Kongsberg Jazz Festival Unveils First Shows
On February 1, 2012, Norway's Kongsberg Jazz Festival unveiled the first series of shows scheduled for its 2012 edition, running from July 4-7, 2012. In addition to its collaboration with Music Export Norway and All About Jazz on the All About Jazz Presents: Doing It Norway series, encompassing seven shows curated by AAJ Managing Editor John Kelman and detailed in this press release, the festival has released exciting news about seven additional shows that span the globe and will appeal to fans across the entire musical spectrum.
On Wednesday, July 4 at 19:00, singer Sharon Jones & The DAP Kings open Kongsberg 2012 in booty-shaking style at Tubaloon, the festival's unique outdoor venue. This year's festival opener is going to be a grand one," enthuses Marketing Manager Anne-Thea Langvik Haavind. Few people can create a musical celebration like the queen of soul Sharon Jones; influenced by legends like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding, Jones and her band the Dap-Kings are considered the leaders of a new wave of soul and funk."
That same evening at EnergiMølla, Britain's Led Bib will bring its exciting brand of cutting-edge jazz to Kongsberg in a late-night show at Energimølla. This quintet has beenand still iscentral in the revitalization of the British jazz scene," says Haavind. With two saxophonists in front [Chris Williams and Pete Grogan], Led Bib conveys an unusually temperamental musical mix. This is post-bop, loud free jazz and noise rock mixed into a fresh blend that the audience at Energimølla is sure to love."
The creative juices continue to flow on Thursday, July 5, when American pianist Vijay Iyer brings his trio to Kongsberg Kirke (church) at 17:00, in support of its forthcoming Accelerando (ACT, 2012)set for release in March and featuring bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Both as a solo pianist and with his trio, Iyer is ranked as one of today's top jazz musicians," Haavind explains. His trio's music is characterized by power, dynamics and surprise, and yet it always manages to communicate directly with its audience. It has been said that the 1990s was Brad Mehldau's decade; clearly the first part of the new millennium belongs to Vijay Iyer."
With Doing It Norway's seven shows taking place on Thursday and Friday, July 5-6, four shows on Saturday, July 7 promise to make this the best closing day in Kongsberg's 47-year history. LiveLiena duo featuring Norwegian vocalist Live Maria Roggen and award-wining pianist Helge Lienbrings its Poesioasen: Låvesalg (the poetry oasis: barn sale) project to Howlidgården. LiveLien consists of two of Norway's most talented jazz musicians," says Haavind. They have taken texts from recognized Norwegian poets like Hans Børli, Ole Paus, André Bjerke, Lars Lillo Stenberg and Alf Prøysen, and combined them with musical artists including Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Cole Porter. This just has to be both beautiful and engaging!"
The festival's final major outdoor show brings nearly three-decade-old alt-rockers The Flaming Lips to Tubaloon at 19:00. Renowned for energetic live performances, this is going to be a fiesta for anyone who enjoys alternative, original and brave rock," Haavind says, enthusiastically. A mix of advanced video and lighting shows, figurines and costumes are some of the elements this band is known for delivering live in concerts." Expect the unexpected!
Equally unpredictable, Scandinavia's The ThiingSwedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, and Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Lovebrings its relentless music without a safety net to EnergiMølla at 21:00. The group has played the festival before, but with two added guests recruited for its return to Konbgsbergpianist Agusti Fernánde and trumpeter Peter Evansthis is sure to be a special event. There are few improvising bands as expressive or energetic as The Thing," says Haavind. This is free jazz heaven and, together with their eminent guests, The Thing will make this concert an unusual and exclusive experience."
The Flaming Lips may be Kongsberg 2012's last large-scale show, but the honor of the actual final performance at this year's festival goes to Selvhenter. A Danish quartet that outwits any audience with two drummers, one trombonist and one saxophonist, Selvhenter finds a meeting point between jazz, noise and rock," says Haavind. They are going to deliver a high quality concert that will be talked about for a long time, and promises to be one of this year's biggest surprises."
More shows will be announced in the coming months, but with its first 14 shows, 2012 is already shaping up to be the best edition in the Kongsberg Jazz Festival's 47-year history, and a must-see event for anyone who wants to know where jazz is today, and where it's going tomorrow.