Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Audioguide: Norway in a Nutshell

Emily Jones By

Sign in to view read count

Click the play button in the image below to hear this program.

Every year around 30 jazz promoters and journalists from Europe and the USA make a pilgrimage to the city of Bergen in the west of Norway to experience Nutshell. Established by the various organisations who export Norwegian music, Nutshell showcases the best Norwegian jazz of the moment amidst the incredible scenery of fjords and mountains that the country is famous for. The showcase programme was curated by drummer Gard Nilssen and dovetails with Bergen's longstanding Nattjazz Festival, offering a taste of soul, R&B and world music as well as some excellent Norwegian jazz. This year's showcase included a visit to the town of Voss, a hotspot for extreme sports and the home of Vossajazz: Norway's leading festival for new commissions.

Over the past few decades, Norway has worked hard promoting its artists abroad so jazz fans are already aware of more than Norwegian icon Jan Garbarek. There is still so much to discover, so this edition of Audioguide brings you short snippets of some of the bands from this year's Nutshell and Nattjazz programme.

Saxophonist Hanna Paulsberg is an excellent starting point for this audio excursion, with "Catalan Boy." Since forming the quartet in 2010 she has built a burgeoning career performing over 200 concerts with them, as well as the likes of Chick Corea and Bugge Wesseltoft. Up next is one of Norway's more unique musical exports: Ice Music. Terje Isungset sculpts all his instruments himself from glacier ice (normal ice doesn't resonate or make musical sounds) and performs only with ice instruments and vocalist Maria Skranes. This track is from his new Arctic Ice Music project featuring a small vocal ensemble.

The sounds of ice give way to Nils Okland's "Flukt." Okland plays another Norwegian-made instrument, the Hardanger fiddle, a form of violin used mainly in South West Norway. Modern interpretations of folk music are a favourite in Norway, and Nattjazz featured several, with more to follow here. Our next band emerges in a cloud of squawks before sliding into a groove with just the right amount of swing. Angles 9 (formerly known as Angles 8) are led by a Swede, Martin Kuchen, but the band does include a token Norwegian, saxophonist Eirik Hegdal.

Veteran pianist Dag Arnesen has a particular affection for the music of Edvard Grieg, Norway's most famous composer. As part of the Nutshell programme his trio performed in the modern concert hall on the site of Grieg's house (Troldhaugen). The backdrop to the stage is a large window through which the audience can see Grieg's waterside composing hut. Arnesen's set included the arrangement of "Solveig's Song" featured here. More fiddle follows with accordionist Frode Haltli's Avant Folk band in a track co-produced with avant-garde vocalist Maja S.K. Ratkje, which may explain the deliciously dark electronic soundscape which prefaces the tune.

We pick up the tempo with groove-based project Steamdome, led by Ola Kvernberg, with an altogether different use of the fiddle which is more reminiscent of an electric guitar. Swiftly following this are the cinematic sounding drums, bells and electronics of Erland Dahlen, whose solo performance at Nutshell was brilliantly framed by the setting in an historic church. The mix closes with a lullaby-like folk song from the latest Ice Music album, ending this Norwegian adventure with the crunch of ice.

Playlist

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Radio
Trios, Trios, Trios and Vlek
Source One Man's Jazz
January 16, 2019
Radio
Birth of the Big Bands
Source Jazz at 100
January 15, 2019
Radio
Illuminations: Erik Friedlander's Remarkable Artistry
Source Mondo Jazz
January 15, 2019
Radio
Kenny Werner, Miles Davis & more
Source Neon Jazz
January 14, 2019
Radio
Jaimie Branch's Fly or Die at BIMHUIS, Amsterdam
Source BIMHUIS Radio
January 14, 2019
Radio
Contemporary Carols by Women and Grammy nominations
Source A Broad Spectrum
January 13, 2019
Radio
Rhythm Sustained with Bassist John Gray
Source Doing Jazz
January 13, 2019