone improvisations. Klaus Ellerhusen Holm fuses together his own ideas, new point of view and the newest innovations of Norwegian avant-garde jazz scene. Scandinavian minimalism, ascetism, modernism and post-minimalism are fused with expressive, moving and scandalous improvisations. Hernâni Faustino’s double bass contain the main part of background, harmonic and rhythmic pattern. It beautifies the melodic line, who is leaded by reeds. Exotic rhythms, ethnic elements of traditional Portugal music, excerpts from the famous avant-garde jazz themes, charming and vibrant solos, sparkling and scandalous culminations or subtle, slow and abstract pieces are gently joined together in one place. Nuno Morão is a leader of drums section. He manages to create vibrant, tremendous, modern and dynamic rhythmic section. It’s independent from the other sections and has an attaching, bright, energetic and sparkling sound. Sharp and aggressive modern jazz rhythms, bright drum rolls, loud culminations, terrific and turbulent scandals, sweet and soft pieces or free, wild and tremendous improvisations – everything has its own place in his improvisations. The drums section is gorgeously illustrated by colorful percussion. The music of this album joins together Portugal, Norwegian, European and American avant-garde jazz and its traditions, the newest innovations and three original, great and impressive jazz masters. Together they create interesting, evocative and passionate sound. Avatscena



Så er vi over i et nytt år, og vi starter like godt opp med en plate med en trio som har fått navn etter min fødeby. Hamar Trio består av den norske klarinettisten og saksofonisten Klaus Ellerhusen Holm, bassisten Hernãni Faustino og trommeslageren og perkusjonisten Nuno Morão, innspilt i Salão Brazil i Coimbra i november 2016.

Ellerhusen Holm kjenner mange fra flere konstellasjoner, blant annet med trioen Honest John, Ballrogg og med Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit. Han er en nesten unik tekniker på instrumentet, og leverer alltid originale vrier i sitt spill både på klarinett og saksofon.

Faustino startet sin karriere4 som bassist i rockeband, men har etter hvert glidd over i jazzen, og er i dag en av de sterkeste bass-stemmene innenfor den Portugisiske jazzen, blant annet i samarbeid med saksofonisten Rodrigo Amado, mens Nuno Morão, også fra Portugal, har spilt og spiller med en rekke band i hjemlandet innenfor den friere delen av jazzen.

Sammen har de laget en ettertenksom plate i det frie landskapet. Vi får fire spor, hvor alt er «kommet på» der og da. En kunst det bare er å beundre at noen får til å fungere. Her «snakker» de sammen på dannet vis, noe annet hadde vel egentlig forundret meg så lenge Ellerhusen Holm deltar i samtalen. De lar alle de tre stemmene slippe til, og vi unngår de opphetede og heftige diskusjonene hvor alle skal snakke i munnen på hverandre. Og der de gjør det, er det med respekt for hverandre og man lar alle snakke ut.

Musikken er fabulerende og innimellom litt svevende, med Ellerhusen Holm som «møteleder» og den som i flere av sporene kommer med ideene og hvilken retning «samtalen» skal ta. Og om han spiller klarinett eller altsaksofon, oppfører han seg som en dannet mann. Han leder an, men lar hele tiden Faistino og Morão få komme med sine oppfatninger.

«Yesterday is Here» er derfor blitt nærmest «et mønsterbruk» innenfor fritt improvisert musikk, hvor det de framfører nesten kan regnes inn under kammerjazzen, og hadde Jimmy Giuffre levd i dag, har jeg en mistanke om at det er i dette musikalske landskapet han hadde befunnet seg.

En plate det er deilig å åpne det nye året med, og et godt alternativ til nyttårskonserten fra Wien og hopprennet fra Garmish Partenkirchen.

Jan Granlie


Portugalsko-norweskie Hamar Trio prezentuje energiczny, dziki i dynamiczny jazz, który rozsadza nasze wyobrażenie o free-jazzowej muzyce. Porywające improwizacje, fascynujące muzyczne eksperymenty, dążność do nieoczywistych muzycznych rozwiązań, instrumentacyjne innowacje – to polistylistyczny fundament tego albumu. Ale nie mogło być inaczej, bowiem trójka muzyków tworzących Hamar Trio, od ponad dekady nieustannie nas zaskakuje. Norweski klarnecista i saksofonista Klaus Ellerhusen Holm to współtwórca Honest John, Ballrogg, członek Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra i Arild Andersen Sekstett. Portugalski kontrabasista Hernâni Faustino jest jednym z filarów europejskiej awangardy, współtworzy słynne RED trio, współpracuje z Nate’m Wooley’em, Lotte Anker, Jonem Irabagonem, Carlosem Zíngaro, Luísem Vicente, Rodrigo Amado. Skład uzupełnia portugalski drummer Nuno Morao, który współtworzy kameralistyczny zespół The Selva.

Muzycy Hamar Trio z niebezpiecznie wielu składników lepią bardzo sugestywną, żywą i ciepłą muzyczną opowieść, w której gatunkowy kompas, co rusz dostaje szału. Muzycy są mistrzami wolnej formy, choć nawiązania do dorobku choćby Dereka Bailey’a są wyraźne. Improwizują swobodnie, są nieprzewidywalni i zarazem czarujący – ich improwizacje są pełne przejrzystości, pozbawione hałaśliwego bałaganu. Egzotyczne rytmy, etniczne nawiązania do tradycyjnej muzyki portugalskiej, fragmenty słynnych awangardowych tematów jazzowych zostały wplecione w porywającą całość. Miliony rytmów tworzących zaskakujące rytmiczne sekwencje, ostra i wielobarwna harmonia, sonorystyczne olśnienia, wielka kompetencja w tworzeniu awangardowego superdania łączącego zmienne nastroje i tempa. Mariusz Zawislak 




A beautiful album by Hernâni Faustino with Hamar Trio, recorded at Salao Brazil in Coimbra. They play four medium length track, starting with an amazing 15 minutes long “Yellow Plum”, an abstract free minimal improvisation with plenty of alternative sounds created by the clarinet of Klaus Ellerhusen, and the stunningly delicate work of the section. A perfect example of “kind free” jazz, recalling associations with the best of Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp, or Francois Carrier and Michel Lambert. Hernâni’s bowing throws the listeners on their knees. On “Sjoorm” Klaus Ellerhusen turns to alto and leads 9 minutes of extraterrestrial delight, again underlined by the amazing woirk of the section. The second part has a ore traditional structure with a kind of walking bass, reminding me of some compositions of Ornette Coleman. “Sour Apple” is the highlight for me: a nearly 14 minutes long free improvised ballad, with partially melancholic and partially dramatic mood. Klaus starts on clarinet again, while the section provides a rhythmic structure that could be termed free jazz bolero. At some moment Klaus turns to alto and plays a beautiful solo cadenza. After it the moods and tempo change: the track becomes quite rapid and very dramatic.Hernâni starts bowing and the tranquil mood returns, transforming into another free jazz bolero. Wonderful stuff!!! Finally, the closing “Yesterday is Here” — over six minutes of complex meditation for clarinet, bowed double bass and percussion. A masterpiece of extremely subtle use of means to achieve extremely unbelievable results. Great album!!!\\  Maciej Lewenstein