Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Ole Morten Vågan

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photo by Thor Egil Leirtrø

Ole Morten Vågan – bass, compositions
Sofia Jernberg – voice
Ola Kvernberg – violin
Eivind Lønning – trumpe
Øyvind Brække – trombone
Signe Emmeluth – alto saxophone
Kjetil Møster – tenor sax and clarinet
Espen Reinertsen – tenor sax and bass clarinet
Eirik Hegdal – baritone sax, c-melody clarinet
Marianne Baudouin Lie – cello
Oscar Grønberg – piano
Ståle Storløkken – hammond organ, synthesizer
Gard Nilssen – drums
Håkon M. Johansen – drums

In 2018 Ole Morten Vågan, one of the most sought-after bass players in Norway, collaborated for the first time with the unpredictable and creative Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, comprised of a sort of who ́s who in Norwegian jazz.

Together they recorded the album “Happy Endlings”, in 2021 to be followed by “Plastic Wave” – both on the Norwegian Odin label

Listen to Plastic Wave

Where Happy Endlings took the listener on a ride on the edge of their seat through a myriad of innovation, shock, and surprises, Plastic Wave sees TJO & Vågan take their mischievous end time antics from the previous album to the next phase, in some sorts a musical excavation of the next evolutionary step.

Ole Morten Vågan about Plastic Wave: “The concept behind this album came about right after writing the music from Happy Endlings, which spun around a sort of end time scenario where the main characters are happily unaware of the impending doom that awaits them…. This may seem like a gloomy backdrop for an album, but it also has an inherent comic side to it, a sort of apocalyptic slapstick humour that I enjoy a lot.

On “Plastic Wave”, I tried to shift the focus away from those characters and think about what happens when all our little endeavours fuse with the world around us, like the volcanic rock that melt with all the plastic from our garbage and create a new type of rock all together (plastiglomerate). In that sense, this album is more about all the small imperceptible processes that go on around us without our knowing, but that we are still a part of.”

Norway ́s Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is an unpredictable beast – constantly reborn from the ashes like a phoenix, its wings has taken it to a multitude of distant musical skies. Having cooperated closely with luminaries such as Pat Metheny and Joshua Redman, they are equally known for being a catalyst and laboratory for young composers, like Norway’s own SKRAP, Eirik Hegdal, Hedvig Mollestad and outside forces such as Anna Webber and Cory Smythe. Beginning on a high note in 2000 with a now legendary gig at the Molde Jazz Festival with Chick Corea, the TJO has since done hundreds of concerts around the world, and are today considered to be at the apex of large ensemble music in Europe.

Ole Morten Vågan is known as one of Scandinavia’s most prolific bass players. He is as likely to be seen playing with people from the Berlin improv scene as together with musical madman Stian Carstensen or stepping in with the Joshua Redman Trio for a tour. He first came into the public eye with his band Motif as well as with Bugge Wesseltoft in the early 2000 ́s, is heard on about a hundred different recordings, and has been the artistic director for the TJO since 2017.

“If there ́s anyone in Norway carrying the torch for bass icon Charles Mingus, both in terms of intrepid group leadership and muscular bass playing, it’s Vågan.”  (John Kelman, AllAboutJazz)

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