Lakeside Luminaries: Møster!, Ståle Storløkken and Sheila Jordan all shine at Vossa Jazz

 MOSTER

To begin with, Vossa Jazz has the advantage of its tranquil, scenic setting by the large Vangsvatnet lake, surrounded by the misty, snow-capped mountains, looming up in the distance. The small town of Voss hosts one of Norway's longest running jazz festivals, inaugurated back in 1973. Most of the acts play
in the central Park Hotel, which has several suitable spaces in which to house stages of varying sizes. The programming stance of Vossa Jazz is quite adventurous, even by Norwegian standards, presenting artists that inhabit zones of free improvisation, electronica and extreme guitar mangling.

Krog-og-Surman 0063-FAV

The majority of the acts are indigenous, with many of these being key players who enjoy high international profiles. There are also a few out-of-towners involved, not least the New York beatnik singer Sheila Jordan, while English reedman John Surman was making a relatively rare appearance with longtime partner,
singer Karin Krog, surprisingly, now in her 80th year. This pair played early in the evening, in the converted cinema, Gamlekinoen, delivering the expected homely, intimate performance, their warm rapport spreading outwards across an attentive audience. In this setting, Surman eases back into a gentle backing role for much of the time, playing be-boppin' baritone runs, heading towards 'In A Sentimental Mood'. He chases Krog's lines with a silvery skipping fluidity, words and saxophone phrases holding hands closely. She recites a poem, and he whispers underneath, on bass clarinet, while both Surman and Krog are subtly tweaking their source sounds with soft echo and diaphanous synth-spirallings.

Pasborg Storlkken OD

Also in the cinema, this time in its foyer, Ståle Storløkken's mighty Hammond organ lay in wait, alongside Stefan Pasborg's drumkit. Storløkken is all over, but mostly known as a crucial element of Supersilent and Elephant9. The duo's set matched extreme grind with an almost ridiculous humour, as they dug
up rumbling churchy Black Sabbath riffs and scurried into a rat-infested Gothic crypt. The winding, stoned steps to melodramatic excess were traversed, up and down, several times before their load was shot. Storløkken's bass footwork thrummed beside Pasborg's scattering sticks, entering a creepy Twin Peaks forest, shuffling until the full force returns again, with piledriver drums and Phibes phibrilations. Storløkken can also be subtle, traipsing out thin pipe lines while Pasborg makes thin cymbal scrapes.

Mette R1

More raw power was imbibed straight afterwards, on the hotel basement stage, with alto saxophonist Mette Rasmussen (a Dane dwelling in Trondheim) attaining one of the weekend's plateaux, assisted by an all-star band of freedom fighters. With double trouble in the shape of Paul Lytton, Raymond Strid (drums),
Torbjörn Zetterberg and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (basses), her own enraged soloing taking repeated wing amid their battling sides. This was some of the most inspired improvisation witnessed in a while, with natural, organic partnerships emerging, ranging from detailed near-silence into worrying confrontation, the entire quintet working as a single fevered brain. Unleashed, Rasmussen's high wails scrape the low ceiling, dispersed across the rubble of bass/drums scrabble, shot out with a fearsome power and accuracy.

At high noon, on Saturday, in the Ole Bull Akadamiet, just up the hill from the central church, we'd expect guitarist Kim Myhr to open the proceedings sensitively, with his ambient shimmering structures, but in reality, he's already off into another area, making simple open strums and doctoring these resonances via various table-top knob-adjustments, highlighting tones, refracting repeats into an accumulating clangour. When he does pick intricately, it's with the drooped claw manner of a Delta bluesman, before the avalanche of delays arrives. His fingering becomes percussive, aggressively ambient, openly strumming with his right hand, using his left to twiddle the dials. As his hour progresses, it becomes increasingly Terry Riley-ed, the 12 strings becoming so oppressively heightened that we attain the sound of helicopter blades by the fully industrial finale.

20170408 Jordan-and-Brown 0653-kopi

There couldn't be a more subtle follow-up than Sheila Jordan, partnered in intimacy by bassman Cameron Brown. She's slightly scatterbrained, but this is partly down to an informal stand-up act where she's closely in tune with the crowd. At the age of 88, Jordan is allowed to forget a few lines, and improvises
with scatting deftness, into 'The Very Thought Of You' and 'Yesterdays', inventing words about the old days with Lee Konitz and Lennie Tristano, back in the early 1950s. Jordan and Brown play 'Baltimore Oriole', propped up by a walking bassline, delivering in sprechgesang. Then Jordan dedicates a sequence of tunes to the memory of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, so the eras traversed are emphatically of a sepia vintage, as Jordan and Brown breeze through 'Cheek To Cheek' and 'Let's Face The Music And Dance'.

The Saturday high point was provided by Møster!, a band led by new-ish on-the-scene (at least outside Norway, as he's now freshly-40) saxophone voice Kjetil Møster, and also featuring Storløkken again. This guitar and synth-loaded line-up facilitates a titanic explosion of free-groove abandonment, with most
of their set operating at full-strength, another heady jump-cut to a radically altered universe. It was becoming apparent that such a shunt is an important aspect of the Vossa Jazz programming success. Straight afterwards, the old-guard trumpet star Nils Petter Molvær suffered by comparison. Strong though his set was, and operating on a similarly beyond-jazz level, his atmospheric creations sounded oddly dated, with the 1990s being too close for comfort, while Møster's acid-soaked 1960s visions are now safely beyond time, strangely more up to the moment than Molvær's 'ambient-dance-jazz', despite the sterling rock-pose efforts of his guitarist (and pedal steel-er) Geir Sundstøl.

Areve-001

Sunday's best set unwound early in the afternoon, with percussionist Terje Isungset leading a starry ensemble that included Arve Henriksen (trumpet), Morten Qvenild (keyboards), Nils Økland (fiddle) and Mats Eilertsen (bass). Even though they played the specially-commissioned 'Sildrande' piece for around
90 minutes, our attention was constantly gripped, even during the most environmental of openness. Isungset's bass drum fullness reverberated deeply, the twinned Hardanger fiddles bowed with dignified stateliness, and Henriksen revealed a deep desire to plunge his horns into an amplified fishtank, and rattle them around, always in search of previously unexplored aural possibilities. The conclusion came amid the sound of dripping cave-walls, dispersed around the cinema theatre via surrounding speakers, encouraging a poignant form of meditational contemplation.

Later, the trio In The Country, regularly keen on collaborations, presented a team-up with blues guitarist Knut Reiersrud and singer Solveig Slettahjell. Although the concept was to address the blues repertoire, in reality this seemed to be more specific, focusing on the gospel-inflected end of the street. The quintet made a fine balance between reflecting the idioms and impressing them with their own traits, subtly updating such chestnuts as 'Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen' and 'Trouble In Mind'. This was a satisfying way to finish the weekend, with a project that melded elements of genre tradition and wayward intervention, setting folks on their way with a springy steps and spiritually heavy hearts.

– Martin Longley

– Photos by Amalie Johannessen and Runhild Heggem/Vossa Jazz

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP sets by entering the Jazzwise Reader Survey

WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP s…

We'd love to know what you think of Jazzwise. We...

Read More.....
Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble with nine new talents on board

Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble wit…

Leading UK pianist Zoe Rahman is set to head up...

Read More.....
Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBLE and Theon Cross Trio unite Chicago and London for International Anthems

Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBL…

Some of the most exciting names from London and Chicago's...

Read More.....
The Write Stuff adds new qualification for young writers aged 18-25

The Write Stuff adds new qualification f…

This year's Write Stuff music journalism course will return for...

Read More.....
Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New single from Wayne Shorter produced seven-piece Holophonor

Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New s…

Fast emerging US progressive jazz seven-piece Holophonor are set to...

Read More.....
Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees announced

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees …

  The nominees for the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been...

Read More.....
John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack was one of those figures who seem to...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for Jazz Voice’s tenth anniversary at EFG London Jazz Festival

Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for…

The names have been revealed for this year's 10th edition...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Plays Ravel

Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Pl…

Swiss piano trio VEIN release their latest album, VEIN Plays...

Read More.....
Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orchestra for Turner Sims autumn/winter programme

Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orche…

Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Innovation showcase – video preview

Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Inn…

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will...

Read More.....
Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Events on tour

Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Event…

Pianist and composer Tom Millar starts his autumn tour this...

Read More.....
Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Brighton's Duke of York

Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Br…

  Colin Stetson has enough draw to fill this arthouse cinema...

Read More.....
A show of hands for percussion legend Giovanni Hidalgo at Jazz Cafe

A show of hands for percussion legend Gi…

Some of the UK's leading percussionists will be gathering at...

Read More.....
Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen may have been two against...

Read More.....
Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ottignon added to EFG London Jazz Fest 25th anniversary Line-Up

Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ot…

This year's momentous 25th EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....
Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltrane hit silver screen

Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltr…

  September can be a quiet month for music fans, after...

Read More.....
Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Prom Night

Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Pro…

Charlie Mingus famously encouraged musicians to play without charts, creating...

Read More.....
Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South The Songbook – “…a British Quincy Jones”

Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South…

Pub conversations can get you in a world of grief...

Read More.....
Obituary: Sue Steward

Obituary: Sue Steward

One of Songlines' founding contributing editors, and Jazzwise writer, Sue...

Read More.....
John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

John Abercrombie 1944 – 2017

The final two recordings by guitarist John Abercrombie for the...

Read More.....
Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go supernova with the Jimi Hendrix Songbook

Mansur Brown and Yussef Dayes go superno…

Rising star guitarist Mansur Brown and exciting drummer Yusef Dayes...

Read More.....
Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get Canary Wharf Jazz Fest moving

Omar Puente and Melt Yourself Down get C…

The Canary Wharf Jazz Festival has been successfully putting on...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’

Video Exclusive for Sam Braysher’s ‘Danc…

Emerging UK sax talent Sam Braysher releases his intimate new...

Read More.....
Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get Gaume grooving

Dhafer Youssef and Get the Blessing get …

  When Get the Blessing call for audience participation, they're startled...

Read More.....
Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

Kinch and Carroll cap Sligo capers

The combined festival and summer school in Sligo have had...

Read More.....
Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue Prospers

Southampton Gets Ahead As New Jazz Venue…

  (Pianist Jason Rebello guests on the Talking Heads stage with...

Read More.....
Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse at The Verdict

Edwards and Castle pursue chaotic pulse …

  'Crossover' is a word much employed by critics when talking...

Read More.....
Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelheim's artist-in-residence

Mark Guiliana makes mark as Jazz Middelh…

Jazz Middelheim is a great jazz fest situated in front...

Read More.....
Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruket light up Ystad Jazz Fest

Marius Neset, Nils Landgren and Tonbruke…

Now in its eighth year the Ystad Jazz Festival (not...

Read More.....
Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Music kicking

Hyelim Kim and Alice Zawadzki get K-Musi…

This year's edition of the London Festival of Korean Music...

Read More.....
Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' – Video Exclusive

Binker & Moses 'Fete By The River' –…

  Clap your pies on this vid exclusive from award-winning London...

Read More.....
Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Moldejazz Pack

Steve Lehman and Pat Metheny Lead The Mo…

Flying north-west from Oslo on a propeller aeroplane, the first...

Read More.....
Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Dream At Manchester Jazz Fest

Redman's Rhythmic Reveries Live The Drea…

Joshua Redman (top), looking super svelte in suit and dicky...

Read More.....
Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and the Ancestors get Jazz à Juan jumping

Anoushka Shankar, Hiromi and Shabaka and…

After the terrible events on the Promenade des Anglais on...

Read More.....
Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Vote Now for 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awa…

This year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards will take place on 10...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@frozenreeds yeah, I think this might be his Sultans of Ping FC covers band (with a misanthropic edge)
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@frozenreeds you seen who it is?
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA