One night, six Norwegian artists--three of them together in a group for a decade. Such ideas can look great on paper, but turn out less than inspiring in reality. Fortunately, beyond the individual talents involved, there's been enough interconnectivity between singer Solveig Slettahjell, keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft, guitarist Knut Reiersrud and the members of In the Country--keyboardist Morten Qvenild, bassist Roger Arntzen and drummer Pål Hausken--that Norwegian Woods-Jazz at the Berlin Philharmonic II doesn't just work...it soars. Slettahjell--bringing a very personal vision to both her own music and her many interpretations of songwriters ranging from Cole Porter to Tom ...read more
It's been two years since Solveig Slettajhell's Tarpan Seasons (Universal Music Norway, 2010), and in the intervening years she's been a little busier than usual, taking time off to give birth to her first child. Delivering a thoroughly captivating duo showcase with In the Country keyboardist Morten Qvenild at this year's Jazzahead! in Bremen, Germany--playing music largely culled from Antologie--it was clear, however, that family responsibilities haven't stopped the Norwegian singer from further stretching the concept she's been honing in the decade since Slow Motion Orchestra (Curling Legs, 2001).Slettahjell's constant companion--appearing on every recording except Domestic Songs (ACT, ...read more
From a simple idea, great things can sometimes come. When Solveig Slettahjell formed Slow Motion Orchestra for a 2001 performance that became the 15-piece group's eponymous first recording on Norway's Curling Legs, the premise was simple: take a collection of songs from the Great American Songbook, and slow them down. Way down. But over the course of three albums and an eye-opening performance at Kristiansand's 2007 Punkt Festival, the Norwegian singer and her trimmed-down quintet proved that slow, powerful and dramatic need not be mutually exclusive terms. The trimmed-down Slow Motion Quintet has since released four additional albums, ...read more
The fifth solo release by Norwegian vocalist Solveig Slettahjell finds her in a domestic environment. This intimate album was indeed recorded at Slettahjell's home, and most of the songs feature Slettahjell's vocals with the beautiful sounding new Steinway piano that she recently purchased after winning the Norwegian Kongsberg Jazzfestival's Vital-Pris, with some spare ensemble arrangements. As such the focus is on Slettahjell's arresting warm vocal, that can stretch to a surprising range, and her wise and restrained slow motion phrasing, that charges every line with subtle, poetic nuance.
The fourteen songs are accompanied by members of ...read more
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
While other festivals feature a diversity of artists across a longer period of time, there's simply no festival other than Punkt that manages to pack so much into three days of programming--and create the kind of environment where unexpected collaborations catalyze real magic, and expected encounters do the same by being given the free reign to try absolutely anything. Over its three-day run there are thirteen acts in the 500-seat Agder Theatre, and thirteen live remixes in the Alpha Room. It would be a little overwhelming if ...read more
This fourth release by Norwegian vocalist Solveig Slettahjell and the Slow Motion Quintet offers another magical experience. On Good Rain, these creative and busy musicians expand the musical language that they began to explore on their previous release, Pixiedust (Curling Legs, 2005). In addition to Slettahjell, the group includes trumpeter Sjur Miljeteig, formerly of the jazz-pop-electronica outfit Jaga Jazzist and one of the leaders of the art-rock group Friko; keyboardist Morten Qvenild, who leads In The Country and Susanna and the Magical Orchestra; bassist Mats Eilertsen; and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen. The quintet flirts with pop and art-rock and even ...read more
Cool Norway seems to be the most efficient hothouse for new talents in Europe in recent years. Vocalist Solveig Slettahjell is by no means a new talent, but only now is her third solo disc, with her Slow Motion Quintet, being distributed outside of Norway. Slettahjell was a student of renowned Norwegian vocalist Sidsel Endresen, with whom she collaborated recently in Jon Balke's Batagraf ensemble (Statements, ECM, 2005). She recorded with the experimental all-female vocal quartet Kvitretten, with jazz singers Eldbjørg Raknes, Kristin Asbjörnsen and Tone Åse, and teaches jazz singing at the Norwegian Academy of Music.
Her ...read more
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