The Norwegian line-up at this year’s London Jazz Festival is impressive and diverse ranging from free blowing to left-field electronica. The line-up a veritable list of who’s who on the Norwegian jazz-and-related-sounds scene: Arve Henriksen, Roy Powell with Frode Berg, Susanna & The Magical Orchestra, Hanne Hukkelberg, Silje Nergaard, Jan Garbarek and Xploding Plastix.
The acclaimed Supersilent member and highly respected solo trumpet player Arve Henriksen teams up with Dhafer Youssef, bass player Audun Erlien, drummer Rune Arnesen and guitarist Eiving Aarseth for his gig at Queen Elisabeth Hall on 18 November. Henriksen recently released his second solo album, ‘Chiaroscuro’ on central Norwegain indie Rune Grammofon to wide domestic and international acclaim.
Listen to and download Arve Henriksen’s Chiaroscuro here.
Susanna & The Magical Orchestra
Rarely do albums come more beautiful than vocalist Susanna Wallumrød and keyboardist Morten Qvenild's debut ‘List of lights and buoys’. This stripped-down, bare, minimalist and touching album is nothing short of a tremendous debut. The highlights are many, but it's impossible not to dwell on the duo's intriguing rendition of Dolly Parton's classic "Jolene", a version that is stripped of its country tinge, revealing that only six notes are needed to render a compelling version of the song. The minimal set-up of keyboard, harmonium and autoharp provides a vibrant range of textures for Wallumrød's elegiac, wandering vocals to coil around. The odd configured but at the same time highly structured rhythm is combined with the strength of Wallumrød's vocals and her peculiar clipped intonation, steering "List of lights buoys" away from predictability. A must listen. The duo’s live appearances are no less captivating – perhaps even more intense and present than in a recorded format.
Susanna & The Magical Orchestra play the Spitz on 19 November.
Listen to and download Susanna & The Magical Orchestra’s "List of lights and buoys" here.
On her debut album, Hanne Hukkelberg managed to achieve what many strive for; to define and develop a unique and personal form of expression. From bicycle spokes to banjos, wineglasses to wash brooms, and accordions to wurlitzers, there seems to be no limit as to what she might bring to the studio. "Little things" is a result of differing genres and musicians meeting under the creative guidance of Hukkelberg, with an end-result that can only be described as integral and one-of-a-kind. Drawing on influences from genres such as electronica, left-field rock, improv and traditional song-writing, Hanne Hukkelberg and her companions create quirky, out-there tunes that are as charming as they are multi-faceted. There are multiple aspects within the sonic collages on display, bearing witness of a strong sense of aesthetics and style as well as an ambition to bring across a wide range of emotions.
Hanne Hukkelberg plays the Spitz on 19 November.
Listen to and download Hanne Hukkelberg’s ‘Little Things’ here.
The reigning jazz queen of Norway brings her trusted ensemble and a set of new tunes to the London Jazz Festival. Silje Nergaard has, within the last six years, established herself as one of the most original and most interesting artists working within the European jazz arena. Her latest album release, "Nightwatch" (2003, Universal Music), is her eighth album recording. Recorded in Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden, Silje Nergaard further develops her unique brand of strong melodic jazz in sophisticated arrangements, flavoured by a voice which the UK Independent has called:
"…a captivating, viola-rich timbre, played with plenty of resin on the bow so that she cuts emphatically into each note, but with perfect control. There is a candy-sweetness to her voice, but this candy is not for children. It's after-dinner candy, with black coffee and the promise of what is to follow."
Silje Nergaard and her ensemble play the Pizza Express Jazz Club on 20 and 21 November.
On "Solace", UK-born Oslo-based pianist Roy Powell's fourth album, the keys, bass and drums work the angles of a song's potential, with strong emphasis on the tone, mood and space. Live and in a recorded forma, Powell resists the bebop urge to blow, instead remaining as calm as an easygoing river. Almost all of the nine originals are slow ruminations, frequently developing in an undulating, slightly wounded manner, and Powell's glancing touch is very subtle. This is sophisticated, low-key acoustic jazz: you have to wait until the last track of nine before the tempo picks up. Quiet, impressionistic, graceful and plain beautiful, "Solace" is the perfect soundtrack for a moment of introspection and calmness. Powell is accompanied by Norwegian in-demand bass player Frode Berg and drummer Paul Robinson.
Roy Powell & co. play the Lauderdale House on 18 November.
Download Roy Powell releases here.
With a new acclaimed album on the market, Jan Garbarek is where he deserves to be; at the centre stage of the contemporary jazz scene. Continuing Garbarek's strong tradition of standard-setting releases, his latest album "In Praise of Dreams" is a striking work with some of Garbarek's most intensely melodic writing, characteristically powerful solo statements, and spirited instrumental exchanges. "In Praise of Dreams" also showcases the saxophonist's capacities as a composer-orchestrator-arranger, and proposes some new colours and textures in its blending of acoustic and electronic elements. From the very first unmistakable sax tone, Garbarek's trademark clear, far-reaching, searching and strong voice puts a strong and evident authorship on the work. Says Garbarek: "I think more in terms of evolution than revolution, the changes in the music taking place slowly over time, but there are some surprises here."
Jan Garbarek Group featuring Eberhard Weber (bass), Rainer Bruninghaus (keyboards) and percussionist Marilyn Mazur play the Royal Festival Hall on 21 November.
One of Norway’s premier electronica outfits. Xploding Plastix have built up a solid following at home and abroad over the course of two acclaimed albums, a slew of EPs and vinyl releases, dozens of remixes and a string of packed gigs. The knob-twiddling maestros manage what few electronica producers achieve – a successful transition from studio to stage. Accompanied by a bass player and a drummer the two know how to ignite a fire onstage.
Listen to and download Xploding Plastix’ breakthrough album ‘Amateur Girlfriends go Proskirt Agents’ here.