Norwegian Christmas in the UK 2007

Jazzy Christmas concert in St Martin-in-the-Fields

 Type:Culture, Music
 Location:England, London

The Royal Norwegian Embassy’s traditional Christmas concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields features two of Norway’s most revered jazz musicians. The concert will open with a rare solo performance by trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær, whilst the second half features the bewitching hushed tones of singer Solveig Slettahjell and her quintet.

Nils Petter Molvær, Norwegian trumpet player, composer and producer, takes multiple music styles - jazz, ambient, house, electronic and break beats, as well as elements from hip hop, rock and pop music - and effortlessly reshapes them into unique and dramatic soundscapes of deep intensity.

Molvær was born and grew up on the island of Sula, Norway, and left at the age of nineteen to study music at the conservatory in Trondheim. Molvær recorded with other artists before his debut solo album, 'Khmer', in 1998. The record was a fusion of jazz, rock, electronic soundscapes and hip-hop beats, and was quite unlike the delicate "chamber jazz" typically associated with his label ECM. Molvær's muted trumpet sound, sometimes electronically processed, had an obvious debt to Miles Davis's work of the 1970s and 1980s, but without being a slavish copy. For the first time, ECM released singles - 'Song of Sand', backed with three remixes, and 'Ligotage'. A second album, 'Solid Ether', followed in 2000, after which Molvær left ECM. He has recorded several albums since, and has also produced film and theatre music.

In her native Norway Solveig Slettahjell has for some time been considered one of their most celebrated jazz singers. Her diverse repertoire - mixing country, jazz standards, with the odd song by Prince or Tom Waits thrown in – is sung in her captivating voice. Taking inspiration from the distinctive voice of fellow Norwegian Sidsel Endresen, yet strongly influenced by the gospel that filled her youth, Solveig has carved out a unique sound for which her second album, ‘Pixiedust’, attracted unanimous rave reviews.

Slettahjell’s latest album ‘Good Rain’, which is out in the UK now, has received rave reviews. The Guardian’s Dave Gelly wrote: “A cool and wistful voice, a penchant for hypnotic repetition and a band that provides delicate and atmospheric accompaniment, ranging from severe minimalism to restrained chaos. This is a strange and haunting album, only partly in the recognisable jazz idiom, but these definitions are getting increasingly slippery now. (…)With the rising status of Scandinavian jazz, we shall all have to learn how to pronounce these names, so start here: it's 'Sul-vey Shlet-i-yell'.”

Norwegian Christmas Concert
Friday 7 December, 7.30pm
St Martin-in-the-Fields
Nils Petter Molvær and Solveig Slettahjell Quintet

Tickets: £6-£24
Box office: 020 7839 8362 or
click here.

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Solveig Slettahjell's latest album ‘Good Rain’ was released in the UK to great acclaim.

Norwegian trumpet player Nils Petter Molvær is known for merging multiple styles such as jazz, ambient, house, electronic and break beats.Photo: Bjørn-Eivind Årtun

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