Having toured successfully in Europe and in North America in later years, jazz trio In The Country now heads out on an Asian tour with a string of gigs in China, Mongolia and Taiwan.
In the Country is a young Norwegian jazz trio that takes its name from notions of out-of-town travels and home-turf exploration. The members share a love for revisiting their own country, exploring mountain, forest, coast and sea; sharing favourite places and spots with each other.
Autumn 2011 sees the release of the trio’s latest outing, the live CD/DVD recording ‘Sounds and Sights’ on Rune Grammofon. The album features selections from all studio albums, two new tracks and a sublime interpretation of Mark Knopfler´s classic ”Brothers In Arms”, all recorded in live in October 2010. As a bonus the listeners also get a stunning hour long art / concert film on dvd. Tarkovsky-like dream sequences and abstract art visuals go hand in hand with multi camera concert footage from the same shows as the cd.
The trio’s shared mind-set of geographical exploration is also defining for the music they make: Indifferent to excess and grandeur -almost shy- the general orientation is rather one of unhurried and honest clarity. This means narrowing down to musical particulars and upholding tranquil simplicity rather than pushing limits and excelling in performance. The characteristics of unhurried motion and simple “cleansing” structures, with only few emphasized details, do indeed bear similarities to experiences of nature or countryside. It reminds one of the promise of enlightenment through simplicity and it gives the music a character of what the New York Times in its review of their latest album “Losing Stones, Collecting Bones,” called translucent intimacy. This concept refers to the atmosphere of internal coalescence that the music manifests: The record shows for itself an exquisite kind of openness and freedom; a lightness to make music that doesn’t prove anything, but simply reveals the honest musical conceptions of the band.
There is something serene about the way In the Country’s music motions through the record's pieces; like the air from room to room. And these rooms are indeed translucent, or open to one another: In the Country’s focus is on incorporating and expressing disparate influences and expressions. -More important than technical virtuosity or spellbinding musical features is the effortless, tranquil sweeps that melts the pieces and refine the music into glass.
In the Country are often praised for their perfectly flowing playing, where the instruments and sounds seems to merge. This gives a non-composite, liquid impression and upon this slow flow they can then float small melodies, extra instruments and luminous little sounds.
In The Country was formed by Qvenild, drummer Pål Hausken and bassist Roger Arntzen in 2003 while they where all studying at the National Academy of Music in Oslo. Though they are certainly a band, it is nevertheless true that it is Qvenild’s musical visions that are set forth. Involved in many different successful projects, In the Country is his own creation, and it has been described as a kind of musical self-interpretation. This refers to the fact that Qvenild is more broadly oriented than most jazz pianist. As mentioned, he is more about merging different general kinds of expression, drawing on genres outside jazz and exploring that freedom, than he is in typical piano virtuosity.
In addition to 2011’s ‘Sounds and Sights’, In the Country has to date the trio released four albums: ‘This Was The Pace Of My Heartbeat’ (2004), ‘Losing Stones, Collecting Bones’ (2006) and ‘Whiteout’ (2009); all albums released on influential Norwegian label Rune Grammofon.