Shifting waves of jazz fusion on the Anders Helmerson Trio’s ‘iScherzo’

Anders Helmerson is keen to relate his latest arrangement – iScherzo – to futurism, noting, “My music is conceived in an iworld”. I can see the comparison with its speed and momentum, but I’ve always considered that form too angular and abrasive to feel comfortable relating it to this piece.

Bold piano runs paint broad strokes across the canvas, as a grand picture takes shape from these three base elements. Admittedly, the colour runs a little outside the lines, but that’s alright. For, Anders stretches but never snaps – moments of near-madness on the improvisations always right their course back to the delightful, recurring, ‘la-di-dah melody.

Lukaz Chyla’s walking bass grooves go on a similar roundabout journey. He sometimes disappears from view, but even in those moments, you can still make out the muddy rumbling under the radar. His always-progressing strumming fills in the foreground as Anders does the sky.

If they are our painters, then drummer Juan Meija is our frame – sturdy and reliable. He rides the crashes a little too much for my liking, but all of his strikes hit clean and with cause. His comfort in moving around the kit also aids this track’s graceful forward momentum.

They create a beautiful sound, which while shifting and complex, never causes stress. It’s incredible that this elaborate and elegant arrangement could be performed remotely, as seen in the music video.

The arrangement of drums, keys and bass, played intensely (with moves from outside the jazz playbook), makes a comparison to BADBADNOTGOOD necessary – especially to their 2014 offering ‘III’. But the constant progression and honed performance lets the Anders Helmerson Trio stand on its own merits. I look forward to more.

iScherzo is the first single from the coming LP ‘Opus i’. To hear more from the trio, follow them at the links below:

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Words by Nathan Makalena