Few words about JAGA JAZZIST:
The Jaga Jazzist have become something of a musical phenomenon in Norway since they started 20 years ago. Not only is this 9-piece instrumental band regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative in Norway, the members are all involved in other musical projects and have in one way or another contributed to almost every significant recording to come out of that part of the world in the last few years. It is this strong involvement with different projects and different musical styles and sounds that is the key to the unique sound of Jaga Jazzist. With no boundaries and an arsenal that includes trumpet, trombone, electric guitars, bass, tuba, bass clarinet, saxes, keyboards, vibraphone and a rack of electronics, Jaga Jazzist create timeless music.
Marcus Forsgren, guitars, effects; Even Ormestad, bass, keyboards; Andreas Mjøs, vibraphone, guitars, drums, electronics; Line Horntveth, tuba, percussion; Martin Horntveth, drums, drum-machines; Lars Horntveth, tenor sax, bass-clarinet, guitars, keyboards; Øystein Moen, keyboards;Erik Johannessen, trombone, percussion
I talked with LARS HORNTVETH:
Q: You come from Norway, and this year is one of the focuses on Ljubljana Jazz Festival – Norwegian Jazz. How would you describe Norwegian Jazz ?
LARS HORNTVETH: Norwegian jazz is most known for the ECM artists like Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen and Terje Rypdal. Many norwegian jazz artists are very inspired be them and have based their sound around that. Jaga Jazzist are also inspired by them, but also electronic music and rock. We´re proud to be a part of the Norwegian jazz scene.
Q: How did JAGA JAZZIST story started ?
LARS HORNTVETH: We started in 1994 and released our first album just a year after. We all lived in a small town 90 minutes outside of Oslo called Tønsberg. Most of us had already known each other all our lives. The band quickly became our main focus and here we are 20 years later.
Q: How do you pronounce JAGA JAZZIST & what does it mean ?
LARS HORNTVETH: yaga yazzist. It means “a chased jazz musician”
Q: Have you guys maintained a consistent line-up over the years?
LARS HORNTVETH: Five of us have been in the band since the beginning. I guess we have had over 15 people through the band over the years, but it has always felt very consistent.
Q: How do you compose new songs, since there are 8 members in the group ?
LARS HORNTVETH: I compose all the songs, but get a lot of input from the others both in rehearsals and in the studio. In the studio we work like we´re making a remix of the songs and they often end very differently than I planned. And I love that.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about collaboration with Britten Sinfonia ?
LARS HORNTVETH: It was something that the British radio host Fiona Talkington curated along with The Barbican Centre in London. Me and Erik Johannessen in the band arranged the songs for full orchestra and had a blast doing it. That collaboration was really a highlight for us and our career.
Q: You are highly successful and recognised in Norway and have been for years, but it took a little longer to gain recognition abroad, after you signed to Smalltown Supersound and consequently were licensed to Ninja Tune. How did you get to work with Smalltown Supersound?
LARS HORNTVETH: We released the album A Livingroom Hush through Smalltown Supersound after Martin(the drummer) got to know Joakim Haugland of Smalltown Supersound and released a few solo EPs with him. Just 6 months later we came in contact with Ninja Tune. It was actually Jason Swinscoe from The Cinematic Orchestra who first introduced us to Ninja Tune. This was around year 2000 and we quickly started touring as much as we could abroad to build an audience. We´re very happy that we´ve been on Ninjatune for such a long time. A great label. I have worked with Smalltown Supersound on booth my solo albums as well.
Q:You will be performing in open air theatre Križanke. Is there any difference when you perform in clubs or big venues like Križanke ?
LARS HORNTVETH:That really depends on how many people there are. If there´s a bunch of people in an open air theatre, it doesn´t make a huge difference from a club venue. We enjoy playing all kinds of venues. The connection to the audience is the most important thing for us.