Who could have ever imagined that the troll, legendary character of Nordic mythology, could love jazz?
The Oslo Jazz Festival (from August 12 to 18 ) has brought the existential love proof of this mythical figure to the African-American and European music, Scandinavian version. Because for decades, the Nordic jazz school is indeed a reality – often unplayable in France! – in Europe and beyond.
Nowadays, it comes in two classes: the old one, like Terje Rypdal, Palle Mikkelbord and Jon Christensen, who continue their adventure in a music both refined and meditative – like ECM! – and the young generation who willingly quotes the US jazz standards and stars.
In this category, there is a special mention for the trombonist Quintet Kristoffer Kompen, who, in a super pub atmosphere (“Herr Nilsen“), delivered a very inspired music by Duke Ellington’s world, to the point of making new classical arrangements from the pianist’s original chords. While adding the boldness of youth!
©Photo all rights: Oslo Jazz Festival.
However, facing the surging youth, the old guard is resisting.
Like the Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal, 71 years old, and Danish trumpet/bugle player Palle Mikkelborg, 77 years old, gathered in a baptized group “Conspiracy” (Staale Storloekken, keyboards ; Endre Hareide Hallre, bass ; Paal Thowsen, drums).
From where emerges from the beginning a very experimental music based on electrified and electronic sounds, echoes effects (especially on the trumpet), very strong rhythms and notes given with a certain parsimony. We find in this musical side the planing yet electro approach with acid-jazz accents, and a guitar on the edge of distortion with a riot of hyper electrified sounds, a form of meditative fusion so dear to improvised music and Nordic lyrical.
This airy atmosphere, calmer and more zen, which allows the spirit to wander in the immensity and the unique beauty of the Norwegian fjords, has undoubtedly cleared of a super group led by the venerable Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen , 75 years old.
With Palle Mikkelbord, Danish electric guitarist Jacob Bro and American bassist Thomas Morgan, the drummer, who is one of the pillars and legends of the ECM German team, has offered a clean, climatic, calm and dreamy acoustic jazz (Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria) in which each note, played with economy, is precisely weighed, reflected , calculated. Rare but still useful and subtle. Here no excessive demonstrations, no overflowing solos, no ecstatic chorus. Everything is atmospheric, airy, hovering and even enjoyable. And when the leader mime in the air his (im) probable solo that could announce itself explosive (?), Only the stick just barely touches a cymbal or a drum. An original music played with the economy, with a certain rigor (coldness?), All Nordic but that does not leave us unmoved!
Someone who does not leave indifferent, is the singer Sinne Eeg.
Entering with “My Favorite Things” – this Rodgers & Hammerstein song written for the Broadway musical “The Sound of Music” in 1959, masterfully revised and corrected by John Coltrane – the Danish vocalist sets the tone of her show and especially her repertoire. So standards and love songs will be present. Especially since, pushed by a very beautiful voice, placed with justice and elegance, Sinne Eeg also demonstrates her passion for scat and swing which are her other two masterful qualities. All with obvious naturalness and supported by a trio led by her usual pianist, Jacob Christofferson. A great lady of sung jazz, whose legacy is that of the divas of the genre!