Norwegian jazz launch Europe 2004-2006

Two of the Norwegian jazz scene’s most central performers, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and trumpeter Arve Henriksen are in for a hectic three-year period. The two are at the centre of a new well-funded promotion programme, Norwegian jazz launch Europe 2004-2006 that sets out to firmly establish the acclaimed jazz performers on the European stage.

Paal Nilssen-Love på Balladefest 2004

The recently unveiled Norwegian jazz launch Europe 2004-2006 promotion programme undoubtedly represents one of the most ambitious launch projects ever initiated, at least on the jazz scene. With a financial backing amounting to NOK 900 000 (app. $135 000 / € 110 000) and a planned extensive touring and promotion programme, the Norwegian jazz launch Europe 2004-2006 is set to firmly establish Paal Nilssen-Love and Arve Henriksen on the European jazz circuit.

European jazz launch
A few quotes from the joint press release on Norwegian jazz launch Europe 2004-2006 as issued by the project’s founders; Rikskonsertene, The West Norwegian Jazz Centre, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norwegian Jazz Forum :

“Since the turn of the millennium Norwegian jazz has experienced an international breakthrough: A new generation of jazz musicians has established itself on the international jazz scene, and received great attention in leading music magazines, Norway is no longer only the home of Karin Krog, Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen and Terje Rypdal, it is also the birthplace of Jon Balke, Nils Petter Molvær, Trygve Seim, Sidsel Endresen, Silje Nergård, and Bugge Wesseltoft and his Jazzland colleagues, to mention but a few of the most famous ones.

This particular field of music invites to a systematic and long-term aiming. The starting point is very good- More and more Norwegian artists currently receive allot of attention throughout Europe, and a well-established infrastructure makes it possible to unite forces and develop further what is ignited. The West Norwegian Jazz Centre, Norwegian Jazz Forum and Rikskonsertene have taken the consequences of this opportunity, and established a three-year launch programme for the new generation of jazz musicians, an initiative the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has supported with NOK 900 000 spread over three years.

The aim of the project is to develop further the positive reputation new, Norwegian improvised music has built up in Europe, and to assist a selection of Norwegian artists with international ambitions and potential in establishing themselves on the European jazz scene. The three partners have strong networks all over Europe, and they are all members of Europe Jazz Network, which will play an important part in the launch programme. Countries that stand out in particular as interesting receivers of launch artists are England, France and Italy, but offers will also go out to Germany, Austria, Spain, the Netherlands, as well as to the most important venues in Eastern Europe and in the Nordic countries.

The two first artists to be promoted through the Norwegian Jazz Launch Europe programme are Arve Henriksen and Paal Nilssen-Love. Both are marvellous representatives of today’s young jazz musicians with obvious international potential. The launch programme focuses on marketing and information work, financial travel support, and booking to central jazz clubs and festivals, all in close cooperation with the artists’ management.”

Visionary trumpeter
Arve Henriksen recently released his second solo album “Chiaroscuro” (Rune Grammofon). The acclaimed trumpeter has been a central member of one of the Norwegian jazz scene’s most widely applauded bands; Supersilent. He’s also a member of Food and has contributed to a long list of albums with such diverse acts and performers as Jon Balke’s Magnetic North Orchestra, d’Sound, Dikada, Silje Nergaard, Audun Kleive, Misha Alperin, Christian Wallumrød Trio, Nils Petter Molvær and Trygve Seim.

Henriksen’s previous solo outing, “Sakuteiki” (Rune Grammofon 2001) received rave reviews upon its release:

“This is a thing of rare and compelling beauty. Each piece seems intimately bound to its title, and “Stone Should Never Be Placed Carelessly” sums up both the record’s inspiration and its execution. Not a note out of place and played with the utmost care, this I musicmaking as natural and essential as breathing.” (BBC Online”

“Delicate and engrossing.” (Motion - UK)

“A beautiful album by trumpet player Arve Henriksen, poised somewhere between unaccompanied classic jazz and cerebral contemporary music, with leanings towards Japanese musical (and philosophical) history. A remarkable study in space and locations, the music progresses slowly through a series of meditations on sensory impressions.” ( – US)

“Henriksen produces a staggering range of sounds from his instrument. At times it has the tone of the shakuhachi flute, at others the pure, clear tone of the trumpet processed to produce an ethereal echo.” (Avant – UK)

Percussion icon
Despite his (relatively) young age, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love has established himself as something of a percussion icon. Over the last decade he has worked continually within various areas of jazz, both free improvisational and more traditional forms of expression – always with a inhuman high energy-level underpinning his expressive playing and constant touring and recording schedule. A graduate of the prestigious jazz department at the University of Trondheim, Nilssen-Love has toured and recorded with a long list of performers and bands and has also found time to release a solo percussion album; “Sticks & Stones” (SOFA 2001). Some of the bands and projects Nilssen-Love has been involved with include Element, Atomic, Ken Vandermark, Schorch Trio (with Raoul Björkenheim), The Thing & Joe McPhee, Håkon Kornstad Trio, Peter Brötzmann, Schoold Days and Pat Metheny.

Much has been written on the energetic, expressive and multi-talented drummer over the years, here are a few quotes from the press:

“…Nilssen-Love’s best was saved for the last night, when he commanded the stage at the Forum for a solo set. He was like a kid exploring new ways to get his drums to speak. He hand-drummed, brushed, played prepared drums using such objects as sticks, fabric and small inverted cymbals. Drove into turbulence and slowed into hurricane eyes, His week at Molde proved a revelation: Nilssen-Love is one of the most innovative, dynamic and versatile drummers in jazz.” (Dan Oullette, Down Beat on Paal Nilssen-Love’s stint as “musician in residence” at the 2002 Molde Jazz Festival)

“He is simply one of the best new musicians I’ve heard during the latest years. He has the capacity of dealing with the extended part of the drummer tradition on a very complex, but yet totally fresh and original way. He works with forms and structures on a highly advanced level, and at the same time he’s playing really free, His touch is outraging, and the sound is really wonderful indeed, but what probably is most important: when he plays, the atmosphere and vibes in the venue are changed – he brings something quite unique and special into the music.” (Pat Metheny 2002)

“The spiriting momentum for the trio derives from the drumming of Nilssen-Love. He goes into perpetual motion, constructing intricate patterns that enfold seamlessly around the music of the others.” (Frank Rubolino, Cadence on the CD “The Blessing Light” Fode Gjerstad Trio)

“Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is both clever and versatile in his approach to his drum kit. Such traits serve him well in the context of this solo percussion venture and his precise skill with his sticks is evident from the opening.” (Derek Taylor, Cadence on the Nilssen-Love’s solo album “Sticks & Stones”)

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