All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

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...

894

Molde Jazz: Day 1, July 13, 2009

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6


Arve Henriksen Cartography / Bugge Wesseltoft
Molde Jazz
Molde, Norway
July 13, 2009


Descending by plane into Molde airport, it's difficult not to be in awe of the geography surrounding this small town of 25,000 people. Depending on the source, Molde is surrounded by anywhere from 87 to 222 mountains; of course, much of this has to do with the definition of what a mountain is, and where one ends and the next one begins. Regardless, the topography is stunning, a truth made only more compelling on the ground, where a long stretch of coastline reveals more mountains than can easily be counted, in a town that, as is the case with so many small Norwegian locales, possesses the kind of access to culture that would be impossible to support in most (if not all) similarly sized North American towns.

Molde Jazz Festival



It may not be a festival with the same size and attendance as the recently completed Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, but as Norway's largest jazz festival, Molde Jazz possesses a similar vibe. Like Montreal, streets are closed down, but the party atmosphere is a little different. With kiosks set up down the town's main street selling everything from CDs and food to fur and African percussion instruments, it's a small, self-contained village that attracts people to ticketed and free performances that take place at 14 different venues/sites.



Over the course of six days, Molde Jazz will present over 70 shows featuring some of Norway's most innovative artists—amongst them, trumpeters Arve Henriksen and Mathias Eick, pianists/keyboardists Bugge Wesseltoft, Ståle Storløkken and Christian Wallumrød, and groups Huntsville, Supersilent and Jaga Jazzist—as well as an equally significant roster from abroad, including pianists Cecil Taylor and Marilyn Crispell, guitarist Mary Halvorson, singers Jamie Cullum and Melody Gardot, trumpeters Tomasz Stanko and Ambrose Akinmusire, and saxophonists Joshua Redman and Tony Malaby. There's even some beyond jazz on offer, including much-anticipated performances by Marianne Faithful and Leonard Cohen.

Molde Jazz Festival



But it's even more than that. With throngs of people crowding the streets from early in the day to early the next morning—with night only falling fully around midnight and the sun already back on the rise by 4:00 AM, it's easy to keep partying around the clock—musicians even travel to Molde from distant destinations to busk on the street, playing everything from world music to folk music to traditional jazz. And while Norway's international reputation is, perhaps, largely considered for its innovative, forward-thinking approach to jazz, one look at the CD kiosks and one listen to the youth band parading down the street early in the afternoon of the first day of Molde's 49th edition and it becomes crystal clear that the jazz tradition, in its more conventional sense, also remains alive and well.



When the ticketed shows are over, the party continues in the streets, with live performances continuing outdoors until well after 1:00 AM, and bars and clubs packed until well after that. If Montreal is like being on another planet, Molde is like being in a parallel universe—one where hotels have stunning performance spaces, mountains can be seen peeking through even the densest cloud cover while walking between venues that are never more than 10 minutes from each other, and fans of the music traverse the broad age range that some (clearly mistakenly) believe is missing in jazz. No jazz festival for grey hairs this; Molde Jazz is proof that it's possible to draw a younger audience without sacrificing the integrity of the music. It's always been more than a little condescending to consider jazz and improvised music as something that needs to be dumbed down for the youth market, and Norway has been proving, for over four decades, that arts funding to performance and education can and will result in a remarkable upsurge of sophisticated young artists.

Molde Jazz Festival



Molde has its own equivalent of Montreal's By Invitation series, naming an artist in residence each year to bring a series of shows—some with existing groups, others representing first time encounters. This year the artist in residence is trumpeter/vocalist Arve Henriksen, and with Cartography (ECM, 2008) being both his most fully realized album to date and one that is expanding his reach to an international audience, it's a strong choice. Henriksen will appear with his Cartography group, the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble and Supersilent—the groundbreaking noise improv group's first appearance as a trio following the departure of drummer Jarle Vespestad. He'll also perform in duet with Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur, and launch a unique performance featuring Cartography band mate/live sampler Jan Bang, keyboardist Ståle Storløkken and ECM recording group Trio Mediaeval. And for those with strong constitutions, whether it be after a night of little sleep or none whatsoever, Henriksen will deliver a unique performance at 7:00AM on the last day of the festival, featuring one of Norway's most influential artists, keyboardist/composer Jon Balke, alongside percussionist Terje Isungset, cellist Svante Henryson and dancer Therese Skauge.

Chapter Index

  1. Arve Henriksen Cartography
  2. Bugge Wesseltoft

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Newport Jazz Festival 2018: Part 1-2" Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2018: Part 1-2
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 30, 2018
Read "The NJE at Indo, Whitechapel" Live Reviews The NJE at Indo, Whitechapel
by Gareth Thompson
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "John Brackett Quartet at Redfish Restaurant" Live Reviews John Brackett Quartet at Redfish Restaurant
by Martin McFie
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "Ostrava Days 2017" Live Reviews Ostrava Days 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Radio Underground at The Last Stop Sports Bar" Live Reviews Radio Underground at The Last Stop Sports Bar
by Doug Collette
Published: May 12, 2018