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...

2

Oslo Jazz Festival 2018

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count

Nordisk Showcase

Sentralen, a multi-floored, multi-venued complex housed in a former bank, played host to the Nordisk Showcase, which featured groups from jazz schools and conservatories across Scandinavia, as well as one from Scotland and another from South Africa, somewhat straining the geographic boundaries of Nordic in the process. The building was packed with a mainly young audience which augurs well for the future of the Norwegian scene, even if not all of them stick around for the more complex stuff.

Of the bands I caught, Aganche Lynx from Malmo in Sweden gave a very theatrical presentation, primarily through singer Agnes Kofoed Christianson. Although their songs were jazzy and occasionally folky sounding, they didn't afford a lot of space for individual improvisation, but they addressed that through a novel way of devising a continuous performance, by using melodramatic declamations or solos from drums or piano to link numbers.

Riffs aplenty from Bangkok Lingo, a young very energetic five piece from Oslo, really got their hometown audience going. They featured some effective contrapuntal interplay between Lyder Øvreås Røed's trumpet and Lauritz Skeidsvoll's tenor sax. A volatile exchange between the drummer and percussionist also garnered a positive reaction on "Lost Tribes."

From the WITS School of Arts in Johannesburg, the WITS Art Collective delivered a set of melodic jazz, irresistable rhythms and soulful vocals from Keorapetse Kolwane. On Miriam Makeba's "African Sunset," pianist Mdu Mtschali gradually took the rootsy rhythm further and further out until he was bashing out time with the flats of his hands, though still maintaining the same lilting cadence. On trumpet, Tal Gordon both shaded the vocal line but also smoldered with passionate intensity on the ballads, to conjure a suitably late night vibe.

Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson

Not part of the Nordic Showcase, but appearing in the same complex, the Norwegian/Icelandic duo of Jo Berger Myhre and Ólafur Björn Ólafsson created a soundscape which went far beyond the drum and bass instrumentation. Bassist Myhre has played with the likes of Nils Petter Molbær, Splashgirl, Susanna and Mariam the Believer, while the Icelandic drummer and keyboard player Ólafsson has performed with Sigur Rós, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Skúli Sverrisson. They began in intriguing fashion as Myhre bowed a cross between whale song and Bach, against Ólafsson's spacey drone. Unfortunately their slowly intensifying dynamic took a turn for the worse when Ólafsson switched to an amplified primal throb at the drum kit, as the volume made me fear for my hearing, driving me from the room.

Outro

Judging by turnouts alone, the festival could be counted a resounding success. All the concerts seemed well-attended by a variety of ages. That was particularly true of the Nordisk Showcase on the final weekend, with a predominantly young throng. Perhaps they were attracted by free entry to an evening's entertainment, but if so it was a successful ploy. But the Festival was also very much a success in terms of the extensive spread of styles presented, especially as that was happily achieved without stretching the definition of jazz to breaking point, as done by some other major festivals which include rock acts to bolster income. If one area was under-represented it was at the freer end of the spectrum. It was interesting that the annual Blow Out! Festival of improvised music was on during the same week. That might present an opportunity for closer cooperation in future years through some sort of link up, in promotion if nothing else.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

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 Chicago Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Chicago Jazz Festival 2018
by Patrick Burnette
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "John Beasley’s Monk’estra At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews John Beasley’s Monk’estra At SFJAZZ
by Walter Atkins
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Moers Festival 2018" Live Reviews Moers Festival 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: July 27, 2018
Read "Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 1-2" Live Reviews Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 1-2
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue" Live Reviews Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue
by Barry Witherden
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "Nice Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Nice Jazz Festival 2018
by Martin McFie
Published: August 1, 2018
Read "Charlie Parr At Higher Ground" Live Reviews Charlie Parr At Higher Ground
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018