Håkon Kornstad (tenor saxophone) and Håvard Wiik (piano) are two of the most prolific and talented names on the contemporary Norwegian jazz scene. Both these masters of improvisation have released exquisite solo records, and they are also each involved with a phalanx of influential groups and constellations. In 2003 they joined forces as Kornstad/Wiik duo and recorded the debut “Eight songs we like.” Released in 2005 it won the praise of pretty much the entire international jazz establishment and was called “one of the most impressive debuts of the year.”
Last year’s follow-up “The bad and the beautiful” made use of the same formula as the debut, i.e. the recording of tunes that they like, mostly jazz – tunes by Carla Bley, Annette Peacock, And Keith Jarret - but also music from other genres; songs by Graham Nash and David Bowie.
In their own words the latest record is more energetic and instant than the debut, while some critics find it a direct extension. However, since “Eight songs” was such a success, both artistically and in terms of popular response, this is not really an objection. And “The bad and the beautiful” has in general reaped truly stellar reviews:
«The duo’s interplay is nuanced, subtle and satisfying, engaging the listener with a program of delicate but adventurous pieces that ultimately reveal subtle surprises.
Their interpretations of these classics are both respectful and ingenious.» (Cadence)
«There's a personal, intimate quality to the performances - a style that recalls some of the best work in this mode from many years back - such as the teaming of Mal Waldron and Marion Brown, or Archie Shepp and Dollar Brand. And like both of those examples, the style here isn't too free or too out - but a warm exploration of the inner thoughts and musical ideals of both players.» (Dusty Groove)
In early December they emplane for Japan to drizzle a little of their jazzy stardust, like an early dual Santa Claus. The dates are as follows:
3.12 Japan TBA (JP)
4.12 Shinjuku Pit-inn Tokyo (JP)
5.12 Shinjuku Pit-inn Tokyo (JP)