About a month ago I spent a Monday evening at Victoria National Jazzscene. This was during the Norwegian Academy of Music's exam festival. It was a rather spontaneous decision to pay Victoria a visit, so when I got there, the concert had already started. From the outside I could hear the sound of an energetic saxophonist, undoubtedly succeeding in putting a positive spin on this Monday.
This months Second of jazz profile is the Norwegian jazz saxophonist, Marthe Lea.
Marthe Lea has studied improvisation at the Norwegian Academy of Music. She recently had her last performance exam, and she now plans to work as a freelancer. Marthe plays together with Bugge Wesseltoft in his group New Conception of Jazz. They are currently touring in Europe and Asia.
Apart from touring with Bugge, Marthe has her own duo, Yūgen, with the violinist, Håkon Aase. They are releasing an album this August. Their music is inspired by Norwegian folk music, contemporary music, as well as Indian scales and other eastern musical traditions. Marthe will be showing her breath as a musician in this album as she will also be singing and playing the guitar. Something to look forward to.
The musical traditions that has inspired the compositions in Yūgen's upcoming album is also to be recognized in the music Marthe composes and plays with one of her other groups, Boda Boda. The melody Kokamanga is influenced by eastern sounds. However, both nordic and eastern European scales are also to be recognized. In addition, I find that the balance between repetitveness and improvisation reinforces the expression of this composition; the mixture of old musical traditions and contemporary jazz. The variety of rhythms and cultural influences challenged me as a listener. This melody simply took me on a nearly five minute long musical journey.
Boda Boda is one out of eight chosen groups to participate in Jazzintro this summer, and the competiition is ongoing. Since I'm going to the annual jazz festival in Molde in July, where the finals will go down, I am hoping for a second chance to see Marthe on stage. Break a leg Marthe!