All About Jazz Presents at Kongsberg Jazzfestival: Kongsberg, Norway, July 5-6, 2012
Westerhus demonstrated exceptional surrender to the music, as well as intensity, musical sensitivity and deeply internalized technical mastery. It was this, combined with his mental sturdiness, that has made him such an outstanding artist. It was fully intended, it's what he does, as was the case with Endresen. There was an amazing chemistry between both musicians, one that that triggered and disclosed deep layers of their collective musicianship. It was absolutely unforgettable when a truly celestial song arose during the performance; equally unforgettable when Westerhus screamed into his guitar. This was the highest art of improvisation, the highest art of direct and deeply vibrating creation.
Kongsberg Kino: Award Concert: Arve Henriksen
Kongsberg Kino hosted the DnB NOR Award-winner's concert, featuring the recipient from the previous year. Trumpeter Arve Henrikse won the 2011 award, which also included a prize of 300,000 NOK. The most important annual jazz award in Norway, violinist Ola Kvernberg was the recipient of the 2012 prize. DnB NOR is the main sponsor of the Kongsberg Jazz Festival, and the country's largest financial services group, owned by the state and the Sparebank foundation Sparebank was created as a foundation with the sole purpose of owning part of DnB NOR, and also donates up to 25% of its received dividends to numerous charities.
Henriksen performed at the Kongsberg Kino (Cinema) with a special lineup: guitarist and electronic soundscapist Helge Sten, percussionists Terje Isungset and Ingar Zach, dancer Theresa Skauge and video artist Anastasi Isachsen. It was a theatrical show with constructed light design, excellent dance and wonderful playing and singing from Henriksen. It was a new multidisciplinary group that deserves to continue, develop and deepen; no doubt, it will create more appeal to this kind of music and hopefully draw a new audience.
Catching Henriksen's show meant catching but a glimpse of the last All About Jazz Presents performance of the day, back at the old Energimølla (energy mill). A small venue, situated near the swirling Numedalslågen River, it was packed for this performance, in which the well-known power trio Elephant9comprised of the great keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (a member of Supersilent and Humcrush, and the musical brain behind Motorpsycho's latest opus, The Death-Defying Unicorn (Rune Grammofon, 2012)); electric bassist Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen (who also brought along an electric eight-string bass) and drummer Torstein Lofthuswas joined by Swedish guitar crack Reine Fiske, member of Swedish progressive rock group Dungen.
With its three fine releases to dateincluding the recent vinyl-only, Live at the BBC (Rune Grammofon, 2012)Elephant9 was an obvious choice. The combination with Fiske was great, and propelled the elephant to even greater power. Leaving Energimølla, the swirling band could still be heard, driven by the relentless Lofthus like a steam engine. Energy was generated on the highest level.
July 6, 2012: Per Jørgensen & Friends; Jon Balke Magnetic Book; Mats Eilertsen SkyDive; Henriksen/Kleive/Norbakken
Friday would become the day of trumpeter, vocalist, percussionist and guitarist Per Jorgensen (born 1952). He performed with his first group as a leader, Per Jørgensen & Friends, and also participated in pianist Jon Balke's Magnetic Book, at the Kongsberg Kirke. The naming of his group and the title of his program"(Memories) From The Gallery ..."both say a lot about his way of music-making. The program title refers to his singing in the church from the gallery, and alludes to all the influences that have merged in his music.
Jørgensen, from Bergen, is well-known in Scandinavia and has played in many combinations, including ensembles with Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur, a duo with Terje Isungset, and both Jøkleba! And Magnetic North Orchestra, with Balke. He also teamed up with Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari and pianist Samuli Mikkonen for Kuára: Psalms and Folk Songs (ECM, 2010). He has played in a great variety of musical contexts, including rock, blues, folk, African, church and jazz, in a variety of roles. This diversity has been absorbed in his music at an increasing high level. His music and musicianship are in no way stylized or overly polished, and he possesses a high degree of authentic enthusiasm. Jørgensen sings for the joy of it, not to impress.