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Take Five with Andreas Loven

Andreas Loven By

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About Andreas Loven:
Andreas Loven is a pianist and composer from Oslo, Norway, and is currently signed to the acclaimed Norwegian jazz label Losen Records. He departed from his career in engineering, moved to South Africa and ventured into jazz in his early twenties. He has since performed extensively in South Africa with artists such as Shane Cooper, Mandla Mlangeni, Buddy Wells, Keenan Ahrends, Jonno Sweetman, Nick Williams, Romy Brauteseth, Clement Benny and others.

Recent performances in Europe include the Oslo Jazz Festival, Canal Street and the National Jazz Scene.

In January 2015, Andreas released his debut album, Nangijala, to critical acclaim. The album consisted of duos with South African saxophone legend and close friend, Buddy Wells with Spha Mdlalose on vocals.

Instrument(s):
Piano

Teachers and/or influences?
Teachers: Tord Gustavsen and South African College of Music. Influences: Bheki Mseleku, Keith Jarrett, Moses Molelekwa, Brad Mehldau, Espen Berg, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Mulgrew Miller, Tord Gustavsen, Herbie Tsoale, Jon Balke, Bokani Dyer, Eyolf Dale, Jan Lundgren.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I've played since I was six years old and always loved music, but my aspiration to become a professional musicians came late when I was 23.

Both Tord Gustavsen and I suffer the fate of losing our brothers way too early in car accidents. The power of music, and hence my decision to pursue music seriously, manifested itself through Tord's second ECM album, The Ground (he wrote about dealing with the loss of his brother). That album, and later experiencing the trio live made it clear to me that there was no other way.

Road story: Your best experience
South African saxophonist Buddy Wells and I drove through Norway on tour in 2014, supporting the Nangijala album. We played an intimate concert in a small church by the ocean at the west coast (Stad). Driving there, we got lost and detoured. By the time we arrived at the church, it was packed, with everyone waiting for the music to start. But the piano was at the back of the church, and everybody was watching as Buddy and I pushed the upright up the church floor to the front. Classic moment!

Favorite venue
National Jazz Scene in Oslo. Super professional, amazing Steinway, nice audience spirit. And the small, informal venue Native Yards in Gugulethu, Cape Town, is a true experience.

Did you know...
I used to compete in extreme skiing, and crushed the bones in my right hand launching a 30 feet cliff. The surgeons did their best to patch it up. But ever since that accident, I cannot lift my middle finger properly, making some kinds of fingering, lines and particular keys a struggle.

The first jazz album I bought was:
Miles Davis: Kind of blue

Your sound and approach to music.
To me, music is about feel.

Your dream band
Over the last year I have developed two new quartets: one in South Africa (Buddy Wells, Clement Benny and Romy Brauteseth) and one in Norway (Hans Hulbækmo, Andreas Roligheten, Trygve Waldemar Fiske).

Both quartets are so amazing I don't think I want to change sidemen... But, playing in a trio with two Norwegian greats, Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen, wow that would be amazing. I wonder whether they would eat me alive?

Music you are listening to now:
Moses Molelekwa: Genes and Spirits
Daniel Herskedal: Slow Eastbound Train
Espen Berg: Acres of Blue
Mandla Mlangeni: Bhekisizwe
Albatrosh: Night Owl

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Societies learn from the past and keep evolving. So should music. Also, art serves as an important foundation for human development. Hence, it should not be conducted by markets.

Venues, institutions and artists need proper funding which modern hyperproductive societies easily can afford. (even though some politicians think it's all about growth in the formal economy. It's not.)

What is in the near future?
Touring Norway and South Africa on my new album, District Six (Losen Records).

And I am working on a large ensemble project titled Marabi, rooted in early South African jazz piano traditions for dancing and letting go.

What is your greatest fear when you perform?
Sometimes, losing the band (what the f/&% is going on?...) And other times, not being able to let go of that worried state of whatever stupid worry that creeps into you. Learning about flow and acceptance theory have made it easier to really be present and enjoy gigs.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
"Noctilucent" by Norwegian pianist Espen Berg.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
Lately, "Bhekisizwe" by South African trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
I've tried some other professions, it just doesn't work for me.

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