And Then Comes The Night

Mats Eilertsen, Harmen Fraanje, Thomas Strønen

Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen has been a distinctive presence on ECM recordings by, amongst others, Tord Gustavsen, Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick, Nils Økland, Wolfert Brederode and Jakob Young and has long maintained several projects of his own, including this trio, now in its 10th year of existence. And Then Comes The Night (named after the novel by Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson), was recorded at Lugano’s Audiotorio Stelio Molo and Eilertsen, drummer Thomas Strønen, and Dutch pianist Harmen Fraanje make full use of what Mats calls the studio’s “special character and atmosphere” and the acutely-focused interplay the room encourages. “We came in with a number of compositional sketches and the intention of seeing what could be shaped from them, with Manfred Eicher’s help, in that specific space.“ The result is an album of subtle group music, sidestepping many of the conventions of trio playing, in a recording that demands and rewards concentrated listening.
Der norwegische Bassist Mats Eilertsen hat auf ECM-Alben von Musikern wie Tord Gustavsen, Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick, Nils Økland, Wolfert Brederode und Jakob Young eine markante Rolle gespielt. Zeitgleich hat er mehrere eigene Projekte entwickelt, darunter sein eigenes Trio, das nun seit 10 Jahren besteht. And Then Comes The Night (nach einem Roman des isländischen Schriftstellers Jón Kalman Stefánsson benannt) wurde im Audiotorio Stelio Molo in Lugano eingespielt, dessen – nach Eilertsens eigenen Worten – „speziellen Charakter und spezielle Atmosphäre“ er, der Schlagzeuger Thomas Strønen und der dänische Pianist Harmen Fraanje mit ihrem überaus konzentrierten Zusammenspiel restlos ausschöpfen. „Wir fingen mit einigen kompositorischen Entwürfen an, um dann zu sehen, was sich aus ihnen an einem so spezifischen Ort mit Manfred Eichers Unterstützung formen könnte.“ Das Ergebnis: ein Album voll subtiler Interaktion, das viele Konventionen des Trio-Spiels außen vor lässt – in einer Aufnahme, die konzentriertes Hören fordert und umso mehr belohnt.
Featured Artists Recorded

May 2018, Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano

Original Release Date


  • 122
    (Mats Eilertsen)
  • 2Perpetum
    (Harmen Fraanje, Mats Eilertsen, Thomas Strønen)
  • 3Albatross
    (Harmen Fraanje)
  • 4After The Rain
    (Harmen Fraanje, Mats Eilertsen)
  • 5The Void
    (Mats Eilertsen)
  • 6Solace
    (Harmen Fraanje, Mats Eilertsen)
  • 7Sirens
    (Mats Eilertsen)
  • 8Then Comes The Night
    (Harmen Fraanje, Mats Eilertsen, Thomas Strønen)
  • 9Soften
    (Harmen Fraanje)
  • 1022 (var.)
    (Mats Eilertsen)
Mats Eilertsen Trio’s ‘And Then Comes the Night’ […] displays the classic ECM sound, chilly yet enticing in that brooding Scandinavian manner. […]  ‘There is almost no theme-solo-theme playing on this album,’ Eilertsen notes. ‘It’s more like a river or whirlpool of moods that carries you with it.’ That seems spot on, the tight little ensemble indeed rolls along loosely, calm like a river.
Paddy Kehoe, RTÉ Entertainment
On their first offering for ECM as a trio, ‘And Then Comes The Night’, stalwart label mates: bassist/leader/composer Mats Eilertsen, drummer Thomas Strønen, and ethereal pianist Harmen Fraanje deftly create a sustained work of near impossible beauty and sublime human interaction. With evanescent shifts of time, shaded harmony and tone, Eilertsen—his nuanced writing highlighted on the acutely hailed ‘Rubicon’ (ECM, 2016)—the bassist boldly strips down from septet to a trio, resulting in a music more expansive, more revelatory upon each successive listen.
Mike Jurkovic, All About Jazz
‘And then Comes the Night’ is a low-lights, tranquil affair but an appreciably warm, upbeat quality oozes from Eilertsen’s dreamily melodic originals that distinguishes his work […] from many of his Norwegian peers. […] What’s more, this group’s mutual understanding and flexibility in terms of traditional roles makes for intimate meaningful dialogue rather than mere ‘ambient’ effect.
Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise
His third LP with pianist Harmon Fraanje and drummer Thomas Strønen (Food, Time is a Blind Guide), ‘And Then Comes the Night’ does an expert job at straddling that fine line between jazz and classical music that European jazz musicians often favor and that ECM showcases so well.
Michael Toland, Blurt
Die drei Musiker haben das Album in Lugano eingespielt und dabei versucht, den speziellen Charakter und die Atmosphäre des Studios Auditorio Stelio Molo einzufangen. Das gelingt zum Beispiel ganz hervorragend in dem ruhigen Stück ‚Perpetuum‘, das zunächst alle Instrumente im Nachhall des Raumes vorstellt, bevor sich die Komposition zum Ende hin mehr und mehr verdichtet. […] Es ist erstaunlich, welche Klangfarben der Norweger seinem Baß entlockt. Die einzelnen Stücke sind abwechslungsreich, mal  eher frei assoziierend, mal ausgehend von einem eingängigen Leitmotiv (‚Albatross‘). Ein spannendes Album, das mit ein wenig Zugewandtheit des Hörers zu einer intensiven Entdeckungsreise durch Klang und Komposition wird.  
Frank Lechtenberg, HiFi-Stars
The record, which is titled after a novel by Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson, has a subtle and beautiful sound.
Kevin Johnson, No Treble
Eilertsen, Harmen Fraanje (p) et Thomas Strønen (dm) sont des artistes de recueillement et de célébration des espaces naturels qu’évoquent les titres After the Rain, Albatros, The Void… Then Comes The Night étant le moment où sinon le drame, du moins le mystère se noue.
François Marinot, Jazz Magazine
[T]here is a collective identity that permeates the entire session. […] This is a very special session, full of an extraordinary degree of empathetic playing.
Mark Sullivan, All About Jazz
On his new album ‘And Then Comes the Night’, Mats Eilertsen leads on bass, and the interplay between the trio is perfection, with equal weight given to the piano (Dutch pianist Harmen Fraanje) and the drums (Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen). Strønen’s drumming shimmers and swirls around Eilertsen’s bass and Fraanje’s piano. The interplay heard in trios like this one is a special type of telepathy—it’s the opposite of a horn player leading a rhythm section, with the horn player out front and the others just backing him or her up. […] I would compare the tone colors and improvisations to Debussy, Takemitsu, or impressionist painting. This music offers a different mental gestalt and listening experience than most jazz, by inviting you in to muse and dream. Such abstraction makes albums like this special as well as part-and-parcel of the ECM sound and musical philosophy.
Tom Schnabel, KRCW
Alles baut in diesem Klaviertrio aufeinander auf. Vieles klingt so einfach, ohne je simpel zu wirken. Da kann es passieren, dass die drei Musiker aus einem Kleinstmotiv einen regelrechten Strom entwickeln. Fortwährend bauen sie Räume, in denen die Ohren spazieren gehen können, setzen vollständig auf die innere Strahlkraft ihrer Musik. Laut wird es nie. Man mag sich fragen, wo diese Musik herkommt. Ein impressionistisches Klanggemälde? Eine romantische Invention? Natürlich führt diese Musik einen gehörigen Jazzanteil mit. Immerhin geht es wesentlich um Interaktion, die hier ohne störende Kopfhörer in einem Raum realisiert werden konnte. […] Ein solch freies Musikmachen, ein solches Ineinanderfließen hat man lange nicht gehört.
Tilman Urbach, Fono Forum
Mit seinem langjährigen Trio um den genialen Drummer Thomas Strønen und den Pianisten Harmen Fraanje gelingt es dem 43-Jährigen, einen Fluss oder einen Strudel von Stimmungen zu erzeugen, der einen unweigerlich mitreißt. Eine handfeste Überraschung – ein großer Wurf.
Reinhard Köchl, Jazzthing
Eilertsen's bass is like a breeze barely making ripples in the water. Backed by rhythmic colorings just as restrained, it leaves Harmen Fraanje's piano to take the lead with the gentlest washes and ebbs. At their loosest, the three almost let the likes of ‘The Void’ or ‘Albatross’ dissolve into empty air. Other spots let hints poke through, such as the barely-there hopefulness of the leader's subtle arco on ‘After the Rain’ (not the John Coltrane piece). Eilertsen and company are willing to follow as nature takes its course, and the trip makes a work of unpredictable and often arresting beauty.
Geno Thackara, All About Jazz
In terms of the music, one senses this tension between the everyday and looming tragedy in the haunting lightness of the tunes, particularly in Fraanje’s delicately lyrical piano playing, and something deeper and more sinister in the rhythms that Stronen subtly weaves into the pieces and Eilertsen’s rumbling bass tunes. […] Fraanje, of course, appeared on the magical album ‘Rubicon’ a couple of years ago. On this set, his playing is even more beautiful and the understanding within the trio is impeccable. You expect Stronen and Eilertsen to have a deep understanding (stretching back to their time in the late 90’s in ‘Food’, with Arve Henriksen and Iain Bellamy), but on this set all three work from what seem to be quite slight sketches and draw this into totally compelling tunes. […] This is easily going to be one of the best CDs of this year and one that I will take great delight in returning to many, many times.
Chris Baber, Jazz Views
This is just a lovely album. […] The piano trio format seems to get more and more sophisticated, and this disc is another evolution. Classically inspired, it unfolds like a dream, light and airy, the musicians creating textures more than playing songs. Nobody solos. They barely state themes. They patiently listen to one another, adding to the conversation with spare plucks, gently brushed cymbals, and barely touched keys. The songs are slow, moody, and soothing, but mostly they convey optimism rather than despair.
Steve Greenlee, Jazz Times
In 2016, the release of Mats Eilertsen’s album Rubicon gave notice of the breadth of the Norwegian bassist’s compositional range as well as his capacity to direct an ensemble of strong individual voices.  Long an important contributor to ECM recordings, and appearing on albums by Tord Gustavsen, Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick, Nils Økland, Wolfert Brederode, Jakob Young and more, Eilertsen has concurrently maintained projects of his own, including the present trio, now in its tenth year of existence.
The new album (named after the novel Summer Light, And Then Comes The Night by Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson) is the trio’s first for ECM, and follows two discs on the Hubro label.  It was recorded in May 2018 at Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo and Eilertsen, drummer Thomas Strønen, and pianist Harmen Fraanje make full use of what Mats calls the studio’s “special character and atmosphere” and the acutely-focused interplay the room seems to encourage. Mats explains: “We came in with a number of songs and compositional sketches and the intention of seeing what could be shaped from them, what could be carved out, with Manfred Eicher’s help, in that specific location.  Playing totally acoustically and without headphones, we could work with fine detail in the improvising and really give the music space to sing out in the natural reverb of the room.”
The result is an album of subtle and luminous group music, sidestepping many of the conventions of trio playing, in a recording that demands and rewards concentrated listening. “There is almost no theme-solo-theme playing on this album,” Eilertsen notes. “It’s more like a river or whirlpool of moods that carries you with it.”
The album opens and closes with variations of the sombre “22”, titled for the 22nd of July 2011, when it was composed by Eilertsen in stunned response to news of the attacks on the island of Utøya. “It wasn’t conceived as a homage,” he says quietly. “It was just what I did that day.”
Some pieces on the album are more “written” than others. “Sirens” for instance, “moves once through the written material, with Harmen, of course, having the freedom to respond to it as he chooses. He’s such a brilliant player and will discover another dimension in the material that I present to him. The same goes for Thomas’s drumming, where no parts are written.” Sensitised overlapping of deep pulses from double bass and the unpitched throb of the gran casa drum intensifies the sense of mystery at the bottom end of the music.  
“The Void” is an older Eilertsen piece, which draws an improviser into its emptiness.  “It’s a piece I’ve played for many years in many different ways. Live it can open up into total freedom….Here the piano part is very close to the way it was composed.”
Pianist Harmen Fraanje played on Mat’s Rubicon, but the association with Eilertsen goes back to 2001, when Mats was living in the Netherlands.  “I actually met Harmen in my very last week in Holland, and we played a gig together. That was the start of things.” Harmen and Mats worked for a while with Belgian drummer Teun Verbruggen, before Thomas Strønen was drafted into the line-up.  Eilertsen and Strønen already had shared history: both had studied in Trondheim, and they had played in numerous groups together.  
One early collaboration was on the debut album of the band Food, recorded in 1998: Mats played in the original incarnation of this group, alongside Strønen, Iain Ballamy and Arve Henriksen. A first shared recording on ECM was with the Strønen-led improvisational band Parish in 2004, where drummer and bassist collaborated with pianist Bobo Stenson and saxophonist and clarinettist Fredrik Ljungkvist.
Recent recordings with Mats Eilertsen include Trygve Seim’s Helsinki Songs and Mathias Eick’s Midwest.  In addition to co-leadership of Food, whose ECM albums are This Is Not A Miracle, Mercurial Balm, and Quiet Inlet, Thomas Strønen leads the ensemble Time Is A Blind Guide whose eponymously titled first album was followed in 2018 by Lucus.      
Harmen Fraanje has been hailed by All About Jazz as “one of the most impressive young European pianists” of the last decade. Active across a wide area of jazz and improvisation, he leads and co-leads several projects of his own, and has played with musicians including Ambrose Akinmusire, Mark Turner,
Kenny Wheeler, Thomas Morgan, Tony Malaby, Han Bennink, Ernst Reijseger, Theo Bleckmann, Ben Monder, Enrico Rava, Louis Moholo, Ferenc Kovács, Rudi Mahall and Trygve Seim.
And Then Comes The Night is issued as the Mats Eilertsen Trio embarks on a European tour with concerts in France, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway. Dates include Sunside Jazzclub, Paris (January 29), Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham (January 30), Unterfahrt, Munich (January 31), Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria, Oslo (February 1), Brorson Kirke, Copenhagen (February 3), Schloß Elmau, Elmau  (February 5),  Paradox, Tilburg (February 6),  Bimhuis, Amsterdam (February 7),  Vredenburg, Utrecht (February 8),  Arena, Moss (Febnrauyr 10),  and UriJazz, Tonsberg (March 20). Further plans for the next year include concerts in which the Mats Eilertsen Trio joins forces with vocal group Trio Mediaeval.  
2024 August 12 Troy Festival Çanakkale, Turkey
2024 August 14 Music Festival Gümüşlük, Turkey
2024 October 25 Toonzaal 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
2024 October 26 Bimhuis Amsterdam, Netherlands
2024 October 27 tba Feerwerd, Netherlands
2024 November 30 Nasjonal Jazzscene, Victoria Oslo, Norway
2025 January 29 tba Harderwijk, Netherlands