We proudly present volume seven of JazzCD.no. This compilation gives a good picture of the Norwegian jazz scene today, ranging from mainstream to more modern forms, including what has come to be known as the Nordic sound. JazzCD.no – 7th set shows the variety, the versatility and the quality of jazz in Norway as of today.
These CDs are produced by Norsk Jazzforum in close cooperation with The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Music Norway.
JazzCD.no is for promotional use only, not for sale. The first compilation was made in 2002. Volume 7, JazzCD.no – 7th set, is available from January 2016.
JazzCD.no – 7th set – jazz from Norway 2016 includes tracks from the following artists:
Eivind Austad Trio – Ellen Andrea Wang – Tore Johansen – Espen Berg Trio – Hans Mathisen – Hayden Powell – John Surman / Bergen Big Band – Karl Seglem Acoustic Quartet – Kristin Asbjørnsen with Olav Torget – Bjørn Solli – Solveig Slettahjell, Knut Reiersrud with In the Country – Nils Petter Molvær – Espen Eriksen – Ivan Mazuze – Bugge & Friends – Mette Henriette – Thomas Strønen Time is a Blind Guide – Skydive Trio – Stein Urheim & Mari Kvien Brunvoll – Eivind Aarset – Håkon Kornstad – Mathias Eick – Arild Andersen Trio – Waldemar 4 – Olga Konkova Trio – Jan Gunnar Hoff Group – Marius Neset – Ola Kvernberg & The Trondheim Soloists – Pixel – Morten Qvenild – Mopti & Bendik Baksaas – Gard Nilssen’s Acoustic Unity – All Included – Team Hegdal – Atomic – World of Glass – Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Christian Wallumrød – Krokofant – Large Unit with guests – Elephant9 with Reine Fiske – Møster! – Hilde Marie Holsen
Liner notes JazzCD.no 7th set by Josef Woodward, music journalist:
MUSIC FROM A FAR CORNER AND A RUGGED HEART
Long before I started actually going to Norway, and obsessing over finding ways to return there, I had built a strong and somewhat mystical vision of this fjord-encrusted and God-kissed place which had produced such unique and beguiling music. What was it about the music from this far northwestern continental edge—and edge of the world, in more than one way—and its delicate balance of rootedness in global music linguistics and its own indigenous, proudly independent manner of musical speaking?
Early on, my information on Norwegian jazz, in all its innate variety of contexts and stylistic change-ups and hybrids, was selective and too scant, given the meager interchange of music marketing resources (alas, awareness of the wonders of Norwegian jazz, and culture, has always been wanting in the U.S.). What I knew of the Norwegian jazz scene in my younger years came largely through the Nordic-infused catalogue of ECM Records, or through a special project such as wondrous Norwegian folk album Sweet Sunny North, facilitated by Henry Kaiser and David Lindley, celebrating a folk music tradition which runs deeper in the cultural soil, including on many “jazz” artists, than might be assumed.
After many visits to Norway, in search of first-hand exposure to its musical riches and secrets, I am as fascinated as ever, and still a bit mystified about the essence of this enchanting place and its artistic abundance. It’s not nearly enough to cite the nation’s admirable support of the arts, and generous financial subsidies for its artists, its festivals, and the life of its citizens. Somehow, the natural, rustic beauty of the place, its folkloric loam, unique history, forward-thinking trains of collective thought and even its outlier’s spot on the global map contribute to a sense of national self, one translated into and through its music.
I have since tasted the considerable fruits and challenging programming menus at Norway’s admirable festival circuit, from Molde to several years at the Vossa Jazz Festival (led there initially by a powerful desire to hear Christian Wallumrød’s sextet live and in person, and with little hope of hearing him on the west coast of the U.S.). I also have partaken in festivals in Bergen and Oslo’s new music-themed Ultima fest, and in Kongsberg, with its inspiring river running through it, and its glorious, beatific 18th century church/venue. What you will hear on these discs is a healthy and illuminating cross section of the contemporary fabric of Norwegian jazz, circa 2016. I have heard many of these artists, and am eager to catch up with those not yet known to me. Some are well-established on the world stage. Trumpeters Nils Petter Molvaer, the electric conjurer, and liquid tone poet Arve Henriksen rank among the most distinctive jazz trumpet voices of our day, and the merger of British baritone saxist John Surman and the Bergen Big Band represents the collaborative cross-talk between Norwegian musicians and those from the “outside” world.
With some of these artists on this compilation, their very names conjure up memories of vivid live encounters I have happily been part of: the potent, metrically-jolted work of Norwegian-in-Copenhagen Marius Neset at the Ystad Festival in Sweden; Paal Nilssen Love’s Large Unit formidably shaking up the new hall at the Moers Festival in Germany; guitar pictorialist Eivind Aarset in a late night set at the Montreal Jazz Festival; Terje Isungset playing his ephemeral ice instruments on a mountaintop at the Vossa Jazz Festival, at midnight; Matthias Eick playing music from his American-grained Midwest in Bremen’s pristine Sendesaal venue at a special ECM night at the 2015 jazzahead! Conference (and also before a multi-thousandfold crowd at the Jarasum Festival in South Korea); the powerful and free-spirited band Atomic at the Guelph Festival in Canada (the highlight of that year’s fest)… the list goes on.
Somehow, hearing these Norwegian musicians live can leave an indelible imprint on the beholder, more than musicians from other locales and backgrounds. One remembers the where and when of the encounter. Maybe it has to do with a strong sense of place, ingrained through the magical, progressive place and sensibility from which they sprang, and conveyed through a musical language which, while diverse and multi-stylistic, knows from whence it came–even if just implicitly. It’s just a theory. The more I listen, the more I realize that the seductive Norwegian jazz mystery remains, which keeps me—and many others–coming back for more.
Josef Woodard is a veteran music journalist, contributor to Down Beat and many other publications. His first book, Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth, was recently published.