Conexions: Norwegian ten-piece Jaga Jazzist teams up with UK ensemble Britten Sinfonia for their Conexions concert series appearance.
Wind back to the mid-90s; a crew of close friends, in size amounting to half of a high-school class gather in a small town a few hours’ drive south of Oslo. They’re kids that have barely felt puberty’s powerful ability to transform proportions. They’re listening to Dire Straits and Michael Jackson; beneath that mix lurks jazz with Miles and Oslo 13. On the sidelines, the presence of of Motorpsycho, Jim O’Rourke and Tortoise is gradually being felt stronger and stronger. Above this concoction of musical influences rests a blessing echo of music the kids have yet to hear but will soon embrace; Steve Reich and Jean-Claude Vannier.
Listening to Jaga Jazzist’s music one can clearly hear the inherent initiative and ambitions. They’re not stingy and overly self-conscious as most of the other young reference-outfits out there, instead their musical output is almost crude; they’re that eager to get their music out. It sounds as if the collective splatters all of its musical references over the lead sheets, a veritable action-painting, only to erase it in the next phase, then add some and the scrape it all off again. Jaga removes the clear-cut divisions and transitions between layers to end up with a seamless and liquid form of music that breathes warmly, which is elastic and bouncy, crackling and edgy.
Jaga Jazzist’s music is genuinely lovable, effortlessly eclectic and ever so attractive. It’s music that’s begging to be heard all the while it’s grateful for its very existence.
Jaga Jazzist is the workplace everyone really wants to be a part of, an environment in which everyone’s voice is being heard, where the collective security is strong enough to warrant artistic risk-taking, where everyone feeds off each other, where conflict represents a possible breakthrough as all band members trust each others’ loyalty to the collective, where each individual supports the common good. Early on, Jaga Jazzist learned that each band member is part of a larger cycle of life in which the audience is the oxygen the collective needs to breathe.
Jaga Jazzist can sell out venues worldwide due to an indisputable fact; in their music and appearance we can all recognize something that we want to be.
“I have been dreaming of orchestrating some of the music of Jaga Jazzist for many years and now it will finally happen. The music of Jaga has many orchestral elements and really suits being arranged on a larger scale. I’m looking forward to work with the orchestra and play together as a band. I hope it will be rewarding both for us and the Britten Sinfonia.” - Lars Horntveth, Jaga Jazzist
Martin Revheim - founder of Oslo venue Blå (which played a pivotal role in Jaga’s route to fame in the late 90s), former MIC Norway director, currently Head of DnB NOR Savings Bank Foundation’s new downtown Oslo culturally themed realty project and is a lifelong Jaga Jazzist fan.
Read more on the Conexions concert series here.