Mathias Eick scopes wider than your traditional jazz musician. The young Norwegian multi- instrumentalist has played with a variety of outfits across the spectrum of genres. -From drone rock to detahpunk, from hushed electronica to big band jazz. But he is probably best known for his role in that powerhouse of new Norwegian jazz Jaga Jazzist, where he played trumpet. Now his debut album The Door is out on the prestigious ECM label.
In 2006 Mathias Eick, now 28 years old, was voted the world’s best young jazz talent by the Organisation of International Jazz Festivals and the International Association for Jazz Education. Now the prolific musician, who excels on trumpet, guitar, piano bass and vibraphone, makes his debut as composer and band leader.
In a recent interview with the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, he relates that composing is something that he has been doing quietly and in fragments all along.
-I’ve been occupied with this project for years, says Eick.
-And the titles have come to me in different places around the world. It has been a long term goal and a dream for me, and that’s why it has taken so long. The record is comprised of small personal melodies that have been with me for a long time. I’m no active composer, but I’ve been jotting down small melodies and fragments all my life. It was a criterion for this album that all the music had to be my own.
It is something of a dream team that he has enlisted for the project, consisting of Audun Kleive on drums, Jon Balke on piano and Audun Erlien on bass. These three know each other from the band Jøkleba. Eick also brought in instrument wizard Stian Carstensen to play pedal steel on a few tracks.
-I’ve simply stolen a band that had played together before, says Eick, which made my new role as band leader very easy and rewarding. With such strong musical personalities, the band leader role is downplayed anyway. I simply said to them that I wanted us to build these tunes together.
Eicks interest in music is broad and he is a lot more focused on the strength of music in itself than in genre.
-I think my chief asset as a musician is my ability to adapt to new contexts and contribute with an open mind. I’ve played all kinds of music and in all kinds of line-ups and I really love the notion of entering unknown territory, adapt and then contribute with something personal.
The Door is definitely an ECM release, with the label’s characteristic clear and clean production aesthetics playing a dominant role in the musical experience.
Aftenposten’s critic calls the record tasteful and light footed, with cleansing musical sweeps and tunes that fully confirm Eick’s undeniable talent, also as a composer.
The Door will be released in no less than 51 countries; quite a start for the young debutant.