We proudly present the ninth volume of JazzCD.no – This Is Our Music. With support from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs we introduce a diverse compilation showing the wide specter and quality of Norwegian jazz today.
This is Our Music – JazzCD.no 9h set includes tracks from the following artists (further introduction below):
Espen Berg Trio – Wako – Erlend Apneseth Trio with Frode Haltli – Moskus – JUNO – Håvard Stubø Quartet – Ensemble Denada, Torun Eriksen & Erlend Skomsvoll – Hanna Paulsberg Concept + Magnus Broo – Elephant9 – Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson – Mats Eilertsen Trio – Håkon Kornstad Trio – Hedvig Mollestad Trio – MoE/Mette Rasmussen – Skarbø Skulekorps – Ellen Andrea Wang/Rob Luft/Jon Fält – Karl Seglem – Ståle Storløkken – Daniel Herskedal – Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra – LILJA – Emmeluth’s Amoeba – Susanna & the Brotherhood of Our Lady – Bendik Giske – I Like To Sleep – Hans Mathisen – Waldemar 4 – Jan Gunnar Hoff Group feat Mike Stern
The compilation was originally intended to be launched at this year’s edition of Jazzahead, which had to be cancelled due to the ongoing corona-situation. Together with The Ministyr of Foreign Affairs the compilation will be distributed through the Norwegian embassies all over the world. The compilation is also a promotional tool in all international settings for the jazz industry, such as Jazzahead, European Jazz Network-events and international delegate programmes at various Norwegian and international festivals.
JazzCD is for promotional use only, not for sale. The first compilation was made in 2002. Volume 9 – This Is Our Music, is available from April 2020. The compilation is produced by Norsk Jazzforum in close cooperation with The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Music Norway. Editors are Line Juul, Aslak Oppebøen, Rob Young and Ragnhild Menes.
How can I get a copy?
If you are a journalist, jazz promoter, runs a festival or anything else related to the music industry, we will be happy to send you a copy the old fashioned way. Send us an e-mail at email@example.com.
NORWAY is a young nation built on old shoulders. After achieving independence in 1905 it has grown to be one of the richest and happiest countries in the world. When oilfields were discovered offshore in the 1960s, it improvised incredible technologies to extract this liquid wealth and build a strong, stable society with a well funded arts culture.
Local jazz has grown along with the country. If you believe the Scandinavian cliches, you might be expecting Arctic resonances and the crystal echoes of glaciers and mountains. But this compilation searches out a much more complex soundworld that speaks of metropolitan sophistication, technological innovation, exploratory attitudes and multicultural exchange. In Norway, jazz is no way an old man’s music. We are good at training our open minded young players – including many women – to continue the work of the pioneers. What you hear on these two discs is the Now Sound of Norway in all its glory. You will discover some of our amazing youthful jazz energy alongside more established names.
Norwegian jazz is about diversity in every sense, and increasingly open to influences from contemporary and avant garde music, rock, pop and funk, folk textures and ethnic musics from other climates. THIS IS OUR MUSIC.
Espen Berg Trio
Kestrel from the album Free To Play (Odin Records, 2019)“I wrote ‘Kestrel’ in September 2017. It’s a composition based on the exploration of the 11/16 time signature, and tri-tonic tonality. By utilizing a sophisticated grouping of the eleven 16th notes, we create the illusion of two different 4/4 beats without ever changing the tempo. This technique is inspired by Petter Eldh’s ‘Love Declared, Disaster Averted’. The title refers to the bird, and also a spaceship from a classic video game from the 90s called Escape Velocity.” – Espen Berg
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Trakterer du musikk? (feat. Arve Henriksen) from the album Wako (Øra Fonogram, 2020)
“The title means, in a funny way, ‘Can you do music?’, and that’s really what the whole tune is about – pushing the music towards breaking point. Including Broadway samples, choir and synthesizers, this track is really something special for us. When recording it we had some ideas for the production, and we knew that Arve Henriksen would sound great on it. We told him, ‘Do whatever you want.’ Arve absolutely blew our minds. ‘I just went nuts. Please remove whatever you don‘t like!’ he told Kjetil when they met by chance a few days later. Initially we had ideas of being less purist and strict aesthetically on this record, and Arve absolutely embodies that ideal with his contribution.” – Wako
Erlend Apneseth Trio with Frode Haltli
Pyramiden from the album Salika, Molika (HUBRO, 2019)“The music comes partly from a performance in an old meat factory in Bergen, while the spoken word interludes and samples come from the folk music archive in my home county of Sogn og Fjordane in the west of Norway. It is a continuation from our previous releases, using old archive recordings as inspiration, or as the basis for a new composition. These recordings, often recorded in people’s homes, are really inspiring for us because it is a way to connect with the past musically without being nostalgic or romantic. There is something so genuine and real about these voices, and we really want to lift them up and bring them out into the light.” – Erlend Apneseth
Irsk setter from the album Mirakler (HUBRO, 2018)
“The tune was made on my Mac during a train ride, in Ableton Live. The tune is inspired by Jonah Sithole & The Deep Horizone from Zimbabwe, who use guitars and amplified mbira. The music makes me happy and energetic, but also a bit melancholic. ‘Irsk Setter’ is similar. Irish setters are both crazy energetic and calm, and their eyes or expression can often be melancholic. In the town where I’m from, a lot of people have an Irish setter for hunting grouse. We recorded with a drum kit, a children’s accordion, vibraphone, double bass, grand piano, MS-10 synthesizer and hand claps. The way we made it was very spontaneous and democratic, very much like an improvised musical setting.” – Hans Hulbækmo
Mike from the album Young Star (Jazzland Recordings, 2020)
“‘Mike’ is a surrealistic story of a sad and misunderstood person in need of an escape. He finds a friendly connection with the fish in the river, and jumps in to live with them instead. Our previous songs had focused on the differences between the vocals, alternating between them, so we wanted ‘Mike’ to have a streamlined structure with the vocals synchronized with a simple repetitive riff in the double bass and saxophone. The rhythmic aspect is definitely emphasized in this song and is something we continued to explore in the studio with Kristoffer Lo adding percussion, clapping and horns.” – JUNO
Håvard Stubø Quartet
Kautokeino Undercover from the album Kautokeino Undercover (Bolage, 2020)
“After a long day of unsuccessful songwriting attempts, this tune came to me late at night, just as I was falling asleep. I got up, recorded it on my phone, and went to bed again, very happy. As I listened to the recording the next day, three things were immediately evident:
1. The song was pretty much a rip-off.
2. The tune that I had plagiarized was written by Torbjörn Zetterberg, the bass player in this band.
3. We released it on our previous album, Vilhelmina. It is the second track.
Now, Torbjörn’s original is called ‘Oslo Undercover’, so as a homage, I decided to call it ‘Kautokeino Undercover’, partly because the theme might contain some references to the Sami folk music of Arctic Scandinavia.” – Håvard Stubø
Ensemble Denada, Torun Eriksen & Erlend Skomsvoll
Compromise from the album Live in Bremen (Jazzland Recordings, 2018)
“Following the successful premiere at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in 2017, it was decided to set up a short tour featuring Torun Eriksen and arranger Erlend Skomsvoll. Before the tour, we received a call from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. We were asked if we would be interested in a live TV recording of our performance at Victoria Nasjonal jazzscene. There is only one answer to a question like that. When we got off stage after the recording, we realized that we had delivered good energy and surprisingly few screw-ups. So, at the next tour stop in Bremen’s Sendesaal, our sound engineer decided to push the red button. A copy was sent to Jazzland Recordings. And believe it or not, that’s how this live album got released.” – Anders Eriksson
Hanna Paulsberg Concept + Magnus Broo
Serianna from the album Daughter of the Sun (Odin Records, 2018)
“This song was the first song I composed after my daughter Serianna was born. So she is pretty much the reason for this joyful song. She turned out to fit the mood of this song very well – or vice versa. This song became a bit of a hassle in the studio – we ended up using take five. Sometimes we get collective hangups in the studio, but very few in this session! When I first wrote this song, I thought this is too easy and banal. But then I just didn’t care because I had not slept in three weeks and had a beautiful daughter. When we first rehearsed it, it sounded much better than I thought it would, and everybody smiled and loved it. That is a good feeling, putting a smile on your colleagues’ faces with a new song.” – Trygve Fiske
Farmer’s Secret from the album Psychedelic Backfire I (Rune Grammofon, 2019)
“This song was recorded during a four-concert live recording session at Oslo’s Kampen Bistro in January 2019. We had been talking about doing a live album for some time, and the nice sounding, intimate, medium size room at Kampen Bistro was the perfect spot to do it.
We were only using backline, no PA for these concerts! The mics were only for the recording. The raw energy of and between the band and the audience is beautifully captured by Stein Andre Hovden and mixed by Christian Engfelt. So please enjoy this full-on Elephant9 song with a little bit of honky tonk in space flavour!” – Ståle Storløkken
Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson
Grain of Sand from the album Lanzarote (HUBRO, 2019)
“‘Grain Of Sand’ is an unapologetically beautiful, heart-tugging theme which acts as a kind of requiem or threnody for the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who passed away in February 2018. Ólafur Björn Ólafsson worked closely with him for many years, right up til his death. It’s a song full of sorrow. We wrote it only days after his passing and thought it only appropriate to dedicate it to the memory of him and the impact his music had on us.” – Jo Berger Myhre
Mats Eilertsen Trio
22 from the album And Then Comes The Night (ECM Records, 2019)
“The album And Then Comes the Night opens and closes with variations of the sombre ‘22’, titled for 22 July 2011, when it was composed in stunned response to news of the attacks on the island of Utøya. It wasn’t conceived as a homage or as a description of the horrible massacre. It was just what I did that day. The music that came in that moment.” – Mats Eilertsen
Håkon Kornstad Trio
Di Tu Se Fedele from the album Im Treibhaus (Grappa, 2018)
“How can one of Verdi‘s operatic arias be called jazz? To me jazz is a way of thinking – a method rather than a specific sound. That’s why we can be inspired by Verdi and Mingus at the same time. Our ears and improvisational skills are the glue that make it all come together! Maybe Kornstad the contemporary sax player became post-contemporary!? Coltrane passed away over 50 years ago now, and the word ‘modern’ is even older. Verdi’s aria from A Masked Ball (1859) has everything it takes to catapult us into musical freedom. It’s burlesque and noir, and the last vocal line is so inspiring: ‘We have no fear!” – Håkon Kornstad
Hedvig Mollestad Trio
Beastie, Beastie from the album Smells Funny (Rune Grammofon, 2018)
“The Beastie Boys and their fantastic ‘Sabotage’ riff inspired it, and this is my version, a frenzied Beastie blues. Also the track itself is supposed to be a beast. It was the first time we recorded an album in Oslo, and the session was pretty free of stress and tension, so there was a lot of good energy. At a certain point in this song, Ellen thinks of a very specific scene from the Norwegian animated movie Flåklypa Grand Prix, where a car is driving up a mountain and over a very old wooden bridge. Whenever we play that part, she always sends me this look. It’s become a tradition. Or a ritual. I came straight out of maternity leave when I started work on this record, so I was SO ready to play again, and at the same time SO full of emotions.” – Hedvig Mollestad
Strangle, Strangle, Strangle… from the album Tolerancia Piccante (ConradSound, 2019)
“Inspiration usually comes out of heavy work and deadlines. We had booked studio time and had a lot of sketches for lyrics and music, but nothing was really put together. On this track we did several takes, but it was the first original take that made it to the album. The only part that was written before we started recording was the lyrics, and somehow the title just came out of that. The album was launched with a busy Japan tour in March/April 2019. Before the final edits we did a tour in Mexico, crucial for how the album turned out. Not only did Mette learn how to eat very spicy food with MoE in Mexico (hence the album title), but meeting New York beat poet Anne Waldman in Mexico City gave the album an extra dimension.” – Guro Skumsnes Moe
Turnamat from the album Skarbø Skulekorps (HUBRO, 2019)
“The Turnamat was a vintage washing machine produced by AEG. Instead of clothes, this machine is filled up with equal parts afrobeat, electro synth and simmering solos, only to be abrupted by a recurring evocative B-section. The final outro has travelled a long way: It started with a sample from a track by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, to be used in a hip hop beat. 10 years later it was transcribed for the instrumentation you’re now hearing, flipped backwards and then edited to taste just a little more.” – Øyvind Skarbø
Ellen Andrea Wang/Rob Luft/Jon Fält
Nobody Knows from the album Closeness (Ropeadope Records, to be released in September 2020)
“As I received a commission from Nasjonal Jazzscene in 2019, I got the opportunity to put together a brand new international band and write new music. I named the band Closeness, and it is music inspired by the aesthetic and philosophy of Charlie Haden.
‘Nobody Knows’ is based on the African-American spiritual song. As a kid I grew up in church singing this song. I wanted to keep the original lyrics and create a new melody and arrangement to carry on the tradition but still renew it somehow.” – Ellen Andrea Wang
Recycling Nunatak from the album Recycling Nunatak (NORCD, 2019)
“This tune was released digitally only (all platforms) in autumn 2019. Working in the studio on a new album in the summer of 2019 (due in spring 2021), I decided to do an extended version, a new arrangement of the tune from the Nunatak album of 2018. This version is recorded live in the studio and then some keyboards are added. It is slower, heavier, rawer than the original halling Nunatak. I am very happy about it. You are allowed to do some jazz- or halling dance – for the nature – and for all the Nunataks that will show up – for the glaciers disappearing – come on!” – Karl Seglem
Stranded at Red Ice Desert. Remember Your Loved Ones from the album The Haze of Sleeplessness (HUBRO, 2019)
“This song is part of my debut solo album The Haze Of Sleeplessness. And it is a solo album in almost every sense. I have played, recorded and mixed everything myself, with some help from Andreas Meland and Helge Sten as co-producers. And also Helge once again did a beautiful job in mastering the record.
This song I think has some sort of longing and sincere character to it. It makes you think of someone dear you are missing. That is why it is dedicated to the memory of my mother. Hope you enjoy it!” – Ståle Storløkken
Cut And Run from the album Voyage (Edition Records, 2019)
Voyage is another step on the ladder in what looks set to be a glowing career for tuba player and composer Daniel Herskedal. Of all his albums to date, this one is most likely to be seen as a landmark album: one that absolutely defines his sound, his writing and his bandleading. Voyage proves that Daniel has the voice of a master with an unconventional instrument, and with music that is exemplarily executed, beautiful and powerful.
Gard Nilssen Supersonic Orchestra
Bøtteknott/Elastic Circle from the album If You Listen Carefully the Music is Yours (Odin Records, 2020)
“Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra had its premiere at Moldejazz 2019 where I had the honour to be the Artist In Residence. This ensemble was my commission work for the festival. We live in a world where everything is happening so fast, everyone is in a rush all day long and it feels like there is no time to sit down and listen properly to music any more. So I named it If You Listen Carefully, The Music Is Yours. Needless to say, this band is the sound of my dreams and consists of nothing but heroes of mine!” – Gard Nilssen
New York from the album Marble (Jazzland Recordings, 2020)
“Over the last few years I have worked with local musicians all over the world. I have performed with raga musicians in India and Nepal, circus artists in Ethiopia, gnawa musicians in Morocco and Palestinians in a refugee camp in Lebanon. I played with jazz musicians in New York, Paris and Reykjavik and traditional musicians in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. After coming home, I wanted to share all the cultural treasures I discovered, so I decided to compose ten pieces of music, one for each place I have visited. This is ‘New York’, one place on this marble on which we all live, seen from my perspective.” – Oddrun Lilja
Lyons from the album Chimaera (Øra Fonogram, 2019)
“When I wrote this composition on my saxophone, I really enjoyed myself. Making this long, continuous line that just kept going and spun out more and more. I wanted something that was energetic and edgy without an obvious start and ending. Something that would push us forward. So we kept playing it faster and faster, and it became a perfect base for shooting out into improvisation. My working title was ‘Lyons’, as the music of Jimmy Lyons is an inspiration of mine, and at that time I listened quite a lot to his music.” – Signe Emmeluth
Susanna & the Brotherhood of Our Lady
Gluttony and Lust from the album Garden of Earthly Delights (Susanna Sonata, 2019)
“‘Gluttony and Lust’ is inspired by the great painting with the same title, by the Dutch 14th century painter Hieronymus Bosch. The music is part of the commissioned work for Vossa Jazz in 2017, a cycle of songs inspired by Bosch’s visionary art. Surreal and fantastical stories, which still clings well with humanity. We recorded the album at Ocean Sound Recordings, a studio on the north west coast of Norway, right at the tip of the seashore.” – Susanna
Through from the album Surrender (Smalltown Supersound, 2019)
“Like many of the tracks on this album, this title refers to a state of transition. I wanted to explore my experiences with the act of surrender, and how facing one’s own resistance can lead to stages of discovery. With this track I had a very specific situation in mind, a situation often repeated, and always in a state of solitude. Thanks to producer Amund Ulvestad, we were able to roam the physics lab in one of Norway’s major universities, discovering acoustic environments meant for scientific research. ‘Through’ is recorded in one of these, and all the sound is recorded live in a single take, no reverb added. The bare tile walls were a perfect illustration of the intense solitude I was seeking to convey. By using circular breathing and my own voice, I built this piece by living the situation again and again.” – Bendik Giske
I Like To Sleep
Circles from the album Daymare (Rune Grammofon, 2020)
“Amund (vibraphone) wrote ‘Circles’ while the band was preparing for a concert with the amazing saxophonist Mette Rasmussen, and brought it to one of their rehearsals as a brand new tune. The band learned a lot from playing together with Mette, and one of the things Amund took to heart was her attention around textures in musical content, and how she could isolate one parameter, or sound, within the music she played, and make it into an entire composition, which inspired him to write ‘Circles’. The entire composition is, in a sense, a study of a single rhythmic figure.” – I Like To Sleep
Away from the album Moving Forward (Curling Legs, 2020)
“This tune was written for the album Moving Forward with these musicians in mind. All the tunes on the album are related to the aspect of travelling, either physically or mentally to different places. On this tune I wanted to be able to stretch the solo section in a more modal way. So the recording on the album is actually the first time we ever played this tune. Jason’s playing is outstanding as usual in his piano solo, but Bendik is stretching out in the coda part, so keep listening to the end, it’s worth the wait!” – Hans Mathisen
The Buoy and the Sea from the album The Buoy and the Sea (AMP Music & Records, 2020)
“‘The Buoy and the Sea’ is part of a suite dedicated to Gary Peacock. It represents his warm being and open philosophy around improvisation that he shared when I visited him in 2013. It’s inspired by the open, loose way Gary would play a song and his extraordinary playfulness. It’s written with the highly personal interpretations André Roligheten brings to a loosely played ballad. The title stands for the uplifting energies that flow through good music. It is also a picture of a lifelong relationship with the sea. Lots of energy, but also a sense of calm. We did one take of this song. So the memories are pretty good. It was something we did at the end of the day after we had finished recording the album.” – Trygve W. Fiske
Jan Gunnar Hoff Group feat. Mike Stern
City Z from the album Featuring Mike Stern (Losen Records, 2018)
“‘City Z’ was originally written for another project but didn’t really work out in that context. When preparing for our tour with Mike Stern, Audun Kleive and Per Mathisen in March 2018, I ‘threw in’ this song as an extra for the session and renamed it ‘City Z’. The tune has a simple and short head and is basically built over one chord, giving lots of freedom for soloing. With Kleive as a driving force and Stern’s ‘Miles-y’ approach, ‘City Z’ finally kicked off. We had only a day and a half to do the whole recording and Mike came from recent surgery because of his shoulderaccident. So you might say the studio situation was kind of intense!” – Jan Gunnar Hoff