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6. The sounds of Molde

I spent a part of my vacation this summer on the jazz festival in Molde, Norway. There were so many great artists on the program this year, and I had startet an unpatient countdown weeks before the festival. Hence this secondofjazz post is a summary of my experiences from the concerts I attended.

The Nate Wooley quintet

The first concert I went to was the Nate Wooley quintet with Nate Wooley on the trumpet, Josh Sinton on bass clarinet and baritone saxophone, Matt Moran on the vibraphone, Eivind Opsvik on bass, and Harris Eisenstadt on drums. I've heard these guys play once before on the Victoria National Jazz Scene in Oslo, so I was well aware that the audience was in for a real treat. In a well known manner this quintet brought music from Wynton Marsalis' post-bop-period as well as Nate's own compositions to the stage. Nate announced during the concert that this would actually be the very last concert where they play Marsalis' music. I'm glad we got to hear this honorable final. The quintet also delivered some intense and very sincere compositions of their own in the concert.

By coincidence my mother and I ran into the whole group in the lounge of our hotel later that same evening. We had the pleasure of sitting down and having a glass of wine and quite a long chat with them where we also touched upon topics like architecture, literature and politics. We had a really great time talking to them. I look forward to seeing some of them on stage again in New York in September. I also hope the Nate Wooley quintet brings their new material to a Nordic stage some time soon.

Chick Corea

The Chick Corea concert was unfortunately sold out before we could get tickets. Neither of us have ever seen Chick Corea play live before, so naturally we were disappointed when we thought that we wouldn't get to see him play. However, as luck would have it, we got two tickets at the last minute, so we also got to hear one of the greatest musicians of all time play in Molde.

Along with him Chick Corea brought Christian McBride on bass (electric and acoustic), drummer Marcus Gilmore, Wallace Roney on trumpet, and saxophonist Kenny Garrett. As expected this group of musicians brought a lot of energy to the stage. It was amazing also to be part of an audience who got to sing the birthday song to Chick Corea.

Ola Kvernberg and Joshua Redman

Whenever I've had the chance to hear my favorite saxophonist (and musician for that matter) play on stage my expectations have always been very high. For me it's a highlight everytime I see and hear Joshua Redman play. But to be honest, when I ordered tickets to see Joshua Redman and Ola Kvernberg play together, just a saxophone and a violin... I didn't quite know what to expect.

The first few seconds of the concert was magic. The room was filled with soft mesmerizing sounds. And from then on out it was just a pleasure to see and hear these two play together. The dialogue between Ola and Joshua was fascinating to observe. The joy these two showed on stage was contagious, and it was mirrored in the audience who seemed to be completely engaged in their conversation. They fully exploited the possibilities that lies in doing something this controversial and challenging. From my perspective it seemed as if they both got to test their abilities, and that usually makes the experience more fun for the audience. There was also an unpretentious, warm and friendly atmosphere on stage. Simply a reflection of the two personalities creating it, I believe. Glad I got a chance to thank both of them for a wonderful concert.

Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling

This was a concert I was very excited to hear. I've listened a lot to Branford Marsalis' music over the years, so I'm quite familiar with his music. I was curious to see and hear Kurt Elling sing with this quartet.

First of all, Branford Marsalis Quartet enters the stage like no one else can. Talk about owning the room! Branford opened the concert together with pianist Joey Calderazzo, bass player Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner. After their instrumental introduction, Kurt Elling entered the stage and opened with the song «There’s A Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York». This was a show from beginning to end, and Kurt Elling topped the show by delivering a completely original ‘scat session’ in the extra number. So much communication, empathy and humour. A perfect end to our visit to Molde jazz festival.

The next day was our last day in Molde. While we were waiting in the hotel lobby for our cab to arrive, we got to talk a little with Branford and Kurt, who were also waiting for their car. They were in a really good mood, they even sang for us. A two-seconds-long private concert. I got a chance to show my drawings of them. According to Branford I had drawn Kurt like a 'wanted person'... I choose not to puzzle over that one.

It is hard to imagine how any lineup of musicians can compete with the one we had in Molde this summer. Though, I look forward to next year.

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