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John Kelman's Best Live Shows of 2012

John Kelman's Best Live Shows of 2012
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Another tremendous year of travel, to find music in whatever nook and cranny it's hiding. From South Africa to Sweden, from Norway to the Netherlands, and from Germany to home base in Ottawa, Canada, it seemed as though there was an endless supply of great music to see—and even more that sadly had to be skipped.

2012 was a special year for All About Jazz, too: for the first time, we were invited to curate a series, in this instance at Norway's Kongsberg Jazz Festival. The objective? To put together, in seven shows, a program that gave some impression of the breadth and depth of the music scene, from acoustic to electric, from relative knowns to up-and-comers, and from long-established artists performing under their own name for the first time, to existing acts inviting guests to see what might happen. As curator of the series, it would be untoward to cite any of the shows as amongst the best of the year (even though, objectively, many would have to qualify), but a shout-out is still absolutely necessary for the fine artists who poured their hearts and souls into this, our first curation, All About Jazz Presents: Doing It Norway:

  • Eple Trio
    Eple Trio
    Eple Trio

    band/orchestra
    —pianist Andreas Ulvo, bassist Sigurd Hole and drummer Jonas Howden Sjøvaag—with guest saxophonist Karl Seglem;
  • The double-duo show of guitarist Eivind Aarset
    Eivind Aarset
    Eivind Aarset

    guitar
    /percussionist Thomas Stronen and vocalist Sidsel Endresen
    Sidsel Endresen
    Sidsel Endresen

    vocalist
    /guitarist Stian Westerhus;
  • Elephant9, with guest guitarist Reine Fiske;
  • Trumpeter/singer/percussionist's Per Jorgensen and Friends, the Jøkleba/BMX/Magnetic North Orchestra alum's first group ever under his own name, featruring percussionist Terje Isungset, bassist Morten Skage, harmonium expert Sigbjorn Apeland and keyboardist Sigbjorn Apeland;
  • Pianist Jon Balke
    Jon Balke
    Jon Balke
    b.1955
    piano
    's expanded Magnetic Book;
  • Bassist Mats Eilertsen
    Mats Eilertsen
    Mats Eilertsen
    b.1975
    bass
    's SkyDive Quintet, with saxophonist Tore Brunborg
    Tore Brunborg
    Tore Brunborg
    b.1960
    saxophone
    , guitarist Thomas Dahl, pianist Alexi Tuomarilla and drummer Olavi Louhivouri;
  • And trumpeter/singer Arve Henriksen
    Arve Henriksen
    Arve Henriksen
    b.1968
    trumpet
    's trio with percussionists Audun Kleive and Helge Norbakken.


It was a tremendous two days of music on (and sometimes over) the edge. But from the ten other festivals, special events and showcases, here are 25 performances plus one very special event, in chronological order, that stood out from over 100 shows that were, with only very rare exception, well worth the long hours in airports, planes, trains and automobiles:

1. March 30, 2012: Adam Glasser
Cape Town Jazz Festival, Cape Town, South Africa




2. March 31, 2012: Hugh Masekela
Cape Town Jazz Festival, Cape Town, South Africa




3. April 20, 2012: Lighthouse Trio
Jazzahead! 2012, Bremen, Germany




4. April 21, 2012: Marius Neset Golden XPlosion
Jazzahead! 2012, Bremen, Germany




5. May 11, 2012: Food, with Peter Vågan/Prakash Sontakke
Trondheim Jazz Festival, Trondheim, Norway




6. May 11, 2012: Bugge Wesseltoft, Solo
Trondheim Jazz Festival, Trondheim, Norway




7. June 22, 2012: The Fellowship Band
TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Ottawa, Canada




8. June 23, 2012: Anouar Brahem / John Surman / Dave Holland
TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Ottawa, Canada




9. June 24, 2012: Dave Holland Prism
TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Ottawa, Canada




10. June 27, 2012: Bill Frisell Plays Lennon
TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Ottawa, Canada




11. June 28, 2012: Médéric Collignon, "Jus de Bosce"
TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Ottawa, Canada




12. September 4, 2012: Three Trapped Tigers
Punkt Festival, Kristiansand, Norway



13. September 5, 2012: Greta Aagre / Erik Honoré
Punkt Festival, Kristiansand, Norway




14. September 15, 2012: Jaga Jazzist / Britten Sinfonia
Ultima Festival, Oslo, Norway




15. October 5, 2012: Chamber Tones Trio
Dutch Jazz & World Meeting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands




16. October 6, 2012: Tin Men & The Telephone
Dutch Jazz & World Meeting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands




17. October 6, 2012: Fugara
Dutch Jazz & World Meeting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands




18. October 25, 2012: Iro Haarla Quintet / NorrlandsOperans Symfoniorkester
Umeå Jazz Festival, Umeå, Sweden




19. October 26, 2012: Mike Mainieri Northern Lights
Umeå Jazz Festival, Umeå, Sweden




20. October 27, 2012: Pat Martino Organ Trio
Umeå Jazz Festival, Umeå, Sweden




21. October 27, 2012: In the Country
Umeå Jazz Festival, Umeå, Sweden




22. October 27, 2012: WorldService Project
Umeå Jazz Festival, Umeå, Sweden




23. November 4, 2012: Manu Katché
Enjoy Jazz Festival, Mannheim, Germany




24. November 5, 2012: James Farm
Enjoy Jazz Festival, Mannheim, Germany




25. November 8/9, 2012: Sidsel Endresen @ 60
Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria, Oslo, Norway


Photo Credits

Médéric Collignon: John R. Fowler

All Other Photos: John Kelman

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