HÅKON KORNSTAD ENSEMBLE
Friday 11 November 9 pm
Jazzclub b-flat, Dircksenstrasse 40, 10178 Berlin

In the fifties, the jazz saxophonists competed in playing fastest and loudest and called it a Tenor Battle. In Håkon Kornstad's new ensemble the expression takes on a totally different meaning, when he mixes his newfound tenor voice with his unique tenor saxophone playing.The Guardian concluded: «It could have been a virtuosic circus act, but in Kornstad's hands was a musical tour de force.»

And the sound? Caruso meets Coltrane? Garbarek meets Björling? On the albumTenor Battle, opera arias by Massenet, Gluck and Bizet, as well as German lieder and Neapolitan songs are mixed seamlessly with Scandinavian Jazz. Håkon Kornstad sings in Italian, French and German, bringing back memories of old world salon music. And then he plays the saxophone, with his distinct warm sound. Sigbjørn Apeland's harmonium sounds like a blend between strings and wind instruments, and drummer Øyvind Skarbø plays nuanced on arias that were never intended for drums. Harpsichordist Lars Henrik Johansen fits in naturally with his baroque instrument on romantic pieces, while double bassist Per Zanussi also plays the singing saw, without it ever turning circus-like.

The sincerity and beauty of the arias is retained, but the ensemble adds something that has been lacking in

classical music interpretation for quite some time now: The freedom to improvise.

The musicians in Kornstad's ensemble have their backgrounds in jazz, folk and classical music. They have worked intensively together on these arrangements, be it instrumental numbers or classical arias?respectfully and playfully at the same time. Five years have passed since they first met as a group, and their intention has been to let the group sound find its way organically over time, through rehearsals and concerts throughout Norway. The message is starting to come across, and the album received fantastic reviews in the Norwegian press.

Now it's your turn to discover this beautiful music!