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Hakon Kornstad: Symphonies In My Head

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Håkon Kornstad Symphonies in My Head Jazzland Records 2011 Amidst a nation of musicians who fearlessly and seamlessly find ways to marry music and technology on the most human of terms, Håkon Kornstad still stands alone. Armed with an array of saxophones, flutes and weird hybrids like the flutonette (a clarinet mouthpiece on a flute body)--and a vintage looping device that may be limited compared to newer ones on the market, but is so intimately familiar to Kornstad that it's become an organic extension of his musical mind--the Norwegian improviser has been carving ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hakon Kornstad: Symphonies In My Head

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The third consecutive solo album from Håkon Kornstad is an exemplary, creative work. The Norwegian saxophonist expands an already remarkable palette of sounds and technique from Single Engine (Jazzland, 2007) and Dwell Time (Jazzland, 2009) with musical references that continue to grow and surprise. As before, he manages to turn his improvisations into small symphonies, arresting in their structure and deep emotional impact. As with Dwell Time, Kornstad uses the excellent acoustics of Oslo's Sofienberg Church as his recording studio, opening Symphonies In My Head with “Pearlfisher," an improvisation based on an aria from Georges Bizet's opera ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hakon Kornstad: Dwell Time

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32-year-old Norwegian saxophonist Håkon Kornstad continues to skirt the competing modern Scandinavian jazz aesthetics of Jan Garbarek and Mats Gustafsson. In 2008 he participated in the stunning Elise (Compuctio, 2008), a delicate acoustic duo exploration with bassist and countryman Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. Kornstad's Dwell Time is, in many ways, a companion piece to that disc in its sheer beauty and deliberateness. But where that album existed in the ether of resonating wood and metal, Dwell Time is unaccompanied, using live electronics to create an equally verdant landscape. Jazz is usually straightforward enough that the live performance does ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hakon Kornstad: Single Engine

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Saxophonist Håkon Kornstad, although barely into his thirties, has been involved over the last ten years in many different projects spanning many genres, always trying to stretch himself and expand the tools needed for self-expression. He has developed a distinctive sound on his horn and for those who know his music, an attitude that is serious, but with a twinkle-in-the-eye sense of humor. Single Engine represents the results of all of the work that has gone into finding his own voice. Kornstad presents a thoughtful, introspective and joyful sound where every note is given equal weight and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hakon Kornstad / Havard Wiik: The Bad And The Beautiful

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The Bad And The Beautiful marks the second installment of unique, intellectually stimulating and very emotional musical vignettes from saxophonist Håkon Kornstad and pianist Håvard Wiik, after Eight Tunes We Like (Moserobie, 2005). As was done previously, the tunes range from older and newer standards to intriguing tunes by today's composers, plus a couple of pop tunes that really work. Regardless of their pedigree, each piece has a certain latent possibility buried within it. Kornstad and Wiik's efforts are directed towards exposing the inner workings of these marvelous compositions; saying, in effect, “This is what they are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hakon Kornstad: Single Engine

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Solo saxophone recordings are hardly new in the jazz canon, but you'd be hard-pressed to find one like Kornstad's Single Engine. Håkon Kornstad's star has been on the ascendance on the Scandinavian scene in diverse improvisational contexts including free group Tri-Dim, Jazzland owner Bugge Wesseltoft's New Conception of Jazz club music and Wibutee, a group marrying improvisation and technology with an aggressive rock stance.

Kornstad has proven himself a broadminded player, at home as a spare melodist but equally comfortable pushing Albert Ayler-like extremes. Single Engine is a largely accessible record, but that doesn't mean it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hakon Kornstad: Single Engine

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Norwegian saxophonist Håkon Kornstad has been one of the central figures on the new Norwegian scene that aspires to break new vistas beyond the almost codified ECM representation of the Nordic scene. Kornstad has shown, over the last decade, a wide scope of expression and mood, with his post bop Kornstad Trio [Space Available (Jazzland, 2002)], and its collaborations with guitarist Pat Metheny and German avant-garde trumpeter Axel Dörner, on his free improvisations with drummer Paal Nilssen-Love [Schlinger,(Smalltown Supersound, 2003)]. He's further demonstrated his breadth on his intimate and provocative duets with pianist Håvard Wiik [Eight Tunes We Like (Moserobie, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Hakon Kornstad and Havard Wiik: Eight Tunes We Like

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Hakon Kornstad and Havard WiikEight Tunes We LikeMoserobie Records2005 Hakon Kornstad and Havard Wiik have produced an absolute gem of an album that is on my short list for Best of 2005. The joys of Eight Tunes We Like are manifold and start with this release's title. They are being more than half coy by using the word “tunes . A glance at the track titles will reveal only one that could be said to come from “The Great American Songbook , and hence be a “tune . The others cannot even ...



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