Saturday, JULY 18, 2009:
The last day of the Molde Jazz Festival
A face to the exellent sound at the festival:
Sverre Walderhaug, Lydkjellern, Ålesund.
Vi enjoyed ourselves more than we ever thought during this festival.
Not being experts in Jazz in any sense, other than having a very warm heart
for Jazz. Beating for the Norwegian jazz heritage, that we, with a festival
like this, can hand over to our children.
Because the festival had a lot of young listeners. Young hearts that made the
artist feel welcomed and wanted. At some concerts it was surprisingly obvious
that jazz is not in any danger of being just something my generation can understand,
and find joy from.
Good to see was also the many young artist, they could be may more of course,from
the different academies in Norway, but still we are pleased by what we saw of
young blood. We would like though, in the future, to have students having their
graduation concerts at Molde.
The women in jazz, are something that the festival have had in good mind. Our
personal highlights comes from brave girls, who are not afraid of making their
own territory and bend the notes in their own direction.
We have tried to put a little spotlight on the sound crew, doing very good work
to make every concert a unforgettable event. One firm came all the way from
Tromsø, one came from Ålesund, not to forget Molde Forum, who did
a equal good job, presenting the music trough their people behind the mixing
Highlight, soundwise, was Cecil Taylors concert, and the way the the grand piano
came trough, without losing any nerve from Cecil's fingertips!
Another highlight of the festival, is of course the press manager Torbjørn
Haugen and his staff. With great kindness and helpfulness all the way, at every
hour, it was always a thrill to be handled or answered by any of them.
And of course, the manager him self, the boss, Jan Ole Otnæs, who could
be seen everywhere, always with a smile and a kind word. We salute you!
A terrific job well done.
What comes to our own pieces of work, we don't believe it to be outstanding
or a milestone in jazz journalism, but hope we have given some of our readers
a tip of two. Some laughs and a message about the Molde Jazz Festival as an
important window for Norwegian and international jazz.
A big hug to the Festival Press center believing in us! And to our Molde sponsor
Miss. S, who came to our rescue in the last crucial minute, finding office and
a place to stay for us during the festival.
Thank you, The Soul of the Molde Jazz Festival ! We hope to find you next year
at your 50 anniversary. To turn 50 i s nothing to be afraid of all. Trust us,
Friday, JULY 17, 2009:
The weatherman loves Molde
Red Hot i the evenig sun, Alexandra park
The sun would not stop shining
on the Molde Festival, and the temprature was mild and the streets more full
of people this friday, as the weekend drew even more people to the town.
Arve Henriksen was going on his fifht performance, this always inventive trumpet
player, was a name on every lip, talking about the highlights of the festival.
A very good choice of residence composer and musician indeed. We will try to
forget his unfortunate statement about the Jazz Academy of Trondheim, a criticism
that seems so out of the blue... and why?
Hopefully someone got it wrong, Arve Henriksen who comes out of the Trondheim
Academi himself, should know that it is always moving to improve them selves.
The last years and this years master conserts and all the other concerts we
overheard, shows an impressing level of heart and knowledge.
We hope the connection between Molde Jazzfestival and Trondheim will continue,
and that any rivalry between the Norwegian Academies can be held on a humorous
level only, and that they all will respect eachother and work side by side.
Molde Jazz Festival is a rose, growing from the soil of Norwegain jazz everywhere,
we must not forget !
Thursday, JULY 16, 2009:
The true history of the Molde Jazz Festival
The ancient Tuba Mountain outside Molde
Once upon a time in Trondheim, Norway.
Before there was Internet, even before the television eye started to stare apart
peoples secret dreams, there was music in the world.
And there was a young man and his seven sisters.
His name was Iver Lo Johansen, but everyone called him Tubaloo.
They laughed behind his back, because of his ragged looks and his big tuba,
walking every day through town for his classes at the Music Academi.
At nights after school he would sit alone in his room in the outskirts of town,
searching for comfort in his instrument, playing for the Gods, jazz music that
no one wanted to hear.
He had no friends. No one wanted to have anything to do with a poor looking
country boy from Molde playing the tuba.
But every last Saturday
of the month, his seven sister would come to town to visit their brother, whom
they loved very much. Bringing silver and gold, they would rent the Granny's
Down, in the center of town after closing time, and play pagan jazz music. Special
written invitations was sent out, and those nights everybody would come to hear
the tuba all night long.
Not only to sit close to
the most beautiful seven sisters in the country, but mostly for the incredible
jazz music they played together with their brother.
Those Saturday nights, they would come walking down the main street in company
with seven, gloomy looking poets.
Carefully picket by Curt the keeper of the Golden Blast Inn, ancestor of Thor
the pagan God, who new the sisters well.
And the seven sisters loved dark poetry, almost as much as they loved their
brother, and could not play music without gloomy poets around them.
Some few chosen musicians
where invited to bring their instrument and play with them. And those lucky
ones, could from that night on, play music till hearts of stone came alive,
and with their instrument rescue long, lost souls.
One of the sisters played
the electric guitar, something very rare back in those days, one played the
violin, and one played the drums. The rest of them was playing all kinds of
percussion instruments, and singing with voices that would make the big crowd
outside weep, and pray for the night to never end.
Their brother would play
the tuba as he never could do with anyone else.
In slow impressionistic pieces of music, they would enchant the hungry audience.
Almost hypnotize them with magic chords, outburst of solos, incredible combinations
of harmony, tumbling around the rooms, like laughter, anger and joy.
And the night seemed to go on and on and on.
Every man in Trondheim in
those days were crazy in love with the seven sisters. But the nights of music
was filled with pure love to the fellow man. Free of every craving of the flesh,
envy and hate, as magic music is beyond this earth.
When the music was over,
the sisters left with the seven gloomy poets to the Golden Blast Inn. Along
the way, men in all ages where heartbroken to tears by not being a gloomy looking
But still kind of fulfilled, by just watching the seven sisters walk trough
the first shivering light of day.
Their wild hairstyles !
In colors of red, black, green!
With piercings and tattoos everywhere!
Thorned black stockings under short black skirts!
Reveling soft white flesh, that any man could die for.
First came the eldest sister,
called Huldra Hon, with her shiny, red beautiful hair, then the three pair of
twins, all of them called Marie.
They disappeared behind the gates of the Golden Blast Inn, to do bad things
with the gloomy poets, all trough the Norwegian Lutherian Sunday.
Because this was the children
of the vampire trolls from the black mountains of Romsdal, and apart from loving
jazz, they loved the craving of the flesh.
Their brother Iver was spending these Sundays sucking blood and joy from the
eloped virgin grandchild of Kristin Lavransdatter, and when Iver ended his studies,
they married and moved to Molde.
Leaving behind a Trondheim for ever enchanted by jazz music, with the Trondheim
Academy of Music growing to be the best school of jazz in the world.
Back in Molde, Iver and his fifteen year old wife Aleqzia The First, started
the Molde Jazz Festival.
For five hundred years is was held in the mountains. For trolls, vampires and
gypsy creatures, but in 1960 they moved the festival to the small city center
of Molde. Feeling that the Norwegian people now was well and ready for jazz.
Still, if you are very, very lucky, you can get a secret invitation from the
back of a secret mind, to come to one of these magic nights.
Somewhere in Trondheim, or at the Molde Jazz Festival.
Then you will learn what jazz is all about, and you will live happily ever after
A jazzfestival in Oslo
Photo and Ill: kkc
WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2009:
The soul of Molde Jazz Festival
Then suddenly ! When we at least expected it,
we were hit by the soul of Molde.
From Brooklyn, New York, the jazz guitarist Mary Halvorsen took us
by surprise and gave us a concert that Molde is so famous for.
Bringing in unknown artists from all over the world to play for a hungry,
curious and open minded audience !
On the intimate stage of Forum, Mary walked in with her band, her french
bassplayer John Hebert, Mary's mind reading bassplayer, someone call him, and
the drummer Chris Smith, probably the most exiting and best drummer of this
years festival, if I am not all that wrong.
Mary has a image of the girl-with-glasses-bookworm-never-go-to-parties-I-rather
-stay-home-with-my-guitar-and-note-sheets-kind of girl and I think she likes
hide between that image. She is a very pretty woman and could easily have been
one of the standing up woman guitarist using their female attributes as extra
But thank god. Instead we find these three musicians comunicating in a way
that only people on the same nerdy level do. Suddenly it feels like we are
sitting in their living room, all silent, knowing that we are part of something
very, very special.
This is impress and experimental jazz, very hard to compose, and extremely difficult
to play. You must read a notesheet as you read a book, and not only that, you
to play it as you were not reading at all.
They all do it with such dedication, through a very humble and playful appearance,
that makes us in the audience love them to bits. It is so in the air !
Mary's electric guitar are carefully chosen notes, adjusted volum to every mood
in the music, and sometimes she show us that she is quick as any rock guitarist,
but what do we care !
We can walk again, with jazz on our mind, thinking yesterday we were lost ,
with no room for us at any jazzfestival.
Rusty, angry and tired we thought of retreating to under some rock and never
listen to jazz ever again.
But when you at least expect it, Molde Jazzfestival hits you with it's soul.
We are late, but we are here now !
TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2009:
The history of Norwegian Jazz
The first jazz vibraphone
It would be wrong not tell something brief about the history of Norwegian Jazz.
We are at the best and most famous Jazzfestival in the cold nordic climat.
Some would call it the best Jazz Festival in the world.
Many Jazz musicians are world famous because of it, Kjell Bækkelund, Terje
Rypdal, Jan Garbrek, Karin Krogh, to mention some of them. Many also known outside
the usual jazz circles.
So how come this little country have become so jazzy?
We have to go far back in
time, when the Arabian culture was ruling the world. Civilisation was slowly
starting to get somewhat civilized in Europe.
In between the pagans and murderers, some clever minds, tired off the Greek
supression and wars, started establishing new cultures, that over several hundred
years later, would become the Europe we know today.
For a longer time the Arabian culture, though, during that periode, had been
troubled by intruders from the Greek and other uncivilized countries. Beggars,
thieves and street musicians that could only play one single tune.
The hangmen and the excursionists worked on overload.
Cut off hands where lying everywhere. Something had to be done. The Arabian
government then made fantastic maps over what we know as Scandinavia.
Every troublemaker was given a big sum of money to leave for that treasures
land of milk and honey, with a promise of the worst thinkable punishment if
they ever returned.
The rumor was spreading fast.
Soon people with all kind of guilt, all kinds of bad habits, were heading for
Scandinavia. Murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and all other kind of -philomanias,
thought they had found the map to the treasure island.
Only to find the worst hostile land ever.
Rocks, mountains, freezing winter, wild animals, and no people or houses anywhere.
If they found any civilization and thought them self rescued, they were immediately
clubbed down and eaten.
The thought of going back to the Arabian civilized countries to be executed,
made them stay and fight to survive. As the mother of invention, people started
to think and make copies of the Arabian culture. Llike wheels, houses, axes
and all kinds of things to make life easier. Even things never thought of in
Arabien culture, like the cheese slicer and even fashion clothing; heavy, itchy,
unwearable clothes that made them freeze to death in standing position, a material
The word pronounced in Norwegian make you think it is a plaque of some sort.
Not all that wrong, as the black plague started in clothing like that, harboring
flees, moscitos, moscox dandruff and all sorts of deadly bacteria.
If it was the clubbing each other in the head, or the sound of chisels making
runic characters, that brought about the first jazz notes, is highly debated.
Probably a mix of jumping around slapping the arms around themselves to keep
warm, and teeth rattling, together with other odd sounds.
Blowing the last food out of the cooked muskox bones made the trumpet and saxophones.
Perk-Ola, the first Norwegian percusionist
But without doubt, clearly jazz was born in Norway, or in the small, uncivilized
village of the still quite uncivilized town Oslo, before jazz was cultivated
and moved to Nidaros or Trondheim and refined.
Many experts say that the real craddle of jazz was Nidaros, now Trondheim, to
judge from the many findings of jazz instruments and jazz clubs at the modern
excavations there. Oslo is more known for copying russian folkmusik, and for
having no ear for music what so ever.
The true history of the Molde Jazzfestival later this week.
MONDAY, JULY 13, 2009:
Monday in the Molde hood
The musician in residens, Arve Henriksen.
The Norwegian jazz hood. Sun was shining, far from the horrible weather forecast
given to us last week. The opening was nice, just long enough to be pleasant
and cheerful. The head of the Oslo Opera, Tom Remlov, told us anecdotes from
his early days and his meeting with da jazz.
His reference to Bjørson and Ibsen was a bit Fantom of the Opera for
me, but it sounded good in a speech. He is a good speaker that man.
Not to talk about the sound of the Arve Henriksen's trumpet, playing a short
piece with a drummer.
The old rappers, Bjørnson and Ibsen, Norway's national icons, are busted,
bodyless fixed on pedestals outside the perfect Quality Alexandra Quality hotel.
What a place to rest...
But no, don't go there...
Everyone knows that it has nothing to do with capitalism, imperialism or such
political left wing gobble. This festival are beyond that, I will believe.
I must think that they have used their funds in the best way, to promote jazz,
and the special Molde feeling. Otherwise they would not have survived.
Young girls in the streets, young boys too.
In the band at the opening, the traditional jazz big band, also played a brilliant
Most of them young, and we must hope that they will find many mysterious scales.
Lure many new, young ones down in the dangerous dungeons of jazz, where everything
I remember myself coming from fantastic jazz concerts, with my heart spilling
over with thankfulness and strength. Even remember the last time I was in Molde,
1972, and a concert with Jan Luc Pony, with his magic electric violin.
Making my scattered heart beat again. Forgetting all about that girl I never
could have. Making serious things like music, rhythm and togetherness in a concert
hall, rule big over cravings of the body.
Monday now, and the circus has come to town. The balloon sellers, the beggars,
the gypsies.Some street musicians too, and the necessary commerce to make every
Everything seems all right. Not to much, not to pushy, a relaxed feeling walking
I am walking a lot, it takes 20 minutes for me to get from the base to the city
That's cool, I like to walk.
Meet up with Dave, the fabulous knowledged columnist from Allaboutjazz. Just
as he have appeared in mail and on the phone, he is a very nice and likable
I fear though, for my lack of knowledge about jazz, to write for a full fledged
Thought I would interview the guys in Atomic, but I change my mind.
I am not happy with their performance and what is there really to talk about
Talking about music can be so wrong sometimes.
Eidem, logistics, moving to Sweden
I speak to a waitress instead, she studies logistics and are one of the few
Norwegian young people I have met, who is moving from Norway, to Sweden to look for a job. She is moving to Stockholm, like I am. She says she
don't understand the kind of jazz the Atomic is playing and I understand her.
It is so far from logistic. Tonight even too far away from my unlogic mind.
I walk home after the concert, quite downhearted. Is it me, maybe...?
I had so much looked forward to Atomic, after listening to some of their music
and reading interviews and reviews. Well, you can't win them all, tomorrow is
another day !
SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2009:
THE DAY BEFORE JAZZ
We are here ! The Scandinavian Spy has landed in Molde.
Much thanks to our great sponsors, exspecially our latest Molde connection S
The weather cloudy but mild and from people living here, the bad forecast for
the coming week is nothing to pay attention to !
The street were crowded with people yesterday when we arrived, watching a bicycle
race going trough the center of town.
Of course they call it Tour de Molde.
We remember the song Bicycle Race by Freddie Mercury from the album Jazz of
1978 as a slow connection to the coming festival.
Today they are having a re-opening of the ski-jump up in the hill, just five
minutes drive from the city center and yes, there was a ski-jumping competition
with a local hero.
A young and up-coming ski-jumper is from this county, the taxi driver told me
The ski-jump has this plastic coating, it looked dangerous when we drove by.
Let the pictures from the ski-jumping competition remind us about the high and
dangerous notes all the fantastic jazz musicians will land in our hungry jazz-craving
heart this week !
A festival like Molde, going on 50 next year, is a great force for the community,
with all the side effects it brings with it.
What is it more..? The soul of the Norwegians? Is it political at all, or just
What does jazz in Molde mean, this important election year, when the most ugly,
right wing party is knocking heavily on the door, and the old socialdemocratic
party seem to be withering away.
Is jazz just an escape or a force in some way?
From growing up with Norwegian heroes like Jan Garbarek, Svein Finnerud, Arild
Andersen, Karin Krog and more, we now it as very important.
In so many ways.
Is it still..? If it can move a mind it is.
Welcome to join us trough all this Molde Jazz!
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