Music from Norway: Just How Important Is It, Really?

Eivind Aarset at Moers Festival 2006, Germany
Eivind Aarset at Moers Festival 2006, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While not focused exclusively on avant-jazz, this article provides a highly detailed overview of the Norwegian music scene in general and the culture that supports it.

When it comes to jazz in Norway, one of the accusations from the US “jazz police” (by no means representative of everyone, any more than the right wing extremists represent the entire country) is that the music Norway is making may be good, but it’s emphatically not jazz. The truth, if you dig beneath the surface, however – sometimes not very far at all – is that many of the musicians who are famous today, like Arve Henriksen, Stian Westerhus, Nils Petter Molvær, Thomas Strønen, Ståle Storløkken, Ola Kvernberg, Eivind Aarset and Håkon Kornstad, all have the background to play something more akin to American jazz; they just choose not to.