John Pål Inderberg was a 16-year-old Steinkjer boy when he came to Trondheim in 1971, where he became a central force in the city's jazz life, as a musician, educator and inspirer. Twenty-five years ago, he formed the New Cool Quartet, started collaborations with cool jazz giants such as Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, and cultivated the jazz form that got its Trøndel name "cool music". But he didn't debut in his own name until 25, when he recorded the CD Baritone Landscape. It took four years for the next one, which was recorded in August last year and bears the name Cool dream (Taurus TRCD 847).
The thing about "dream" has a little special significance for this recording. Inderberg has been fascinated piece Draumkvædet, the medieval bag about Olav Åsteson and his dramatic dreams through 13 nights of deep sleep. The direct relevance to piece Draumkvædet available in four short solo improvisations for soprano sax, nicely distributed from first to last track.
Inderberg has a full tone in the instrument, warm in the lower register, clear and tanned folk-like in the higher, always coolly controlled. The title song "Cool Dream", in turn, is quite "hot", it has a slightly funky opening before turning into a tangy drive. Here he is accompanied by Erling Aksdal on piano, Ernst Wiggo Sandbakk on drums and Henning Sommerro on accordion. Aksdal is also distinctly present on two duos tracks with Inderberg on baritone sax.
Sommerro is the most frequent player on key instruments. In four recordings, he plays the organ in Our Lady's Church in Trondheim, clear clerical music, and I guess he is the one who plays synth on "Blåmann, Blåmann" and on the theme from a Grieg ballad in G minor. A possible explanatory textbook was missing in my copy – so this means guesses in the crew.
Based on the description above, we can well suggest that this is not a jazz record in the usual sense of the term. It is more of a mixture of musical forms in an Inderberg package – and he is a jazz musician at heart…
However, there is no doubt that Roger Johansens Evening Songs (Tauris TRCD 848) is a jazz record! Here are expressive tenor saxophone, pulsating bass and hefty drums, performed by Atle Nymo from Fauske, Ole Morten Vågan from Brønnøysund and Roger Johansen from Tverlandet, musicians about 25-30 years old. The coolest is the summoned 52-year-old nestor in Norwegian jazz rock, Jon Eberson. He contributes with elevated and well-considered music – expressive when needed and lyrical when appropriate. "Ack, Värmland du sköna" is his feature number for guitar, bass and drums.
Johansen and Nymo met in the Bodø Jazz Quintet in 1992. Nymo and Vågan played together in the Trondheim-based Motif from 1999. Johansen and Vågan were on the Bodø trumpeter Tore Johansen's record from 2002. And now they are all three on this record, where the drummer is boss and has signed all seven of the compositions, Latin, ballads and fast songs in a nice mix, recorded 2004-2005. Tromsø singer Marit Sandvik participates on two tracks. A production that in a very honorable way tells what is moving in Norwegian street jazz at the moment.
While we are in Nordafjells, there is reason to celebrate that Bjørn Alterhaugs Moments from 1978 has become available on CD (Sonor SONCD 2014). The talented bassist and educator was born in Mo i Rana 60 years ago, has lived in Trondheim since 1966 and was the first northern Norwegian musician to be honored with the Buddy Prize (1975).
A quick eight-bar drum intro begins the first track, then a heartbreaking interplay of ten musicians, whereupon Terje Bjørklund begins the solo sequence with a terrific playing. We instantly remember what a formidable musician he was when he prioritized jazz – and was, among other things, Jan Garbarek's regular pianist in the mid – 60s. The album contains four tracks that show Alterhaug's arrangement art for crews of 8-11 members, and it has eight tracks with quintet versions, where we get happy rehearsals with the winds Lars Martin Thomassen, Ove Stokstad and John Pål Inderberg. The latter is here an energetic tenor saxophonist – in a bit of a contrast to the cool dream 26 years later. A record that shows that Norwegian jazz is versatile – and it holds up!