Music critics have described Karl Seglem (born 1961) as a distinctive, innovative musician and composer. The album Nye Nord attracted a great deal of attention in the Norwegian press, and the release Fire with the group Isglem was also received with glowing praise in March 2003. Seglem has been called one of Norway’s foremost saxophonists, with an original and distinctive voice and a unique ability to renew himself. He has also made a name for himself abroad as a member of various groups, including Sogn-A-Song, Utla and Isglem, and through his extensive tours.
As a musician and composer, and director of the NORCD record company, Seglem produces and releases his own music and that of others – music that explores the border between folk music and jazz. He never takes the easy, commercial way out, and this is why he is so highly respected. Seglem has worked in a broad range of musical genres, including traditional jazz, salsa and Latin music, Norwegian folk music and original compositions. Besides composing for his own band, he also writes music for theatre, film and video, and has been commissioned to write pieces for his home municipality of Årdal, as well as for Nattjazz, Balejazz, the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, the Grieg anniversary celebration, the emigration anniversary celebration, the Public Roads Administration, Sogndal Jazzklubb, Sogn og Fjordane Theatre, and Telemarkfestivalen 2002.
His ability to focus on a particular theme in his CD releases and compositions has often been remarked on. A good example of this is the commissioned work TYA, which he composed together with Reidar Skår. His use of the tension between nature and technology as a source of inspiration for both his music and his choice of subject matter runs like a scarlet thread through his work. Karl Seglem received the Edvard Award for TYA in 1998, and has also received his hometown’s cultural award and the Rolf Gammleng Prize for his contributions to the Norwegian recording scene. His recent productions together with Arve Henriksen and Terje Isungset, and with the groups Isglem and Utla, are testimony to his broad range of musical interests.
Seglem is interested in the connection between literature and music, as exemplified by his CD collaboration with writer Jon Fosse (Prosa, 1996). For a long period he worked together with actor Frode Rasmussen on recordings of texts, and during the past year he has collaborated with writer Ragnar Hovland.
Karl Seglem has performed often on Norwegian radio and television. He has toured throughout Norway under the auspices of the Norwegian Concert Institute, with a current total of 1200 school concerts, and for the Norwegian National Touring Theatre, Den Norske Jazzscene, Norsk Musikantbruk, etc. He is a much sought-after studio musician, and has produced Norwegian and Swedish folk music recordings. Seglem has performed at all the major Norwegian jazz and folk music festivals, and his appearances abroad have included concerts in Germany, the USA, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, Finland and England.
“…When you trace his development, you get a remarkable sensation of both familiarity and originality. It is precisely this combination that makes his latest CD, ‘Nye Nord’, a real highlight among Norwegian improvisational recordings this spring (2002). Whereas Garbarek has become a bit predictable through the years, Seglem manages to keep a grip on the tension, rough edges and surprises.” Bjørn Olav Nordahl, Dagens Næringsliv (daily newspaper), June 2002
“…the sound here is different from anything I have ever heard. (…) Impressive!” (Tor Hammerø, review of “Fire” in the Webzine Puls, March 2003)