Pianist/composer Ketil Bjornstad is primarily known for his new age, chamber jazz type outings on the ECM record label. This superbly recorded production is framed upon an imaginary soundtrack – composed for a film story, concerning love and so forth, as described within the liners. Bjornstad composed all these works and performs with guitarist Eivind Aarset, violaist Nora Taksdal and synth ace Kjetil Bjerkestrand.
And as those familiar with Bjornstad’s music would surmise, many of these pieces are based upon quaintly rendered themes and wistful melodies. However, textural synths, percussion grooves and Aarset’s often soaring electric guitar lines counterbalance the leader’s predominately ethereal arrangements. Some of the harmonies and melodies are revisited or reworked throughout the program, amid hearty doses of calming passages and airy treatments. Bjornstad and Taksdal render somber lines during their sobering duet work on “Cookie’s Face No.1.” Yet Bjornstad and Bjerkestrand also integrate low-key, scratch turntable fare and expansive synth swashes into “Underground” and other pieces. Overall, a truly amiable affair consisting of contrasting tone poems and delicately constructed fabrics of sound.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.