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All About Jazz Presents at Kongsberg Jazzfestival: Kongsberg, Norway, July 5-6, 2012

All About Jazz Presents at Kongsberg Jazzfestival: Kongsberg, Norway, July 5-6, 2012
Henning Bolte By

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Kongsberg Jazz Festival
All About Jazz Presents: Doing It Norway
Kongsberg, Norway
July 5-6, 2012

Kongsberg is a small town in Buskerud with about 24,000 inhabitant, situated s 55 miles west of Oslo, the nation's capital. Founded in 1624, after silver was discovered in the hills, the Danish-Norwegian king recruited German miners from the Harz Mountains (migration was common in those times). At that time, Kongsberg was the second largest town in Norway, rivaled only by Bergen. Also hosting the Norwegian Mint since 1686, mining ceasing in 1957, leaving modern-day Kongsberg a high technology center involved in the production of security systems that include armaments.

The Kongsberg Jazz Festival was founded in 1964; nearly forty years later, the 2012 edition presented nearly sixty bands in four days, among them eight bands from Kongsberg region—a lot, considering the town's size—and eighteen non- Norwegian bands. The festival has always sported a strong Norwegian presence, and in recent years has collaborated with Music Export Norway for the Silver City Sounds meeting that brings festival presenters, writers, photographers and other industry people from around the world to network and experience Norwegian culture during the festival's run. With a programming committee directed by Tor Dalaker Lund, the Kongsberg Jazz Festival is a community driven event, with citizens from the town heavily involved as volunteers.

All About Jazz Presents: Doing It Norway in Kongsberg

Regional music scenes get attention from abroad and exchange can take place, depending on what they have to offer—how open-minded, self-conscious and active the people participating are. Norwegian music has experienced remarkable development during the past decade, gaining a leading position across many genres with a considerable number of well-known— or even world famous—musicians. In the jazz sphere, Norway has brought forth concepts and figures that continue to have a considerable impact on the entire genre across the globe. Culture-driven, the scene has arisen out of the specificities of the culture and strong supportive constellations. Given that, it also has to be organized, maintained and developed.

The Kongsberg Jazz Festival, with its strong contingent of Norwegian musicians, the Norwegian scene it supports and the annual Silver City Sounds meeting, has a long history in the field of exchange. Here the idea was born to make a new move and switch roles; the idea was to not only expose Norwegian music to experts of all kinds from outside, but to let an expert from outside present his/her view on Norwegian music. All About Jazz Managing Editor John Kelman—who has been exploring Norwegian jazz with extraordinary engagement, the result of numerous trips to destinations around the country during the last few years—was an obvious choice to execute this task in a reliable, authoritative way.



This also entailed a desired cooperation, by the festival, with All About Jazz's worldwide internet platform. This is how All About Jazz Presents: Doing It Norway came into being; a newly organized element of the festival. The festival commissioned Kelman to program a festival-within-a-festival, selecting a variety of Norwegian groups and providing them the AAJ signature. This is not only a switch in perspectives, but is also an important recognition of the value of contributions from critics and music journalists alike.

July 5, 2012: Eple Trio with Karl Seglem; Aarset/Wsterhus/Endresen/Strønen; Elephant9 with Reine Fiske

The AAJ series started with Eple Trio, featuring saxophonist Karl Seglem. The trio consisted of pianist Andreas Ulvo, double bassist Sigurd Hole, and drummer Jonas Howden Sjøvag. It was a well-developed configuration that operated at the intersection of jazz, folk music and classical chamber music inspired by the approach pioneered by Swedish pianist Jan Johansson, adopted in the 1960s. The group has released three albums, Made This (2007), The Widening Sphere of Influence (2008) and In The Clearing/In The Cavern (2011), all on the Norwegian NORCD-label. The Eple musicians are all involved in various other bands: Ulvo in bands of trumpeter Mathias Eick, saxophonist Froy Aagre and singer Solveig Slettahjell; Hole, together with Hilde Marie Kjersem, in guitarist Jon Eberson's new band (one of the most successful Norwegian musicians); and Sjøvag in his own group, Navyelectre; and all of three participating in Karl Seglem's Quartet.

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