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Nordic Sounds

NORDIC SOUNDS

Jazz the Norway

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2005 marks the centennial of Norwegian independence from Sweden. Though you might not know it, Norwegians can, have been, and will be jazzing things up for quite a long time. Some are even among us in NYC! The field of jazz studies is indebted to jazz historians Bjørn Stendahl and Johs Bergh whose published work on Norwegian jazz history is expertly summarized...albeit in need of some editorial fine tuning...at the Norwegian Jazz Base website, part of the National ...

NORDIC SOUNDS

Trumpeter Jarkko Hakala

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Jarkko Hakala speaks like he plays trumpet. Concise, sometimes witty phrases spring forth fully formed from thoughtful silence. The phrases’depth then further impregnates the inevitable pauses with more meaning. These long pauses in conversation show Hakala to be very much from Finland, a country where silence is welcomed, and one does not speak unless one has something meaningful to say. Hakala might attribute the speech pauses to, in his evaluation, his sub-par English, and he might evaluate his own playing ...

NORDIC SOUNDS

Finland's Fringe Music on Forgotten Formats: A Survey of Independent Releases

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In its march to the digital future the sound recording industry has left for dead a variety of formats. The mainstream recording industry long ago abandoned the 7” vinyl single, the 45 rpm, and the cassette. But when the mainstream abandons one technology as obsolete, the underground waits to claim it as a possibility. As the recording industry consolidates its hold on technology and distribution, a growing number of musicians are using the old formats, and a new one, the ...

NORDIC SOUNDS

Two New TUM Releases: John Tchicai & Triot/Aaltonen, Cyrille & Workman

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’Glacial’, ‘pastoral’, Lightless days’, ‘snow swept’: writers often feel compelled to resort to sub-arctic language when describing records coming from the Nordic countries. Of course, this compulsion is not unfounded. Jan Garbarek, Edward Vesala, and many others have all used folk song and spacious, melancholy moods as a basis for improvisation. But brawny free jazz and propulsive rhythms have been used just as much.

Two new albums from the Finnish label TUM belong to this latter category. ...

NORDIC SOUNDS

Live: Yves Robert Trio & Andre Sumelius' Lift

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For the past eight years producer Charles Gil has been doing his part for better European co-operation. A Frenchman living in Finland, he uses the financial support of the French Ministry of Culture and the Finnish organization ESEK to bring Finnish and French improvisers to tour both countries. His first tour was in 1996, and the French representative was the trombonist Yves Robert’s quartet.

In 2004, after fifteen tours, Gil has brought Robert back to Finland, this time ...

NORDIC SOUNDS

The Big Band Music of Onttonen, Ikonen and Mikkonen

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--> The big band’s role in jazz has shifted throughout the years, riding the changes of the music itself. Used to be big bands were the place where young players cut their performance teeth, honed their chops and gained the confidence to develop their own voice. When jazz started to lean towards small groups, the large ensembles waned in popularity, and when it moved into the conservatories, formal instruction took the place of nightly educations.

With the rise ...

NORDIC SOUNDS

Nordic Sounds: Jazz (and Beyond) in the Nordic Countries

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America’s popular culture - be it movies, popular music or jazz - has exerted on 20th century European culture a profound influence. In music critic Simon Frith’s book, Sound Effects , German film director Wim Wenders says, ”The Americans colonized our sub-conscious.” But ironically it was not in America, but in Europe that jazz, labeled by many Stateside critics as ”America’s Classical Music”, was first appreciated intellectually. Many of the first journals and magazines devoted to jazz appeared in France ...

NORDIC SOUNDS

Haarla, Krokfors & Paivinen: Intimate Intensity

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The Finnish composer and drummer Edward Vesala once said, “If you want to make music, do it with 100% conviction or don't bother at all." As a musical setting, duets are a dangerous space: they can clearly show if a musician does not have 100% conviction, for they leave improvisers naked, both technically and emotionally. Such an intimate setting exposes a musician’s technique and ideas without the cover of a whole ensemble, as well as revealing the musician as a ...


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