Theater of Cruelty

The best of…


Two collecting plates are located on the desk. They are usually called "The best of…" and are intended to give good examples from record artists' careers.

Outer Suløen's Jass ensemble was formed in Langevåg on Sula 32 years ago. It has had an eventful history, with dozens of festival assignments, several trips to New Orleans and a whole 17 records. Now the band is out with number 18, Memories of New Orleans (Herman HJCD 2003), a collection of recordings from 1974 to 2002.

Three phases

The life of the jazz ensemble can be divided into three stages: 1973-87, when it was a pure Sula band with wind band Jarle Førde, Helge Førde, Jens Molvær and the tuba phenomenon Stein Erik Tafjord (nine LPs); 1987-92, when the band was in remodeling (a CD); and after 1992, when the wind band Kåre Nymark, Jan Inge Melsæter, Jens Molvær emerged, David Gald joined the tuba, and the majority of the musicians were settled in the Oslo area (seven CDs).

The oldest recordings are somewhat marked by the happy amateurs, with trombone routing and handsome work. But as early as 1976, the wind trio began to sound excellent, and in the recordings from 1994, competence has lightened and the band as a whole has become among the best in the jazz country. Why they included so many guest singers who alternate from fashionable and exquisite to the pretty (Olivia Cooper an exception), I have never understood. Outer Suløen is good enough alone, and this record is a good documentation of a band in fine musical development and maturation.

43 years of jazz

Karin Krog has released her third album. In 1994, the famous American record label Verve released a double CD, Jubilee (Verve 523716-2) with 35 representative cuts from the years 1964-91. Three years ago, a German company, Crippled Dick Hot Wax (mostly aimed at the pop and disco market), took an interest in the modernist sides of Krog and published Raindrops, Raindrops (CDHW 081) with cuts from 1966-85. Now a new double CD is available, The Best of Karin Krog – Sweet Talker (Grappa GRCD 4219), with 31 examples from a production spanning 43 years!

While the Verve record presented the material strictly chronologically, Grappa has clearly chosen a composition based on the desire for musical variation, and jumps back and forth in history, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1974-2005. Most represented are the albums You Must Believe In Spring with Palle Mikkelborg from 1974, Gershwing with Krog (1974-89) and the fresh Seagull with Bergen Big Band (2005). Small dives are made until 1970 at "Shiny Stockings" with a majestic Dexter Gordon, until 1969 with the picturesque "Break of Day in Molde", until 1966 and the collaboration with the legendary beat band Public Enemies (which does not sound as good today as the myths will ha det til), and down to 1963, when she made her record debut with a Norwegian version of Brooke Benton's "Hit Record". Ironically, she recounts how she became a pop idol (pronounced with a long o!): "Because of johan's comp, a dubious song and a sour choir – I went to the top!"

Much unknown

"Hit Record" belongs to Karin Krog's curious pop career, which is limited to three singles from the 1960s. Otherwise, she has fortunately become one of our clean-cut jazz singers with a lot of international attention. She has recorded as many as 30 LPs or CDs in her own name, besides having participated in a number of others.

Some of the cuts on the collection plate are also found on the plates from Verve and CDHW. But much is unknown to new record buyers, such as the blue-saturated "Soul Eyes" with a vital Archie Shepp (1976), the wonderful duo versions of "Blues in My Heart" and "Stardust" with Red Mitchell and Bengt Hallberg (1977) ), and for example, an amazing "Just One of Those Things" with the Kenny Drew trio (1989). Krog has always been good at choosing musical surroundings.

In addition to the historical music examples contain Sweet Talker also a recent remix of "Watermelon Man" (1966), a 1989 video and a photo cavalcade from her life. The record booklet, written by Tom Garretson, contains some interesting information, and – quite funny – the CD looks like an old LP with record grooves and all…

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