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Ola Kvernberg: Steamdome

Read "Steamdome" reviewed by Chris May

Steamdome is one of those albums that defies categorisation. It is part future-jazz, part avant-rock, part deep-house, part electronica, part contemporary-classical. It is the follow-up to Norwegian violinist and film composer Ola Kvernberg's whirlwind The Mechanical Fair (Olsen, 2016). That album was memorably pitched as heralding a “mutton western" genre, and the description also fits Steamdome, which winningly references some of Ennio Morricone's compositional tropes. There are a couple of substantial differences between the two albums. The first is that ...

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Music for a While: Graces That Refrain

Read "Graces That Refrain" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Five years have passed since Norwegian quintet Music for a While released its debut, Weill Variations (Grappa, 2007), a collection of fresh, outspoken versions of Kurt Weill songs. Now this dream team band--headed by cabaret diva Tora Augestad, with accordionist Stian Carstensen (leader of Farmers Market), trumpeter Mathias Eick (from Jaga Jazzist and a leader in his own right), tubaist Martin Taxt (from the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Koboku Senju) and drummer Pål Hausken (from In the Country)--delivers a magnificent ...

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Jan Gunnar Hoff: Magma

Read "Magma" reviewed by John Kelman

Keyboardist Jan Gunnar Hoff may not have the international visibility of fellow keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft, but with a growing discography dating back to the mid-1990s and including, most recently, the powerfully fusion-esque Jungle City (Alessa, 2009), with fellow countryman/bassist Per Mathisen and ex-Weather Report percussionist/drummer Alex Acuna, that deserves to change. At the core of the eminently accessible yet equally deep Magma is a Norwegian posse that includes drummer Audun Kleive and bassist Bjørn Kjellemyr--two-thirds of guitarist Terje Rypdal's internationally ...

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Music for a While: Weill Variations

Read "Weill Variations" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Any ensemble with a female vocalist performing a program based on the songs of composer Kurt Weill calls for immediate comparisons to such iconic interpreters of the composer's repertoire by actress/vocalist Lotte Lenya (who was married to Weill) and actress/vocalist Uta Lemper. But Music for a While is not afraid of such obvious references. The Norwegian quintet features some of the most open-minded musicians on the fertile Norwegian scene--actress/vocalist Tora Augestad, multi-instrumentalist and leader of the Balkan-tinged Farmers Market Stian ...

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Bergen Big Band with Karin Krog: Seagull

Read "Seagull" reviewed by Marc Medwin

Norwegian singer Karin Krog is best known in more avant-garde settings, so this big band session of standards came as a surprise. The experience grew more and more pleasant as the music progressed--Krog's conversational delivery is engaging and her obvious joy in the music is infectious. Approaching 70, Krog is as energetic and as thoughtful as ever; while her experimental work may be better, this new disc sports many fine arrangements, some convicted playing and a lot of fun. The ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Knut Reiersrud: Himalaya Blues

Read "Knut Reiersrud: Himalaya Blues" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Knut Reiersrud/Hans Fredrik Jacobsen/Vajra Himalaya Blues Grappa 2004

Norwegian blues guitarist Knut Reiersrud has collaborated in the last 25 years with blues legends such as Buddy Guy and Otis Rush, when he was only 18 years old, and with experimental guitarists such as Henry Kaiser and David Lindley, while he was acting as researcher, consultant and production assistant in Kaiser and Lindley's musical exploration of Norway ( The Sweet Sunny North, Shanachie, ...