The famous folk singer Pete Seeger has once stated that he doesn't listen to recorded music. This underlines the fact that it is actually possible to live a life in music without recording. However, the ghost of recording will often come back to haunt a musician and it is no secret that Seeger has recorded plenty of music himself.
To call Norwegian trumpeter Svein Gjermundrød a late bloomer in the record industry would be an understatement, but at the ripe age of 60, he finally releases his debut: Kitten on the Funkies. Even though he hasn't recorded as a leader before, Gjermundrød has played and written music for many years and this is reflected by the age of the compositions, which date back as far as 1974. On the album, he teams up with singer Hanna Gjermundrød, organist and keyboard-player Steinar S. Nickelsen and drummer Eric Nyland and together they create a potent and varied stew of sounds.
Gjermundrød is a refreshing voiceboth as an instrumentalist and composerhis brand of swinging Scandinavian soul jazz is balanced by his poetic balladry. "Mdaisaa" is a spellbinding duet with Hanna Gjermundrød where her multilayered voice spins a web around his trumpet lines. The piece is punctuated by silence and Gjermundrød tells about his experience of recording it: "We stopped playing for a few seconds during the improvisation and started playing again at the exact same momentwithout visual contact. Magical!"
"Mdaisaa" was composed live in the studio and the album also contains other fresh compositions like the funky "Mindful" and "Aroec" where the influence from Gjermundrød's old hero, Herb Alpert, shines through in the smooth Latin touch.
Kitten on the Funkies reflects a long life lived in music. Gjermundrød's creativity certainly hasn't diminished with age and this is a debut album that would make most musicians proud. One can only hope that Gjermundrød has gotten a taste for recording, but even if this will be the only statement from him, he will be sure to have a left his mark with a beautiful and original album.
Track Listing: Grinder; Double Spring Blues; Mdaisaa; Mindful; Full Flight; Aroec; Kitten on the Funkies; Idun; Traktor med tilhenger; Traktor med trommer; Fuzzy Bear.
Personnel: Svein Gjermundrød: trumpet, flugelhorn; Hanna Gjermundrød: vocal, sampling; Steinar S. Nickelsen: Hammond B-3, synthesizers, wurlitzer; Erik Nylander: drums, percussion.
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.