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Molde International Jazz Festival 2018

Luca Vitali By

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Trondheim Voices: Folklore

Nine highly talented vocalists (Sissel Vera Pettersen , Anita Kaasbøll, Tone Åse, Kari Eskild Havenstrøm, Natali Abrahamsen Garner, Siri Gjære, Heidi Skjerve, Torunn Sævik, Ingrid Lode) wearing priestly robes performed compositions by Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten (both from Supersilent) with powerful and soul-stirring results, thanks also to the wizard of sound Asle Karstad and fantastic lights of Ingrid Skanke Høsøien. A quiet start with two pieces that were a little slow (the writing by Ståle Storløkken uses voices like a church organ) and perhaps too long, seeing as a few people in the audience gave up. As the performance continued, though, it gained energy and became more absorbing, forceful and engaging. Playing on constant nuances and flashes between whispered Gregorian chant and the use of noise drones, chimes and little else, and sustained by truly remarkable technique, it captured the audience's attention: all ears were strained to catch every breath and subtlety. The ensemble has just released the album Rooms and Rituals (Grappa Records) but this new project is totally different from everything else they've done until now: a great première!

Cross Currents Trio. Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain, Chris Potter

A performance by three great professionals planned down to the finest details. These are three virtuosos on their respective instruments and the trio would seem to be a "total novelty." In actuality, it is the fruit of the previous project called Crosscurrents, expanded by the voice of Shankar Mahadevan and other Indian musicians. Hussain is undoubtedly a talent: he has been on the international jazz scene for many years and knows how to fill the stage with fireworks. In the second part of the concert, he took the mike in homage first to India and to his teachers, with "Suvarna," and then to the guitarist John McLaughlin, his partner in the Shakti project of the early 1970s, with "Jbhai" (Brother John). The trio gave ample space to improvisation but was at the same time controlled (too controlled) and showed admirable interplay. Still, however well done, the whole thing seemed constructed or artificial at times, ready for a recording session in the studio.

Mathias Eick Quintet

Mathias Eick is all smiles and very glamorous, and his music is agreeable and fun to listen to. He has a tight band of excellent musicians. His mastery of his instrument is remarkable, as is his ability to elaborate on the melody . . . the result, however, is just too predictable and never manages to go beyond mere "pleasantness." The audience very much appreciated the set—taken largely from his last album Ravensburg (ECM Records, 2018) and inspired by his grandmother's German origins—also including a few more dated hits like "Oslo" ( Skala , ECM Records, 2011) and "At Sea" ( Midwest, ECM Records, 2015).

Artist in Residence 2019

On Saturday morning, the artist in residence for next year was announced: the hyperactive norwegian drummer Gard Nilssen (Acoustic Unity, Cortex, Bushman´s Revenge, sPacemoNkey, Puma, etc) . We can imagine a lot of very good projects and concerts for next year!

This year, Molde lost none of its charm and thanks to a program that went beyond expectations, thanks to the high quality of the musical line-up, and thanks to exceptionally sunny weather (a rare commodity in this part of the world), it was, quite rightly, a huge success with the public.

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