By Martin Longley | Published June 2022
The Norwegian keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft has lately been most visible as a member of the Rymden trio. He’s recorded this solo album in his own studio, Buggesroom, and released it on his long-running Jazzland label, which is now celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Be Am exudes a shining aura of solitary meditation, as Wesseltoft moves between acoustic piano and a toned-down Fender Rhodes. When he adds electronic effects, they are subtly whispering. Wesseltoft’s more powerfully noisy keyboards are left locked up. Even with Rhodes and sonic trimmings, the central aura remains acoustic in nature. These are short reveries, mostly with simple one-word titles, slow anthems, quietly navigated.
Wesseltoft is softly lyrical, emotional in content, sometimes sharing the hymnal concerns of fellow Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen. He’s not so much soloing as methodically discovering the heart of his melodies, savoring them without too much diversion. Perhaps we can hear the sound of Wesseltoft’s chair? Or was that the exposed innards of his veteran Rhodes, creaking?
Tenor saxophonist Håkon Kornstad dropped around to play on a couple of tunes, although it’s really one piece, split into two tracks. Wesseltoft adds kalimba thumb-piano to “life,” one of the album’s most evocative works, which also features piano, birdsong and softly crunched small percussion.
Other strong tunes arrive in the shape of “messenger” and “green,” as Wesseltoft dwells deeply on both miniatures.
Be Am: Resonate; Tide; State; Emerging; Roads; Messenger; Green; Be Am; Life; Gonna Be OK; Deeper; Sunbeams Through Leaves Softly Rustling. (38:20)
Personnel: Bugge Wesseltoft, piano, Fender Rhodes, kalimba, electronics; Håkon Kornstad, tenor saxophone (4, 5).
Ordering Info: jazzlandrec.com