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CD: Silje Nergaard 'Nightwatch', Jazzwise

Jazzwise July 2004

12/07/2004 :: Silje Nergaard - 'Nightwatch'

(Three our of five stars)

Nergaard vocals
Tord Gustavsen piano, electric piano
Harald Johnsen bass
Jarle Vespestad drums
+ strings / string quartet

It’s odd – and unexplained, at least to this reviewer – how the EmArcy label, that grand old invention of Bob Shad back in the 1950s when he revived a jazz policy for the Mercury Records Corporation (MRC, of cource) and a label that would fitfully be applied subsequently to latter-day USA projects, has wound up being the home to much of the new jazz-related music coming out of Norway and other parts north-east of Aberdeen. They’ve even used the original little logo of the swinging drummer. EmArcy (as well as its parent label, Mercury) had a great reputation for fostering the careers of singers, and it is a relatively easy job to reel off a succession of big names who made some of their best sides there: Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, Dinah Washington, Helen Merrill and Ernestine Anderson come to mind without any effort at all. In this generation we have Silje Nergaard, who started her career on EMI and is now one of Universal Norway’s prime assets. She is a talented songwriter and a tasteful arranger of this music, including a new version of Pat Metheny’s Bowie collaboration, ‘This Is Not America’. Positions perfectly in the post-Jones world and will definitely not upset the neighbours, even with the windows open.

Keith Shadwick

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