Source: Rune Grammofon.
Hedvig Mollestad: Ekhidna
In May 2018 Hedvig received an invitation from Vossajazz – the much loved annual festival established in 1973 – to write the commission work for 2019. This came at the right time, she had been thinking about writing for a bigger group than the trio, and this would be a good opportunity. To make it suitable for album release the full festival version was edited, sharpened and recorded from scratch in Amper Tone studio in Oslo. In addition to Hedvig on guitar, the line-up includes powerhouse drummer Torstein Lofthus (Elephant9) and percussionist Ole Mofjell, the youngest member, but with solid experience from the European improvisation scene. Keyboard duties are handled by Marte Eberson, probably most known from her five years with Highasakite, and Erlend Slettevoll (The Core and supergroup Grand General, Rune Grammofon 2013). Hedvig first met trumpeter Susana Santos Silva in Mats Gustafsson´s NU-ensemble. Ekhidna is a figure from Greek mythology; half woman, half snake. Hevig is keen to stress that it´s not a concept album as such, but loosely tied to themes of human struggle and being a mother in times when our increasing inability to live in harmony with nature paints a bleak picture.
I Like To Sleep: Daymare
aking their name from a Thelonious Monk quote, I Like To Sleep are three young Norwegian musicians, all 22 years old. Nicolas Leirtrø and Øyvind Leite first met in high school in Trondheim before they joined up with Amund in a youth big band. It soon became apparent that they shared the same musical background centered around ’70s progressive rock, classical music, jazz, and improvisation. Soon after the trio was formed, first for fun, but soon with higher ambitions, they won the prestigious “Young Jazz Musicians of the Year” award in 2018. Daymare is the trio’s second album, their debut was released on the small All Good Clean Records label in 2017. While their debut showed a lot of quality and promise, their new effort is a huge step forward on all accounts, especially considering their young age. The lazy way would be to place I Like To Sleep with certain other Rune Grammofon “power jazz” groups, but their unique instrumentation, natural openness and youthful curiosity place them apart from the rest. All three members are currently in the middle of their jazz studies at NTNU in Trondheim. They are active as composers, freelancers and in other projects, including concert booking on the city’s vibrant music scene. In case you recognize the name, Amund Storløkken Åse is the son of Ståle Storløkken who as a member of Supersilent appeared on Rune Grammofon’s very first release back in early 1998, and later on several more records with Supersilent, Humcrush, Elephant9, and a couple of times with Motorpsycho. The circle is closed. Personnel: Amund Storløkken Åse – vibraphone; Nicolas Leirtrø – baritone guitar; Øyvind Leite – drums.
Master Oogway: Earth And Other Worlds
Master Oogway are four young musicians aged between 23 and 26. They met at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2015 with a common desire to play vibrant, improvised music with strong themes and room for spontaneity at a high energy level. Like many players on the young, Norwegian progressive jazz scene their instrumental skills are already highly developed but never used to show off. Earth And Other Worlds is the quartet’s second album, their debut was released on the Clean Feed label in 2018. Their new effort is more dynamic and varied and shows more mature and accomplished songwriting, not to mention the stronger group interactions and the impressive solo stretches from sax player Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll and guitarist/composer Håvard Nordberg Funderud. While it’s fair to say that they operate in much of the same musical landscape as Bushman’s Revenge or Kokofant, it’s equally fair to note that their general approach and attitude comes with a slightly stronger emphasis on jazz. Håvard Nordberg Funderud finished his bachelor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2018 and has also studied in Gothenburg and Copenhagen. He is involved in several projects, but Master Oogway is his priority. Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll and Karl Erik Horndalsveen have both finished their education at the same academy as Funderud. Martin Heggli Mellem is currently finishing his bachelor at the jazz program at NTNU in Trondheim. Personnel: Håvard Nordberg Funderud – guitar; Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll – saxophone; Karl Erik Horndalsveen – double bass; Martin Heggli Mellem – drums.