Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Jan Erik Vold - 1977 - Ingentings Bjeller

Jan Erik Vold
1977
Ingentings Bjeller


01. Din Sang / Blåser Vinden / Snefille-Diktet / Har Du Sett Treet? 3:02
02. Pumpeverket Går / Er Kjærlighet / Lage Et Album / Dag & Natt / Slik Dine Dager Er / Thor Heyerdahls Mor / Blått & Hvitt 5:21
03. Tankestrek 0:11
04. Mishima-Diktet, Et Dikt Om Ingenting 1:25
05. Skillingsvise 3:52
06. Den Kvite Steinen, Det Svarte Regnet 1:02
07. Gå På Gravlunden 5:48
08. Hemmeligheten 1:58
09. Askesang 2:31
10. Ingentings Bjeller / Tanker Før Grilltid - Sommernatten, Sommernatten - 4:42
11. Hosukai, Den Gamle Mester 1:04
12. Steinbrytersangen / Trippel-diktet / Dialog Med Seg Selv / Ikke Noe Svar / Skrevet På Natten 4:14
13. Augustmørke, Augustlyder (Det Girer / Ja, Og Her I Hagen / Iblant: En Rasling / Mørket Faller / August... / - Og Gresshoppenes) 2:10
14. Kråkesang 1:46
15. Tiende September, Mot Kveld 1:00
16. Side C - Svingdør 14:01
17. Svingdør 14:01
18. Side D - Nevermind, Som Havet Sier 19:00
19. En Håndfull Ingenting / Med Månen Som Modell / To Små Rim / Som Den Gamle Pakkeleken / Før Trappen Ble Trapp / Jeg Sa: Så Pen Du Er 5:58
20. Lady Nynner Blues / Halvmånesang I Ne / Om Sorgen Og Lykken 3:22
21. Hva Veiviseren Sa 0:55
22. Så Lenge Det Er Gøy-diktet / Sangen Om Ut Og Inn / En Solidarisk Sang 1:54
23. Varmestafetten / Sangen Om Uansett / Elsker Jeg Deg / Samtale Ved Havet / Hvor Lenge? / Ja, Always 6:51


Bass – Palle Danielsson
Drums – Jon Christensen
Piano – Bobo Stenson
Saxophone, Flute – Jan Garbarek
Voice – Jan Erik Vold

Recorded at Talent Studios, Oslo, Sep 1-2 1977


Jan Garbarek - 1976 - Dis

Jan Garbarek 
1976
Dis


01. Vandrere 13:36
02. Krusning 5:35
03. Viddene 5:35
04. Skygger 10:06
05. Yr 5:54
06. Dis 7:50

Jan Garbarek tenor and soprano saxophones, wood flute
Ralph Towner 12-string and classical guitars, windharp

Recorded December 1976 at Talent Studio, Oslo


Debates over the “ECM sound” continue, though thankfully with waning fervor, in attempts to define that which never needed definition in the first place. Meanwhile, critical pundits are missing out on some spectacular music that would easily silence their concern over arbitrary categories. On Dis, his eighth album for the label, Jan Garbarek slipped off his extroverted garments and into a deep look inward. One immediately notices the windharp, one of the last instruments one might expect to hear on an album filed under “Jazz,” and which would make an ECM reappearance on Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum. The windharp anchors the album into place, appearing at its center and outer edges. Added to this are the extended soliloquies of guitarist Ralph Towner, whose unmistakable 12-string graces three of the album’s six tracks. For the rest, he casts longer shadows with nylon. Garbarek plays like a blind scribe, scoring his runes into ephemeral surfaces: water, earth, and air. Garbarek and Towner cover about as much territory as two musicians can. From the somber duet of “Krusning” (Ripple), cradled gently like a breaking tide into which footsteps are pressed and filled again with brine, to the wooden intonations of the title track, Dis enamors with its varied terrain. In the powerful “Skygger” (Shadows), Garbarek alternates between bold gestures and more unified punctuations. A brass section (Den Norske Messingsekstett) adds ceremony and locality. The guitar lifts its weary head and flutters its eyes in the glare of sunset, offering a solitary call for closure.

This album marked a formative transition for Garbarek, who wrings out here a soulful sound that is variously airborne and submerged. Comparing the cover art to his equally captivating Dansere, one is tempted to link them as a complementary pair. Where the latter is firmly planted in a wide and arid plain, Dis is downright oceanic, and questions its own division from the sky. The mystique of Dis puts me in mind of a film like Ron Fricke’s Baraka, in which words are superfluous, and melody and images reign as supreme forms of communication. We are never just listeners, but wayfarers in its deeply internal landscape, where space is no longer a viable marker of location, and only breath comes to define the presence of consciousness.

Jan Garbarek Bobo Stenson Quartet - 1976 - Dansere

Jan Garbarek Bobo Stenson Quartet 
1976 
Dansere


01. Dansere 15:03
02. Svevende 4:58
03. Bris 6:11
04. Skrik & Hyl 1:30
05. Lokk (Etter Thorvald Tronsgard) 5:39
06. Til Vennene 4:47

Jan Garbarek saxophones
Bobo Stenson piano
Palle Danielsson bass
Jon Christensen drums

Recorded November 1975 at Talent Studio, Oslo


There is a tendency in ECM’s formative jazz releases toward immersive beginnings. Dansere is no exception, with its introductory flutter of sax and glittering piano runs. Comparing this album to Belonging, which features Keith Jarrett in the same company as Bobo Stenson is here, it’s amazing to consider the differences with another pianist at the fulcrum. One musician’s worth of difference may not seem like much on the back of an album jacket, but here it translates into essentially ten new voices with their own sensibility of time and space. Stenson’s abstractions throughout bleed into the listener’s mind like a smearing of watercolor across absorbent paper.

This is music that has woken up after a long slumber—so long, in fact, that now it struggles to face the morning glare. The musicians seem to play with their eyes closed, grasping at fading tendrils of memory so close in dreamtime yet otherwise so distant. Whereas some of us might grab a note pad and try to capture as many of those fleeting moments before they escape us upon waking, each member of this quartet finds an instrument and sets his recollections to music. The album finds the time to stretch its vocal cords, to take in the air, to look outside and judge the weather from the clouds and the moisture it inhales.

The title track is the most demanding journey here, carrying us through a gallery of moods and locales, and fades out beautifully with Christensen’s rim shot clicking like a metronome into the heavy silence. In “Svevende” Stenson emotes a laid-back aesthetic, finding joy in quieter moments. Though we are by now fully awake, we still find ourselves regressing to the darkness of sleep and its promise of vision. Every moment leaves its own echo, so that each new note carries with it a remnant of all those it has left behind. “Bris” picks up the pace a little and showcases Garbarek in a heptatonic mode. Stenson also has some memorable soloing here, working wonderfully against Christensen’s drums and Danielsson’s steady thump. Somehow the motives remain melancholy, speaking as they do in languages they have yet to understand. “Skrik & Hyl” features a sax/bass duet of piercing incantations before Stenson brings us back down to terra firma in “Lokk.” The title here means “herding song” and feels like a call home. It unfolds like the dotted plain on the album’s cover, a desert under a hanging moon or an ocean swept by a lighthouse. “Til Vennene” is the end of a long and fruitful day. Yet in spite of the album’s pastoral flair, I find this final track to be rather urban. It shifts and settles like a drained glass of scotch, leaving only that diluted rim of sepia at the bottom: a mixture of melted ice and solitude. You feel just a little tipsy, straggling home through the rainy streets. Memory and sorrow swirl without blending, like every rainbow-filmed puddle you pass in gutters and potholes. You wander as if you are walking these streets for the first time, knowing that your legs will get you home regardless of your inebriation. Your only footholds are those brief moments of bliss shared among friends; the only times when trust was never absent. Your world becomes blurry…or is it you who blurs?

Keith Jarrett / Jan Garbarek - 1975 - Luminessence

Keith Jarrett / Jan Garbarek
1975
Luminessence


01. Numinor 13:50
02. Windsong 6:29
03. Luminessence 15:18

Strings – Strings Of Südfunk Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Jan Garbarek
Conductor – Mladen Gutesha

Recorded April 29 and 30, 1974 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg


Having come to know Keith Jarrett primarily through his astounding improvisatory skills and classical interpretations, this recording marks my first time encountering him as composer proper. On the one hand, I feel as if setting Jarrett down on paper somehow limits his potential (note, for instance, his understandably longtime reluctance to publish a score version of the lauded Köln concert). On the other, Jan Garbarek is given such free reign of the icy territory into which he is deployed on this recording that he is able to channel Jarrett’s essence to its fullest. It’s difficult to imagine Jarrett’s music being any other way.

Any work for soloist and orchestra may be likened to a conversation in which the former introduces topics for the latter to work through “verbally.” At some point this dialectical relationship begins to take on a life of its own in the recording process. Yet in listening to Jarrett’s compositions one gets not conversation but conversion, a real-time transfiguration through which music implodes rather than expands. Garbarek doesn’t engage with the orchestra so much as traverse it, lifting and dropping his weighted feet across its rosin-dusted expanse. If there is dialogue to be found here, it’s entirely internal.

“Numinor” eases its way into the listener’s field of vision, across which Garbarek uses mournful reedwork to draw a series of jagged constellations. The orchestra sometimes bleeds, as if it were a cloth sheared by the edge of these gritty ruminations. Garbarek shouts with his instrument, treating it more as an extension of his voice by which the placement of his fingers articulates syllables in lieu of notes. Although we might not recognize the language, something intelligible comes through. In spite of some inspired solo passages, the music remains decidedly horizontal: every step forward is countered by one step sideways. There is, however, an incredibly moving scene in the final passage of “Windsong” where the saxophone blends into its surroundings, sharing an intimate moment of continuity made all the sweeter for its unexpected cessation. The title track, which closes the disc, is playful and romantic, slaloming its way through triadic signposts. The mood is contradictory, Garbarek engaged in two entirely different dialogues in a semblance of one.

Overall, I find Luminessence to be a challenging listen. Not because the music is particularly modernist, but because Jarrett makes so visible the often hidden dynamics of authorship we come to take for granted. As one who is continually enlarging the notion of musicality in everything he touches, Jarrett provides us here with an unabashed document of the compositional process. It is the audible equivalent of looking at the master’s sketchbook. I also find this album to be quite dark in spite of its glowing title, like a hidden shadow beneath the unturned page. It is an album that erases as many words as it inscribes, a memoir of images rather than prose. All of this makes for an effective, if threadbare, project. There are very few motives to speak of, which is liberating, as one is never subjected to the often-dominant reprise, nor to the subservience of secondary themes. Notes are sustained in ways they couldn’t have been sustained before, ending as abruptly as they began. This process is illustrative of the title’s clever play on words, a symbiosis of color and opaque desire.

Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet With Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen - 1974 - Witchi-Tai-To

Jan Garbarek - Bobo Stenson Quartet With Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen 
1974 
Witchi-Tai-To


01. A. I. R. 8:15
02. Kukka 4:32
03. Hasta Siempre 8:10
04. Witchi-Tai-To 4:24
05. Desireless 20:25

Jan Garbarek: soprano and tenor saxophones
Bobo Stenson: piano
Palle Danielsson: bass
Jon Christensen: drums

Recorded November 27/28, 1973 at Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo


Regarding jazz, Louis Armstrong once famously quipped: “Man, if you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know.” For those still feeling lost, let Witchi-Tai-To provide one possible answer. As Jan Garbarek’s oft-touted masterpiece, this is not an album to shake a stick at. If anything, it is one to be shaken by.

Carla Bley’s “A.I.R.” (All India Radio) summons this classic soundscape with a ceremonial thumping of bass, working toward saxophonic flights of fancy. Before long, Garbarek descends from his cloud with a pentatonic flavor before again riding the thermals of his generative spirit. This segues into a rousing piano exposition from Stenson, running with the adamancy of a child who thinks he can fly. The avian soprano sax returns as if to espouse the wonders of the air while also warning of its hidden hazards, catapulting itself into the vanishing point. “Kukka,” by bassist Palle Danielsson, is a relatively somber, though no less effective, conversation. It gives ample room for piano and bass alike to make their voices known and ends with another ascendant line of reed. Carlos Puebla’s politically charged “Hasta Siempre” seethes like radical folk music in search of an outlet. Drums and piano enable a boisterous towering of improvisatory bliss. Garbarek is a wonder, grinding out the most soulful sound he can muster, while Stenson’s frolicking runs practically stumble over their own momentum. In the title track by Jim Pepper, the rhythm section’s windup pitches more soulful solos from Garbarek, who can do no wrong here. His clarity of tone and conviction are sonically visionary and ideally suited to his cadre of fellow soundsmiths. Last but not least is “Desireless.” This Don Cherry tune is given a 20-minute treatment that surpasses all expectations. It’s a mournful closer, a song of parting, an unrequited wish. It tries to hold on to a rope that is slipping through its fingers, even as it struggles with all the strength at its disposal to keep the music alive. Garbarek refuses to go down without an incendiary swan song, however, and by the end it is all we have left.

Much has been said in praise of the Danielsson/Christensen support in this outfit, and one would be hard-pressed not to feel the intense drive the duo invokes at almost every moment. To be sure, this is a team of musicians whose independent visions work flawlessly together, and whose end result is an essential specimen in any jazz collection. Witchi-Tai-To is a struggle against time from which time emerges victorious. Thankfully, we can always start the record over again.

Art Lande, Jan Garbarek - 1974 - Red Lanta

Art Lande, Jan Garbarek
1974
Red Lanta


01. Quintennaissance 5:35
02. Velvet 5:37
03. Waltz For A 3:43
04. Awakening - Midweek 10:58
05. Verdulac 7:07
06. Miss Fortune 5:06
07. Open Return - Cancion Del Momento 5:44
08. Meanwhile 4:17
09. Cherifen Dream Of Renate 2:06

Art Lande - piano
Jan Garbarek - flutes, soprano and bass saxophones

Recorded on November 19 and 20, 1973 at Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo


Normally, I eschew from making the kind of comparison I am about to make, but here it goes: What do you get when you take Edvard Grieg, throw in a little jazz, some improvisatory flair, a touch of abstraction, and blend until smooth? Why, the delightful record that is Red Lanta, of course.

While a set of pieces for piano paired with either flute or reed may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, for those who like tea this should do the trick just fine. Constructed around the compositional talents of Art Lande, the music seems to cry for larger arrangements, but still sounds beautiful as it is represented here. The atmosphere is verdant and open, as blearily pastoral as its cover. The playing is top-notch throughout, though the tracks featuring Garbarek’s flute playing stand out for me, especially “Waltz for A” and, of course, the eclectically beautiful 11-minute “Awakening, Midweek.” The combination is superb and perfectly embodies ECM’s penchant for recording jazz with a chamber music sensibility. A piano-only medley in the second half serves as a nice breather from the intense reed work before plunging us into the galactic final act.

This is diurnal music of the highest order and is suitable both for deep listening and as the soundtrack for any leisurely activity. Garbarek is all a-glitter in as coaxing a performance as I have ever heard from him. Certainly not one to be missed if “mellow” is your preferred mode of operation.

Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen - 1974 - Belonging

Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen 
1974 
Belonging


01. Spiral Dance 4:08
02. Blossom 12:18
03. 'Long As You Know You're Living Yours 6:11
04. Belonging 2:12
05. The Windup 8:26
06. Solstice 13:15

Keith Jarrett piano
Jan Garbarek tenor and soprano saxophones
Palle Danielsson bass
Jon Christensen drums

Recorded April 24 and 25, 1974 at Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo


From beginning to end we are treated to a mélange of moods in this, the first effort from Keith Jarrett and his European quartet. Compositionally astute and clearly the work of steadied hands, Belonging finds each musician in fine form. Whether it is Garbarek’s punctilious doubling in the buoyant “Spiral Dance,” Danielsson’s mellifluous bass solo in “Blossom,” or Christensen’s rollicking snare in “The Windup,” everyone gets their moment in the spotlight. Jarrett’s fingerwork is, of course, superb throughout, but it is the energy underlying his playing—the very spirit of his pianism—that really seems to drive things forward. The album is zigzagged, fading adeptly from head-shaking abandon to heavy darkness from one cut to the next. Ballads make up the longest passages on Belonging and seem to turn ever inward within the confines of their own emotional borders. For the most part, sax and piano are explicitly unified, as if trekking on either side of the same divide, although sometimes they seem to look in opposite directions, as if involved in a long-running debate, unsure of whether reconciliation can be had in the throes of so much dialogue. Jarrett’s jilted approach is well suited to these down-tempo moments while the bass gently asserts its tremulous presence in the background. Garbarek’s sudden entrances weave a dense stratosphere of brassy elegance. “’Long As You Know You’re Living Yours” is pure Jarrett and provides Garbarek with plenty of space to run amok with his screeching serenade. The title cut is another ballad, this one of a different shade than the rest; not an alleyway, but a brief lapse into self-pity. As the album’s center, it also encapsulates a core theme: this music evokes a past from which one cannot escape or, more positively, simply a sense of belonging as the title would imply, the inescapability of one’s roots in place and time. Overall, this is an essential example of what ECM can do when it throws a handful of singular talents into a studio.

Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen, Edward Vesala - 1973 - Triptykon

Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen, Edward Vesala
1973
Triptykon


01. Rim 10:33
02. Selje 2:16
03. J.E.V. 7:28
04. Sang 2:45
05. Triptykon 12:46
06. Etu Hei! 2:20
07. Bruremarsj 4:13

Bass – Arild Andersen
Percussion – Edward Vesala
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Baritone Saxophone – Jan Garbarek


Recorded on November 8, 1972 at Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo


Jan Garbarek’s third album for ECM is a free, though by no means easy, trek through indeterminate territories. “Rim” breaks into light with the mournful saxophonic cries that thread the entire set. Arild Andersen dots Garbarek’s auditory cloth with almost vocal ink stains. We find Garbarek in a uniquely agitated mode, showing both great restraint and willful shifting in his performance. This is an arresting track, as sublimely depressing as it is soulful. The title denotes “frost” in Norwegian, and describes Edward Vesala’s icy percussion to a T. “Selje” (a picturesque municipality of Norway’s western coast) evokes the majestic fjords of its eponymous region, and the humble economy of its fisherfolk. Garbarek opts for the gentler flute against a thawed backdrop of bass and wind chime-like glockenspiel: a mystical aside from an otherwise forward projection.

“J.E.V.” breaks from the album’s expansive palette with a more flatly recorded sax intro. The appearance of bass and drums merely underlines the music’s hesitancy, at once assured and unaware of its future paths. “Sang” (Chant) is another subdued interlude, featuring a bass sax caught in a silken web of percussion and bass. The title track unravels like a herding song picked apart piece by piece, its remnants scattered along the base of a low mountain to the tune of an intriguing bass solo. “Etu Hei!” screeches and pounds its way into being before the Norwegian folk song “Bruremarsj” is rendered in a tense bondage of sax and bowed bass, closing with a flutter of wing beats in the final drum break.

In spite of its many abstractions, Triptykon is rife with melody and movement. It’s almost as if a distant relative were singing traditional tunes that everyone else in the family has forgotten. Though drunk with nostalgia and slurred speech, his voice is so genuine that one can hardly fault him for straying a bit off the beaten path. With repeated listenings, one begins to distinguish such thematic material from its improvised surroundings, thereby rendering any challenges this album sets before us much deeper in their returns.

Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen - 1971 - Sart

Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen 
1971
Sart


01. Sart 14:54
02. Fountain Of Tears - Part I And II 6:02
03. Song Of Space 9:38
04. Close Enough For Jazz 1:57
05. Irr 7:14
06. Lontano 2:10

Jan Garbarek tenor and bass saxophones, flute
Bobo Stenson piano, electric piano
Terje Rypdal guitar
Arild Andersen bass
Jon Christensen percussion

Recorded on April 14/15, 1971, at the Arne Bendiksen Studio, Oslo


One could hardly ask for a more dynamic super group than that assembled on Sart. Garbarek’s first album of this boxed set is also his second for ECM and throbs with these young musicians’ intense desire to lay down new paths. Four of the album’s six compositions are by Garbarek. The first of these is the title cut, which takes up more than one third of the album’s total length. After an eclectic swirl of wah-pedaled guitar riffs from Terje Rypdal, Bobo Stenson’s sweeping pianism, the fluttering drums of Jon Christensen, and erratic bass lines of Arild Andersen, Garbarek’s entrance alerts us with all the import of an emergency siren. It’s an arresting beginning to an arresting album, evoking at one moment a 70s action film soundtrack and the next a clandestinely recorded late-night jam session. “Fountain Of Tears ­ Parts I & II” forges a harsher sound before swapping reed for flute. With the support of Stenson’s electric piano, Garbarek slathers on the sonority for a striking change of atmosphere. In “Song Of Space,” sax and guitar double one another almost mockingly before Rypdal hops a more intense train of thought, in the process mapping the album’s most epic terrain. Garbarek is only too happy to lend his compass. “Irr” turns Andersen’s nimble opening statement into a full-fledged narrative, along with some enjoyable adlibbing from Garbarek and Stenson. Andersen and Rypdal round out the set with respective tunes of their own. “Close Enough For Jazz” is a brief interlude for bass and reed full of unrequited desire, while “Lontano” finishes with Rypdal’s meditative, twang-ridden charm.

More expressive than melodic, per se, this is engaging free jazz that’s constantly looking for debate. Such is the sense of play through which it thrives. At times the music is so spread out that one has difficulty knowing if and when a “solo” even occurs. Regardless, Garbarek’s playing is knotted, but also carefully thought out. As in so much of his output during this period, he tends toward a sobbing, wailing quality that adds gravity to relatively airy backdrops. This is music with patience that demands just as much from the listener. It lives on the edge of its own demise, always managing to muster one final declaration before it expires.

Jan Erik Vold with Jan Garbarek Quartet - 1969 - Briskeby Blues

Jan Erik Vold with Jan Garbarek Quartet
1969 
Briskeby Blues


01. Bo På Briskeby Blues 24:44
02. Tang 2:11
03. Å Møte En Gammmel Kjenning Noen År Senere 1:10
04. Uplift Blues 1:34
05. Desemberlys (Stumfilm I Wergelandsveien) 1:53
06. Sommerdrømmen 0:57
07. Funny 2:46
08. Tale For Loffen 1:38
09. Min Nye Blå Dyne 0:35
10. Kropper 0:33
11. Amper Juli Blues 0:56
12. Ikke Alle Kjærtegn 0:16
13. Ikke Si Det. Jeg Vet 0:59
14. Han Var Her 0:36

Bass – Arild Andersen
Drums – Jon Christensen
Guitar – Terje Rypdal
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Jan Garbarek
Vocals – Jan Erik Vold

Recorded October 16–17, 1969 at Roger Arnhoff Lydstudio, Oslo.

All poems published in JEV: Mor Godhjertas glade versjon. Ja (1968).
"Go to where you are—I’ll wait for you there.”


Jan Erik Vold was born in Oslo in 1939. In the 1960s he studied languages and literature at the universities of Oslo, Uppsala and Santa Barbara. He published his first collection of poetry in 1965, and has since then displayed a wide scope of activities. He is appreciated as an essay writer and a debater on cultural questions and has initiated a number of crucial debates on poetry and politics. As a poet he emphasises oral performance and gathers a good audience whenever he is reading. Vold has also published a number of records in close co-operation with well known jazz musicians, among them Chet Baker and Bill Frisell.

In Norway, Jan Erik Vold is the poet. In the 1960s, he was the one to bring new life into Norwegian poetry. He was important in the so-called Profil circle, which, in the student magazine Profil, called to account the esoteric and abstract aestheticism which the circle claimed ruled Norwegian literature. Poets and prose writers in the new generation gave their books a more playful shape, open to international directions.

As for Jan Erik Vold, he turned towards the USA. Through his interest in jazz, he became aware of poets belonging to the American Beat generation, and like the Beat poets, he too developed a feeling for the Zen-Buddhist attitude towards life and poetry of the East.

Vold's first works of poetry are characterised by the fact that he manages to give internal images a concrete basis. Although his four opening books might be called experimental in a Norwegian context, we find everyday, simple situations and language.

His great breakthrough came in 1968 with the collection of poetry Mor Godhjertas glade versjon. Ja (The Happy Version of Mother Kind-Heart. Yes). In long poems, free of metaphors, he describes what is close. He doesn't conjure up an idyllic scene; rather he puts emphasis on everyday phenomena, together with exuberant joy at his dialogue with the city and its inhabitants. The distinctive stamp of these poems is also the oral diction of the poet; there are poems with rhythm and appeal, and they provided Jan Erik Vold a large and loyal audience.

His next collection, kykelipi (1969), presented a nonsense poem, and many found this so provoking that they began opposing modern poetry in the newspapers. kykelipi contains black humour and the grotesque, but still the book holds open the door to a linguistic and emotional connection between people.

Vold published four collections of poetry in the 1970s. spor, snø (track, snow; 1970) is a collection of minimalist poems in the tradition of the haiku, and it aroused an interest for poetry of the East in Norway. sirkel, sirkel. Boken om prins Adrians reise (circle, circle. The Book about the Journey of Prince Adrian; 1979) is an extensive collection of poetry describing a journey from Oslo through Russia to Japan, further across the Pacific to the USA, and, as a completion of the circle, back from New York to Oslo. The collection reflects an internal process which goes on within the traveller.

Sorgen. Sangen. Veien. (The Sorrow. The Song. The Way.; 1987) and En som het Abel Ek (Alone. Abel Ek; 1988) are darker, more existential collections focusing on closeness, sorrow and death. Yet En som het Abel Ek has a lighter note, and it emphasises that living through sorrow can open a path to joy. Both collections show the simple, dialogic and anti-metaphorical expression of Jan Erik Vold, an expression which is mathematically worked out and well accomplished.

With Elg (Elk; 1989) he published his most extrovert and popular collection, in which his political engagement across all ideologies came forth. Here, we find poems of malice and jabs at established politicians, as well as a well-worded anxiety about Norway losing its identity.


Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek's icy tone and liberal use of space and long tones has long been perfect for the ECM sound and, as a result, he is on many recordings for that label, both as a leader and as a sideman. He had won a competition for amateur jazz players back in 1962, leading to his first gigs. Garbarek worked steadily in Norway throughout the remainder of the '60s, usually as a leader but also for four years with George Russell (who was in Scandinavia for a long stretch). Garbarek began recording for ECM in the early '70s and, although he had opportunities to play with Chick Corea and Don Cherry, his association with Keith Jarrett's European quartet in the mid-'70s made him famous, resulting in the classic recordings My Song and Belonging. In the '80s, Garbarek's groups included bassist Eberhard Weber and at various times, guitarists Bill Frisell and David Torn. Garbarek, whose sound has remained virtually unchanged since the '70s, collaborated with the Hilliard Ensemble in 1993 (a vocal quartet singing Renaissance music) and the result was a surprisingly popular recording. Visible World followed in 1995, and four years later he resurfaced with Rites. In April of 1999, Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble returned with Mnemosyne. He issued In Praise of Dreams in 2004, and finally released his first live album as a leader, Dresden, in 2009. In 2012, ECM released the live archival recording Magico: Carta de Amor, by the Magico trio that also included guitarist Egberto Gismonti and bassist Charlie Haden.

Jan Erik Vold introduced an intuitive and global poetry in his collections Tolv meditasjoner (Twelve Meditations; 2002) and Drømmemakeren sa (The Dreammaker Said; 2004). His latest collection, Store hvite bok å se (Big White Book to See), which was published in 2011, continues in this vein.
Norway’s leading poet, Jan Erik Vold was born in 1939 in Oslo. Known for his urbane lyricism—fingering the ivory petals of poetry and jazz—Vold intoned the sixties—“laughing with one eye, crying with the other.”
For starters—Vold cut Briskeby Blues with Jan Garbarek’s quartet and Telemark Blue with Chet Baker in Paris. A remarkable roulette—“cashing in the chips—where the real work begins.”
A poet of nature—lashed to the birth of the cool—Vold doesn’t bother to put on a new roof. “I like the bark of the tree, its lack of pattern—the roads tried out—and those that remained.”