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Ketil Bjornstad: Ketil Bjornstad: Sunrise (A cantata on texts by Edvard Munch)

Read "Ketil Bjornstad: Sunrise (A cantata on texts by Edvard Munch)" reviewed by John Kelman

For a country with such a small population, Norway has much to be proud of when it comes to the arts...and not just music, though it remains a country whose support has certainly resulted in a disproportionate number of creative musicians across the broadest musical spectrum. Looking at the violin and its variants alone, there is the traditional Hardanger fiddle work of Nils Okland, already known to fans of the ECM label for albums including Lysoen: Hommage a Ole Bull ...

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Ketil Bjornstad: La Notte

Read "La Notte" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Recorded live on July 21st 2010 at the Molde International Jazz Festival, Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad's La Notte is an eight piece suite inspired by the 1961 drama of the same name by the great Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. It is not, however, a mere Antonioni tribute, but an homage to innovative filmmakers in general and in a way to the art of cinema itself. Opening with haunting strings and Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur's rumbling beats the first ...

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Ketil Bjornstad: Early Piano Music

Read "Early Piano Music" reviewed by John Kelman

For a label that's been instrumental in reinventing the concept of solo piano performance, it's surprising that ECM has never released a recital from Ketil Bjørnstad. Instead, they've provided a forum for the Norwegian neo-classicist to experiment in contexts ranging from the duos of Life in Leipzig Night Song to the trio of Remembrance, and the expansive sextet on the forthcoming Antonioni Project, recorded in performance at Molde Jazz 2010. But long before he began achieving international prominence with ECM, ...

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Ketil Bjornstad / Svante Henryson: Night Song

Read "Night Song" reviewed by John Kelman

The relative merits of technical aptitude, when it comes to music, are often hotly debated. Surely possessing more comprehensive and masterful control over the vocabulary of music would be a plus; how, then, can a raw, unschooled bluesman like Robert Johnson resonate in ways that more schooled artists sometimes cannot? Proficiency, then, is really only an acquired tool, a means, a vernacular; and while it's true that there are those musicians who struggle and accomplish much, equally, there are those ...

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Ketil Bjornstad: Remembrance

Read "Remembrance" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The disc is called Remembrance, but it could just as well have been tagged “Prayers" or “Hymns," or “The Search for Peace and Tranquility," words that seems a fit with the music of Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad.Bjørnstad began his sojourn at ECM Records with Water Stories in 1993. In his eight recordings for the label since then, he has played often with string men, including cellist David Darling and guitarist Terje Rypdal, but this time out he enlists ...

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Ketil Bjornstad: Remembrance

Read "Remembrance" reviewed by John Kelman

In a career spanning four decades that only began reaching a wider international audience with the release of his first album for ECM, Water Stories (1993), Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad has collaborated with many fellow Scandinavians, including guitarists Terje Rypdal and Eivind Aarset, bassist Arild Andersen, drummer Jon Christensen and live sampler Jan Bang. Surprisingly, he has rarely worked with saxophonists, notable exceptions being Bendik Hofseth on 2001's profoundly moving Grace (Emarcy), and Wolfgang Puschnig on the similarly sublime Devotions ...

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Ketil Bjorstad / Terje Rypdal: Life in Leipzig

Read "Life in Leipzig" reviewed by Budd Kopman

What a sound--a feast for the ears! Life in Leipzig presents pianist Ketil Bjørnstad and guitarist Terje Rypdal in concert at Leipzig's Opera House, during that city's jazz festival in 2005, with music that will astound those unfamiliar with these players or the manner in which they interact. This performance is a snapshot of much history at the ECM label. Rypdal was present almost at its inception, playing on fellow Norwegian Jan Garbarek's Afric Pepperbird (ECM, 1971), ...

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Ketil Bjornstad / Terje Rypdal: Life in Leipzig

Read "Life in Leipzig" reviewed by John Kelman

The reward is great when a new and unusual teaming of musicians turns out to be not only artistically and critically successful, but the genesis of long term musical relationships. When ECM's Manfred Eicher proposed bringing neoclassical pianist Ketil Bjørnstad, generally rock- inflected, but stylistically broad guitarist Terje Rypdal, cellist David Darling and drummer Jon Christensen together, it seemed more incongruous than inspired. Eicher's reputation for astutely seeing potential where most would not resulted, however, in two albums from this ...

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Ketil Bjornstad: Before the Light

Read "Before the Light" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 ...

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Ketil Bjornstad & David Darling: Epigraphs

Read "Epigraphs" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Pianist Ketil Bjornstad and cellist David Darling have been collaborating for quite awhile, namely within the group, “The Sea” yet their duet performances on the 1996 CD, The River offered listeners an enticing array of intersecting themes, sublime melodies and astute yet altogether thought-provoking interplay! With their latest effort, Epigraphs Darling and Bjornstad continue to produce somber, harmonious and imbued passages amid the often austere dialogue and introspective musings.

Essentially, the music presented here tends to mirror the now infamous ...