Reviews that mention Ole Morten Vågan

January 26, 2019

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Ole Morten Vågan

Happy Endlings

Tucked away in the central Norwegian city, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra (TJO) has been defining its identity among (Free) Jazz, notated, rock-like and vocal traditions for almost 20 years. Although it’s not the 13-piece ensemble’s endlimg (sic) CD, this almost 72-minute set is a comprehensive contemporary portrait of the TJO. More to the point, Happy Endlings reflects the ongoing musical vision of the TJO’s artistic director and bassist Ole Morten Vågan who composed all eight tracks. Interested in Norwegian folk and other ethnic musics, the bassist has also been a part of Jazz-oriented groups such as Motif and ones led by Håvard Wiik's. Luckily, the ever-shifting make-up of the TJO on this CD allows him to achieve many of his objectives. MORE

June 21, 2016

Obara International

Live in Mińsk Mazowiecki
ForTune 0080 (052)

Gradually expanding his perspective, Warsaw-based alto saxophonist Maciej Obara has juiced up his International band of two Poles and two Norwegians by adding British trumpeter Tom Arthurs to the mix. Like a touch of pepper that adds flavor, but doesn’t substantially alter the dish’s spice content, the trumpeter, who often works with the likes of pianist Julia Hülsmann and bassist Miles Perkin is attached to similar FreeBop impulses as the saxophonist. With Norwegians, bassist Ole Morten Vågan and drummer Gard Nilssen keeping the pulse steady, the horns’ contrapuntal jabs toughen the narratives, especially when pianist Dominik Wania’s innate romanticism seems in danger of sugar coasting the seven originals so they become more Disney-like than Grimm’s fairy tale-realistic. MORE

May 14, 2014

Obara International

For Tune 007

Does it make a difference if musicians performing a work are of the same nationality as its composer? While the concept is iffy at best, sometimes it seems as if nationalism can add an extra oomph to the playing. So it is with this CD, where four Polish jazzmen expand to epic length interpretations of pieces by Krzysztof Komeda. Best known in the West for his soundtrack writing, including Rosemary’s Baby and The Fearless Vampire Killers, Komeda (1931-1969) was also in on the birth of Polish modern jazz, and remains the best-known composer from that era. MORE