It's been three years since Ola Kvernberg released the ambitious Liarbird (Jazzland, 2011), a studio document of his 2010 Molde International Jazz Festival commission where guest Joshua Redman was recruited for the live performance, but where, far more than a ringer for Kvernberg, Redman was clearly awestruck by this virtuosic young violinist/composer. It's not that Kvernberg hasn't been busy, either: in addition to being a featured soloist, the same year, with Motorpsycho's progressive rock-heavy collaboration with Supersilent/Elephant9 keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Trondheimsolistene string ensemble for another staggering live performance later documented on the even more impressive ...read more
It may have seemed that recruiting American saxophonist Joshua Redman for the live premiere of Liarbird--a joint commission by the Trondheim and Molde Jazz Festivals in Norway--was the musical equivalent of a ringer in sports. But it wasn't long into Ola Kvernberg's ambitious Molde Jazz 2010 performance, as the violinist launched into the first of many staggeringly fine solos, that Redman's appreciation for the players around him became clear--his expression, for most of the show, one of sheer amazement. And why wouldn't it be? With a group of exceptional young Norwegians whose collective résumé includes Jaga Jazzist, Shining, Atomic and ...read more
Beginning his career playing Manouche music, Norwegian violinist/mandolinist Ola Kvernberg has recently been exploring more modernistic spaces with his trio featuring bassist Steinar Raknes and drummer Erik Nylander. Folk is the follow-up to the trio's 2006 Jazzland debut, Night Driver, and the same loose interplay is on display, but with greater confidence and depth--the clear result of more time spent together. Roland" is based around a repetitive riff and contemporary funk groove, but what's remarkable is how Kvernberg does so much with so little. He builds his solo from economical melodicism and Jean-Luc Ponty-esque syncopations to greater fire ...read more
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