This weekend sees the US premiere of Trygve Seim and his acclaimed ensemble at the Portland Jazz Festival.
Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim will perform, with his ensemble, from the two ECM recordings entitled Sangam and Different Rivers. This will be a North Amercian premiere. Performance on February 17 in Portland, OR.
One of the new leaders of contemporary European jazz, Trygve Seim describes his orchestral work as Sangam, which means "coming together", "confluence of a learned gathering," or literally "the meeting point of three rivers" in Sanskrit.
Seim was just 13 when he experienced a musical awakening upon hearing Nordic sax legend Jan Garbarek: "I couldn't believe a saxophone could sound like that!" He immediately began playing sax – taking up (like Garbarek) both the tenor and the curved soprano – but was soon quickly moving beyond his initial inspiration. If the now-characteristic "Nordic" cry is part of his sound, many other elements have been assimilated. The free jazz of Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler had a major liberating impact while he was studying in Trondheim. Seim also acquired a passion for the music of the Far East, especially the flute traditions of Asia (the duduk, the shakuhachi) and Eastern vocal music generally. An interest in Buddhism, too, has left its imprint on his music – the idea of breath is central to his compositions. For all its sensitive arrangements, the music is strong, not fragile, as European audiences enthusiastically confirm. Soon, too, will American audiences be aware of this startling 10-piece ensemble, sans piano and bass and with only minimal percussion, as Trygve Seim makes his North American premiere at the Portland Jazz Festival.
"Destined to be one of ECM's classic," John Fordham predicted in The Guardian. "At times Trygve Seim sounds like no sax player you've ever heard – more like wind in the trees, or wooden flutes... ".