Pizza + Jazz = Solveig Slettahjell

 Type:Culture, Music
 Location:England, London

Norwegian jazz singer Solveig Slettehjell, whose latest album 'Pixiedust' has been awarded rave reviews in UK press, holds a rather unique concert on Tuesday the 28th of February at the Pizza Express in Soho, London.

“Slowly does it” is the theme of Solveig Slettahjell, yet another singer from Norway who is attracting attention in the UK. In her native country, she has for some time been considered one of its most celebrated jazz singers. After studying music at the Oslo Music Conservatoire she began her career in the early 1990s, mixing country, jazz standards and Norwegian folk songs, with the odd song by Prince or Tom Waits thrown in. Over time Solveig’s ambitions have developed considerably. In the vocal ensemble vonDrei and Kvitretten she has developed her own experimental style. A sort of onomatopoetic technique, in which she breaks up syllables and words, squeezing, extending, shortening and working them harmonically so as to create an unmistakable soundscape.

In the spring of 2005 she won the Spellemannsprisen, the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy, for her second album ‘Silver’. On ‘Pixiedust’, her debut album on ACT, Slettahjell works the principal of slowness to perfection with the Slow Motion Quintet which includes Sjur Miljeteig on trumpet, Morten Qvenild on piano, Mats Eilertsen on bass and Per Oddvar Johansen on drums. The Slow Motion Quintet will also join Slettahjell at her Pizza Express concert.

‘Pixiedust’ is described as an album of both quiet flowing sounds and emotions. The range of sounds spans interpretations of ballads through to excursions into the avant-garde, which demonstrate the influence of her mentor and former teacher, Sidsel Endresen.

The Guardian (February 17) describes the album: "Slettahjell's band manage a wide variety of approaches; chiming keyboards and slow flugel melody for Sleepy Pixie; subtle acoustic piano and random percussion for a cover of Billie Holiday's Don't Explain; double-stopped bass and effects for Faith, Trust and Pixiedust. This understated approach leaves Slettahjell's voice exposed; a warm-timbered, perfectly pitched way of singing in English. Pixiedust is a superb album, which is (appropriately) slow to reveal its treasures, and repays repeated plays"

Time Out (February 22) encourages a full house on Tuesday: "Norwegian singer Slettahjell arrives on a wave of expectation, hottly tipped to be the next Scandi-jazz superstar. Her Björkishly-titled third album 'Pixiedust' won a Norwegian Grammy (the splendidly titled Spellemannsprisen) and jazz awards aplenty and is her first to be distributed outside of Norway. Her choice of material is a familiar mix of originals, standards and superior pop but where most young jazzy singers are busy recycling Diana Krall or Norah Jones, Slettahjell is a different kettle of herring all together."  

Solveig Slettehjell & the Slow Motion Quintet
Jazz Night in London

The Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho
28 February
Tickets £15
10 Dean Street, Soho,
London W1V 5RL
Phone: 020 7439 8722

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Solveig Slettahjell performs at Pizza Express's Jazz Club in Soho, London, on 28 February

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