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Archiv: Nils Petter Molvaer


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Last swim before departure. A week full of radio work. Brutal ardour on Lanzarote. Good time for caves. This man with a history is still adventurous after all these years, and playing in Jameos del Agua adds to every possible magic spell. If you haven’t lost it, you’ll probably bring it all out here. Ten autumns ago, the trumpet player had visited the island for the first time, with his wife and his two children, and then „breathing in“ the archaic space with the ear of a musician, he dreamt of playing the volcanic power spot one day. That day was yesterday.

Molvaer’s big first statement was Khmer, an album that filled some of the space left by pioneering works of „Electric Miles“ and „Fourth World Hassell“. When I did my first interview with him (I only did two) – he was just about to release his third album after Khmer – I asked what he would do to keep his sound fresh. He said: „That’s a good question!“ Its certainly was (and a bit mean) – an artist who has discovered a certain formula, often tends to repeat it till nostalgia is creeping out of every note hanging in the air.

And, in fact, after his first two albums on ECM records, something seemed to be lost on the way, the auditoriums were sold out, the people got what they (a lot of them) wanted, the „Molvaer sound“, the „Molvaer grooves“ with all its shades of night and club and neon. Exhaustion easily comes with riding a first wave of success. It took a while for Nils Petter to reconsider, and then, someday (would be hard to nail it down), a good quantum of the old freshness came back with risky line-ups, with forgetting of being a virtuoso or being the man who knows all the tricks.

His last album, for example, Buyoancy, is a good example of keeping the spirits high – as is his quartet of yesterday’s evening. Geir Sundstol, Jo Berger Myhre (a broad spectrum of playing and treating guitars), and Erland Dahlen (percussion) were not just good company, they shaped and re-shaped everything from scratch, never played by the book. At least so it seemed. Stunning. At one point, near the end, I had the impression Geir Sundstol has been delivering his version of a Daniel Lanois-pedal steel guitar composition. Circles closing in so many ways, circles that never forget the to look for promising exit signs – caves always have some hidden ones.

 

Producing The Jazz Facts in the Deutschlandfunk was pure fun. A lot of nice coincidencies: two days ago, I realized that not only Ralph Towner’s TRAVEL GUIDE, but Carla Bley’s TRIOS, too, were recorded in that „radio theatre“  in Lugano. And after talking with Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel about his first recording with producer Manfred Eicher, I decided to need another voice sheding some light on the special room and the producer’s input. So, I got Bley’s long-time sax player Andy Sheppard on the phone, and what he told me, was the icing on the cake, a great finish for the show. 

Now this was only part of the fun. Some guys do great work, working as musician and tone engineers behind the controls to make radio sound magic. In this case bass player Markus Brown (his trio  is just featured  in a big Scandinavian jazz magazine) was the great man working the details: listen to  the show, and you will see that it was done, let me say it this way, with love and care. In between jazz matador Karsten Mützelfeld entered the studio and offered me 20 Euros, because he couldn’t help but strictly ignore the deadline of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. This guy has great humour 
 
The good vibes continued when we arrived at the headquarter of jazz affairs and small-taked with Harald Rehmann. It was a perfect radio day, and you really shouldn’t miss the show! There will be features on the Punkt Festival and a showcase in Trondheim.  Last, not least, there are great new records by Carla Bley, Ralph Towner, Jan Bang, Nils Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen. Arve will perform in Dortmund’s Domicil on October 12th! I’ll be there. And Harald will record Arve at the Unterfahrt in München. 

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