The Oslo concert scene is packed with improvised music at the moment, and a lot of it is stuff you can dance to. Several venues, concert series and musicians have taken part in a renewed interest in merging impro music with clubbing.
Labels and collectives, like Mutual Intentions and Dugnad Rec., have explored different ways of combining the two scenes. Another key figure is Åsmund Skuterud and his many projects – from Koeju at Blå, his time as host of the legendary Jazz in Khartoum jams, and his current collectives who plays at several different venues all over town. Musicians with diverse backgrounds meet on these nights – classically trained musicians perform with jazz improvisers, people from different parts of the world meet up with Norwegian folk musicians. Everything is performed live, but it is supposed to function as club music. The musicians concern themselves with textures and grooves, rather than individual solo spots. But in spite of this collective dogma – or perhaps because of it – these nights have proven to be full of twists and turns, small moments and large climaxes, surprising both musicians and listeners.
To showcase this scene is a natural ambition for Oslo World. Not least because of this years theme, Utopia. At their best, these nights feel like a glimpse into the future – a musical scene where people cross divides like age, places of origin, gender and genre. And where old and new musical technology is employed with a common goal in mind. This year, Skuterud will curate and lead two different jams – Observatoriet at Riksscenen November 1st and Nattelys at Blå, on October 30th.
At Blå, after the Broen release gig, we will hear an ensemble consisting of some of Oslo’s most active musicians. Free jazz saxophonist Signe Emmeluth, the boundary crossing guitar player Oddrun Lilja, percussionist Bacary Sagna and vocalist/bass synth player Solveig Wang will blend with the musicians from Broen – all central figures on the impro scene themselves.
Taken as a whole, these two nights will showcase musicians who time and again has played around in these landscapes – from ambient to afrobeat and house rhythms. Nights like these have become an important part of Norwegian music, spawning new sounds and meetings. When they become part of the Oslo World program this year, we hope more people will share the joys of Oslo’s improvised nightlife.