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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 231 - 07/02/15

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Kristoffer Lo
Savages
Propeller Recordings

Kristoffer Lo is a multi-instrumentalist and a man of many talents and genres. Jazz meets pop - and back again. Crisscrossing musical borders, stretching, twisting and tricking musical boundaries - again and again and again... Lo is a member of Highasakite - in addition to bands/projects like PELbO (a trio, feat. singer Ine K. Hoem), Microtub (a three tuba combo!), and Sunswitch (another trio, one tuba only). Lo is a tuba virtuoso. This album, Savages sees Lo and his tuba teaming up with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra (TJO). The TJO ensemble - established in the 1990s, but known under the TJO name from 2000 on - have been doing numerous collaborations, nationally as well as internationally, counting Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Elin Rosseland, Erlend Skomsvoll, Bendik Hofset, Jenny Hval, Maria Kannegaard, Stian Westerhus, Christian Wallumrød, Motorpsycho & Ståle Storløkken (from Supersilent, Elephant9,+++) to name but a few.

Savages is not a savage attack. It's not an attack from savages, either. The compositions might be somewhat wild, brutal and musically extreme, but the album isn't barbaric, vicious, hostile or merciless. Savages is domesticated and cultivated, it's a collection of civilized songs. The savage part of the music is aimed at the real savages of society: the ignorant, the racists, the homophobes, etc. Savages is some sort of anger management, or rather an 'anger blast' with Lo emptying his anger/rage at the imbeciles narrowing the freedom of a truly open and openhearted society without prejudice.

Savages was written (as a commissioned composition work) for the 2014 Molde Jazz Festival, and the recorded (live) album is a shiny beast as its drifting, swaying, flying... hunting high and low. The cover art drawing fronts the music and the album/work title quite well: a vulture - the savage bird, the bird of prey. The players, the ensemble, counts (in addition to Lo and his tuba): Ingrid Helene Håvik and Kari Eskild Havenstrøm - on vocals; Ola Kvernberg - violin; Eivind Lønning - trumpet; Erik Johannessen - trombone; Mette Rasmussen - alto saxophone; André Roligheten - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Eirik Hegdal - saxophones; Petter Vågan - guitar; Gard Nilssen - drums; plus the f/x men: Tor Breivik (sound design) and Pekka Stokke (light design, obviously for the audience present at last year's concert/premiere). The result is fascinating stuff, from the tender "Fall in Love", feat. vocals by Håvik (Highasakite) to more, uh, savage instrumental parts. Seven long tracks makes this a rich listen, to music of the progressive era where jazz blends with, dives and somersaults into pop and rock. Cool, chilling and (at some point) frightning stuff.

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