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Vossa Jazz 2016

Ian Patterson By

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Throwaway pop? Not a bit of it. These were all keepers. Great fun, and a great way to draw a line under three days of outstanding music.


Vossa Jazz may be an international festival—and the presence of marquee names in Dave Holland and Tony Allen certainly added lustre to the line-up—but in essence, the three-day festival is a celebration of all that is great in Norwegian music. The music was as brilliant as it was diverse and frequently exceeded all expectations. For such imaginative programing, festival director Trude Storheim deserves all the plaudits, though her excellent team of trusted aides and the volunteers all contributed hugely to the smooth running and friendly atmosphere of the festival.

More than just a celebration of music, Vossa Jazz 2016 was a celebration of community, with the concerts for young, old and the disadvantaged making for a very significant part of the program, indeed of the festival's identity. More festivals could perhaps take a leaf out of Voss Jazz' book in this regard.

One nagging doubt, however, still remained; what had the children's opera been about? Happily, a chance encounter with the opera's Director, Ingrid Langen Fjose explained everything: "In a small town where nothing happens, every day is the same. Suddenly, a famous singer arrives with a dancer. All the men in the town fall in love with her and the press comes from outside the town to report the goings on. In the end, the famous artist leaves and the town returns to quiet as before. It says that a quiet life is better."

It's a tale that in some ways reflects the glorious musical hijacking of Voss that has taken place over one weekend, annually, since 1974. Except, that after three extraordinary days of music you rather feel that the inhabitants might just be sorry to see the jazz circus leave town.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Vossa Jazz/Runhild Heggem


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