The Gateshead International Jazz Festival (18 - 20 March) has a marked Nordic focus, celebrating UK's links with musicians across the North Sea - particularly from Norway and Sweden. The line-up includes Nils Petter Molvær, Arve Henriksen and Sidsel Endresen
Brazz Brothers (18 Mar 8:00 pm)
This co-commission by The Sage Gateshead and Voss Jazz Festival, Norway, brings together the Northeast's favourite traditional musician and her band with the brilliant and internationally acclaimed Norwegian brass six-piece band, making a rare British appearance.
Brazz bros are something of a legend in the world of brass, but their fame spreads far beyond: they've worked throughout the world, and with equal enthusiasm, with brass bands, jazz ensembles, folk groups, African musicians, symphony orchestras and more - virtuoso players with a wealth of imagination, warmth and originality. No stranger to musical collaboration herself, Kathryn Tickell brings the sometimes haunting, often dancing, always lyrical sound of the Northumbrian pipes to the partnership.
Nils Petter Molær (19 Mar 5:45 pm)
Nils Petter Molvær is a pivotal link in the musical chain of contemporary Norwegian music, a trumpeter who used the inspiration of the electric Miles Davis and a background of master musicians from his own country - Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal - to create his own unique soundscapes. A sophisticated and atmospheric command of new electronica, transformed through beats and SDJ interventions from the dancefloor sets the scene for plaintive trumpet solos and driving, unstoppable rhythm tracks. His new solo performances, with specially devised visuals, receives its UK premiere here.
Stian Castensen and Iain Ballamy (19 Mar 7:30 pm)
Quirky and offbeat, the duo of UK saxophone hero Iain Ballamy and Norwegian accordionist Stian Carstensen opens this concert (with Esbjorn Svensson Trio). Playing music that takes a whole fascinating path through folk traditions, reinvented standards and improvisation of the highest order, the duo never fail to bring a warmth and wit to their ever-engaging performances. Ballamy has been a fixture on the UK scene since his days with Loose Tubes and a string of fine bands of his own; Carstensen is one of a select community of accordionists who have rewritten the old clichés and taken the instrument into a twenty-first century dimension.
Sidsel Endresen and Christian Wallumrød (20 Mar 2:30 pm)
The contribution of Sidsel Endresen to the evolution of a distinctive Norwegian vocal tradition that ranges through free improvisation and resonances of folk song and jazz is immeasurable. Well known in the UK for her work with Django Bates and her recent tour with Bugge Wesseltoft, she creates a beautifully crafted improvised music which has inspired a host of younger singers. Christian Wallumrød has gathered praise for his ECM recordings - a reflective and lyrical pianist whose daring use of space allows his playing to float in an intangibly delicate universe, he complements Sidsel's style to perfection - their CD 'Merriwinkle' is an intriguing snapshot of their live performances together.
Arve Henriksen (20 Mar 3:15 - 4:15 pm)
Fast becoming recognised as one of the most innovative of the current Norwegian generation, Arve Henriksen can be heard in a myriad of settings, with cult techno-improvisers Supersilent, with composer Trygve Seim, with Iain Ballamy, on a recent CMN tour with Dhafer Youssef and many more. But his solo concerts are something else - voice and trumpet are set within a mix of natural and electronic sound, an imagined world resonant of Nordic skies and the ethereal landscape of the Far East. A charismatic and enchanting performer.
Norwegian jazz at Gateshead International Jazz Festival
18 - 20 March 2005
The Sage Gateshead
St Mary's Square
Box Office: 0870 703 4555