8 August 2012


As promised in the last point, here is a very Norwegian record and a continuation of the interface between folk music and jazz that I've been exploring for a while. Followers may recall the six records posted by Francois Tusques and the Intercommunal Free Dance Music Orchestra and the two records by Ken Hyder's Talisker. There were also clear folkish strands in the Welfare State/Lol Coxhill record posted below. 

Østerdalen is in the Eastern interior of Norway, close to the border with Sweden, and this record draws upon dance and song traditions of that eastern valley (which is what the name means). This was made in the mid-70s and released on a record label which was very much a front for the Maoist party of Norway, not dissimilar to Tusques' sympathies with les Gauchistes and the Chinese Cultural Revolution at the time. As such, it reflects the cultural politics of that party and movement, consciously drawing on national folk traditions and adapting it to the modern idiom of jazz. This record assembles a top crew of jazzers in the mid-70s, not the least Jan Garbarek, who had acquired an international reputation through many releases on ECM.

These pieces are played fairly straight, but leaving some room for jazz improvisation and the final track actually sees the crew in a collective blow out. The online magazine Ballade asked critcs and musicians to nominate their all-time fave Norwegian jazz records and this made it to no. 20, not too bad considering that this is a very untypical jazz record as far as jazz goes. The magazine also noted that this was the only one among the top 20 which had not made to cd. In other words, perfect for this blog! For those who want to explore further, one cannot fail by getting the magnificent "Musik genom fyra sekler" by Jan Johansson that came out in 1968, shortly before his death. And there was Merit Hemmingson as well, updating Swedish folk on the Hammond B3 in the early 70s. Sign of the times!

As Torgrim Sollid says on the back sleeve: "We have recorded this record because we think it is right to cultivate our musical roots. We think it is a pity that no one has heard all this fine music for so very long". Posting it here may carry it even further, I hope.


a01_Bruremarsj (etter Martinius Helgesen)
a02_Pols (etter Martinius Helgesen)
a03_Halling (etter Martinius Helgesen)
a04_Bånsull (etter Gudlaug Bjøraanesset)
a05_Pols (etter Martinius Helgesen)
a06_Gukko (etter Martinius Helgesen)
a07_Bukkehornlåt (etter Ole Eggen)
a08_Kulokk (etter Ole Haugen)
a09_Bånsull (etter Peder Gjermundsen Lien)
a10_Salmetone (etter Marit Holmen)
b01_Bruremarsj (etter Martinius Helgesen)
b02_Halling (etter Martinius Helgesen)
b03_Bånsull (etter Martinius Amundsen)
b04_Kulokk (etter Hanna Moren)
b05_Halling (etter Martinius Amundsen)
b06_Kulokk fra Tolga (etter Petronille Hulbækdal)
b07_Halling (etter Johan Elgsbøen)
b08_Pols (etter Martinius Helgesen)
b09_Vår Gukko
b10_Gukko fra Åsbygda


Lars Martin Thommesen: trumpet, fluegelhorn
Torgrim Sollid: trumpet, fluegelhorn
Jan Garbarek: soprano sax, tenorsax, bass sax
Knut Riisnæs: Flute, tenor sax
Alf Erling Kjellmann: tenor sax
Erling Aksdal jr.: piano
Bjørn Alterhaug: bass and vocals
Ole Jacob Hanssen: drums of various kinds

 "Etter" means "after" - the original composer.


kinabalu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
corvimax said...

very nice, thank you kinabalu, also for the DC tip for The Taj-Mahal Travelers, incredible band

serviceton said...

Why this can't be jazz - check all those tunes at under 2 minutes !
An unexpected, enjoyable and welcome listen.

kinabalu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kinabalu said...

@serviceton: It was an unusual record at the time, but not all by itself. A couple of tracks made it onto this sampler:


Note pics of American jazzers mixing with the natives!

serviceton said...

K - thanks for the link - an interesting comp CD - why call it 'Black is The Color..' I wonder? (a Celtic-American tune, with little to do with Norway). Perhaps that title is more saleable than "Østerdalsmusikken" - which is the far more interesting story (musicologist Ole Mørk Sandvik's wartime folk music transcriptions etc etc )..
Amusing to note from the blurb that the obligatory 'hip' cliches inform us that the LP posted here is replete with "obscure dancefloor fillers" - and that Edvard Greig was - in fact - a crate-digger ..

Anonymous said...

Finally got to this - there's some nice playing here, little knotty tunes, and good variety of textures. Neat! Thanks for sharing it. -MB

Peter said...

This is interesting for me too, thanks a lot.

Didn't Garbarek, Andersen and Edvard Vesala play a "Bruremarsj" on one of the ECM albums around the same time (Triptykon?).

Some of the titles are also similar (though Halling is just a dance form) to those of the fabulous jazz/folk/traditional/lullaby ensemble Chateauneuf Spelemannslag of some years later .. warmly recommended to those with eclectic musical horizons, see for example:


The sampler title is indeed weird. What did they bring out next: a Delta Blues compilation called Regatta de Blanc?

And as Domnerus is Swedish, not Norwegian, that plot thickens!

kinabalu said...

@Peter: Yes, there is a "Bruremarsj" on Triptykon,meaning Bridal/Wedding March, though it may not be the same one. Bridal march is obviously a generic term.

Thanks for the tip about the Chateau Neuf Spelemannslag. Chateau Neuf was (is?) the student-run house in Oslo. I did not know about that group. Folk music is thriving in Norway, and one name to note at the intersection of folk and jazz is Karl Seglem.

Arne Domnerus is indeed Swedish and Sweden has a tradition of mixing jazz and folk music and folk music and rock. A classic band from way back was Kebnekajse, named after the highest mountain in Sweden. Same goes for Finland. Denmark I am less familiar with, but I think the traditions are less strong there.

Peter said...

Interesting leads, kinabalu, thanks!

CSN produced three albums (Spell, Tjuvgods, and Curing N Stiffness - though there is an American compilation, and some versions of the second album contain a few tracks from the first) and appear to have split up. Ingar Zach, more known as an avantgarde jazz percussionist, was their drummer. The two clarinettists/bass clarinettists and the saxophones also inject jazz elements; on the other hand, as you will hear, you have the female choruses and the fiddles/Hardanger fiddles, with those haunting sympathetic-strings overtones as featured on the memorable main theme of "Fargo" (I don't know that Carter Burwell has any Norse connections!).

Denmark, I think, has not dissimilar folk music and dance traditions to Norway in its spelemand groups, polskas and hopsas (a similarity not surprising in view of historical cultural/linguistic affinities), though probably not as flourishing, as you say. This page http://www.folkworld.de/21/e/scan.html bemoans the cult of quasi-imported Celtic music!

Jazz in Denmark (to bring us back to Sol) is a different story, from NHOP and Mads Vinding and Peter Danstrup, through John Tchical, Hans Ulrik and Jesper Thilo, Morten Carlsen, Steen Vig (and Papa Bue if you like!) through to Jan Kaspersen, the Lan Dokys and Kock Hansen, Pierre Do(e)rge and the New Junglists, ... I could go on, but basically no end of talents. - None of which are as coldly austere, clinical or "holy" as ECM Garbarek!! :D

Peter said...

Oh, and on Swedish intersections of folk/traditional melodies and jazz treatments, the name of Jan Johansson (snr) should be written in gold letters! :o)

kinabalu said...

@Peter: Many Norwegians and Swedes did settle in the Dakotas, so it´s not inconceivable that there might be a link.

I mentioned "Musik genom fyra sekler" in the main post. Definitely one to have for the jazz-folk lconnection. I happen to have the cd release as well as the old lp box from the late sixties.


Peter said...


I have a few other Johanssons too - Jazz paa svenska, Jazz paa ryska, 300.000 [km/sek], one or two others, as well as OP's classic Scandinavian sides that have been released over the years under various titles ("Blue Brothers", "Montmartre Blues, "Laverne Walk" ..)

He's one of my favourite pianists!

kinabalu said...

New links:



Norm said...


onxidlib said...

I shall try it this time - thanks Kinabalu.