One of the pleasures of Mathias Eick’s Midwest album was hearing his vaulting trumpet supported by violin, an instrumental combination further developed on Ravensburg. The new violinist in Eick’s ensemble is Håkon Aase, one of the up-and-coming players of the new Norwegian scene, whom attentive ECM listeners will already know from his work with Thomas Strønen’s group. The core Eick road band is further shored up by the addition of Helge Andreas Norbakken, who interacts excitingly with fellow drummer Torstein Lofthus.
Eick is in great form as a writer on this showing, deploying driving rhythm at the bottom end of his music and soaring melody at the top in this series of pieces which add up to a kind of collective family portrait. Ravensburg was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in June 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher, and is issued on the eve of European tour.