From June 22-30 the 6th annual Nordic Jazz Festival is happening in Washington D.C. This year, in close collaboration with Twins Jazz, we will have more visiting bands and concerts than ever.
For the lastest news on the Festival follow us on Twitter #NordicJazzFestival2012.
This year’s Nordic Jazz 2012 presents seven outstanding jazz acts from the five Nordic countries. Via eight showcases presenting some of the best performers the Nordic region has to offer, the festival will give audiences an unprecedented glimpse into the unique jazz scene found in the world’s northernmost countries.
Representing from Denmark is Søren Møller, hailed by the American magazine All About Jazz as “as close to perfect as it gets." From Norway the critically acclaimed jazz band IPA and the multi Grammy Award nominee Håkon Kornstad. From Sweden Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra, winner of the 2011 Nordic Music Prize. From Finland the award-winning Iiro Rantala, best known as the founder of and pianist for Trio Töykeät, Finland's most famous jazz group. And last but not least from Iceland come two acts: Sunna Gunnlaugsdottir and one of Iceland's leading jazz guitarists, the award-winning Bjorn Thorodssen. The Washington Post said Sunna’s music possesses “such timeless virtues as lyricism and grace [and] elegantly bridges soul-searching passages with uncluttered swing.”
Jazz Festival Package (includes the rooftop concert at House of Sweden, two Twins Jazz concerts and The Finnish embassy concert)
Individual ticket to the rooftop concert at House of Sweden
Individual tickets for the Twins Jazz concerts
Søren Møller, Denmark Danish pianist Søren Møller brings an international group of New York’s finest musicians to this year’s Nordic Jazz. The Søren Møller Group includes acclaimed musicians such as American drummer Damion Reid, Norwegian guitarist Lage Lund and Canadian bass player Zack Lober in a performance of international jazz based on a variety of influences from Jazz to Indie Rock and American classical Minimalism.
Hailed by American magazine All About Jazz as “as close to perfect as it gets” and “a must have 2011 release” by Jazz Chicago, Danish pianist and composer Søren Møller continues to explore the boundaries between jazz, classical minimalism and indie rock in a variety of ensembles from big band to chamber orchestras. Since arriving in New York in 2002 to study towards his Master’s Degree at Manhattan School of Music, Søren Møller has received rave reviews leading ensembles including acclaimed musicians such as Jason Marsalis, Antonio Sanchez, Ambrose Akinmusire, Joel Frahm, Ari Hoenig and performed at established venues in New York including the Carnegie Hall.
“..Moller’s music is never short of mesmerizing... With Christian X Variations, Soren Moller has created what is, thus far, the defining statement in his discography, and a record that's as close to perfect as it gets”. Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
Where and whenSøren Møller will perform with his band at Twins Jazz Saturday June 23 at 9:00 & 11:00 and solo at House of Sweden’s Rooftop Tuesday June 26 at 6:30- 11:00 p.m.
Håkon Kornstad, Norway Håkon Kornstad has established himself on the international jazz scene with a warm, haunting saxophone sound that is recognizable from the first second you hear it. Håkon Kornstad has enjoyed quite an extensive international career as a jazz saxophonist, touring in Europe, USA and Japan with his groups and solo improvisation project. He has worked with some of the world’s most renowned jazz musicians and released multiple Norwegian Grammy nominated albums, reviewed several times by the New York Times, and praised by various international jazz magazines for his alternative saxophone techniques, and for his melodic sense.
In addition to his solo project, he is also known for his duo collaborations with bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (the “Elise” project), pianist Håvard Wiik and singer Sidsel Endresen, as well as his groups “Wibutee” and “Kornstad Trio”.
Where and WhenHåkon Kornstad will perform at House of Sweden’s Rooftop Tuesday June 26 at 6:30- 11:00 p.m. and at Twins Jazz Thursday June 28 at 8:00 & 10:00 p.m.
IPA, NorwayIPA formed in 2006 and with with two critically acclaimed albums and extensive touring under their belts, this fantastic, energetic, and melodic group features Norwegians Atle Nymo (Chick Corea, Pat Metheny) on sax/bass clarinet, double bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (Evan Parker, The Thing), drummer Håkon Mjåset Johansen (Jan Garbarek, Håvard Wiik), and the great Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo (Atomic).
The music consists of great melodic compositions combined with more open material in a splendid mix. All performed with a lot of energy and enthusiasm by four fantastic musicians.Their debut album “Lorena”, released on the Norwegian Indie-label Bolage, received great reviews nationally and abroad, and was followed up by touring in Norway and Sweden the following years. The band has played festivals such as Molde Int. Jazzfestival, Nattjazz in Bergen, and Landet festival in Stockholm. Last spring- 2011, IPA released their second album “It’s a delicate thing”.
Where and WhenIPA opens Nordic Jazz 2012 with a performance at Twins Jazz Friday June 22 at 9:00 & 11:00 p.m.
Sunna Gunnlaugsdottir Trio, IcelandEqually influenced by such American pianists as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, and Scandinavians like Bobo Stenson and Jon Balke, Sunna has found a way to make music to which people on both sides of the Atlantic can relate. Her own charming brand of romantic lyricism soaring over a driving American rhythm section appeals to jazzers and non-jazzers alike.
The Washington Post described her music as possessing “such timeless virtues as lyricism and grace... elegantly bridges soul-searching passages with uncluttered swing.”
The 7 CDs she has released as a leader have consistently met with critical praise over the years, and she has appeared in publications such as JazzTimes, Downbeat, Jazziz, Jazz Podium, Concerto, Stereo, Jazzman, Village Voice, Time Out New York, Swing Journal, Jazzwise, All About Jazz and The Washington Post.
Her last album “The Dream” jumped straight to #2 on the Canadian jazz charts and to #20 on US CMJ. Featuring on the album was Thorgrimur Jonsson – bass and Scott McLemore – drums, whom Sunna also will perform with at Nordic Jazz 2012.
Where and whenSunna Gunnlaugsdottir Trio will perform at The Embassy on Finland Wednesday June 27 at 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. and at Twins Jazz Saturday June 30 at 9:00 & 11:00 p.m.
Bjorn Thoroddsen, IcelandFor several years, Björn Thoroddsen has been one of Iceland's leading jazz guitarists. He has released a number of critically acclaimed albums and has won several Icelandic music awards, including "Jazz Performer of the Year" in 2003. Originally a rock musician graduated from the Guitar Institute of Technology, his attention was soon turned towards jazz, where it has remained to this day.
He performs both as a solo artist and as a member in several bands, including Cold Front with Canada's Richard Gillis and America's Steve Kirby, and the popular Icelandic band Guitar Islancio, which had the honor of being the first Icelandic jazz group to have a gold certificate album.
For Nordic Jazz, guitarist Björn Thoroddsen will both play solo and in the Björn ThoroddsenTrio.
Björn has also collaborated with jazz musicians such as Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Nigel Kennedy and Kazumi Watanabe among many others. He has been invited to perform at music festivals around the world, including Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Kongsberg Jazzfestival, JazzFest Berlin and Winnipeg Jazz Festival and has played at renowned venues like Lincoln Center and Knitting Factory in New York, The Pit-Inn in Tokyo, The Baked Potato and Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles and Blues Alley and Corcoran in Washington D.C.
When Björn is not busy performing, he also runs the annual Icelandic Guitar Festival, which is also televised and has become a big hit in recent years with sold-out shows.
Where and whenBjörn Thoroddsen will perform solo at House of Sweden’s Rooftop Tuesday June 26 at 6:30- 11:00 p.m. and in Björn Thoroddsen Trio at Twins Jazz Friday June 29 at 9:00 & 11:00 p.m.
Goran Kajfeš, SwedenKajfeš is one of Sweden's top jazz trumpeters and a sought after session player, touring musician and producer. Kajfeš has performed with Robyn, José Gonzales, Mando Diao, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Lester Bowie and The Soundrack of our Lives to name a few.
He started off his solo career in 2001 and has since acclaimed fame as a talented musician on the Scandinavian scene. For Nordic Jazz, trumpeter Goran Kajfeš, leads the Subtropic Arkestra of seven including Per "Rusktrask" Johansson Baritone sax and flute, Jonas Kullhammar Tenor sax and flute, Jesper Nordenström Organ, Andreas Söderström Guitar, Johan Berthling Bass and Johan Holmegard Drums.
In 2011, Goran Kajfeš was awarded the Nordic Music Prize where the jury said the following:
"A very distinctive voice unexpectedly united the jury, everybody instantly recognized the love that has gone into the playing and, also, the packaging. It's an ambitious and warm fusion of sonic elements, from jazz with both african and eastern influences to electronica.
This double album really does something that is quite rare: it communicates the pure joy of music."
Where and whenGoran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra will perform at Twins Jazz Sunday June 24 at 8:00 & 10:00 p.mp and at House of Sweden’s Rooftop Tuesday June 26 at 6:30- 11:00 pm.
Iiro Rantala, Fi nlandAfter touring the world for 18 years with Trio Töykeät, Finnish jazz piano virtuoso Iiro Rantala is refreshingly still at the forefront of international pianism. The energetic keyboard lion crosses musical genres and styles with ease and excitement, playing at his exhilarating and adventurous best. Definitely entertaining, zany, unconventional and occasionally wicked, yet always uncompromising.
Iiro Rantala is among the most internationally visible Finnish jazz musicians, and is second to none when it comes to unsurpassable keyboard technique and flaring showmanship. He is best known as the founder and pianist of Trio Töykeät, Finland's most famous jazz group, which became one of the biggest success stories in Finnish jazz. Töykeät gave over 2,500 performances in 60 countries between 1988 and 2006, and released 8 albums - a formidable achievement. The development of Iiro Rantala as a creative pianistic improvisor has been one of the most astonishing phenomena in the Finnish music world, and he has been the winner of all the major jazz awards in Finland during his 22 year career.
Since 2010 Iiro has focused on the development of his solo piano career. Recently Iiro signed a recording deal of three albums with the legendary label ACTMusic&Vision. The first of the three, the critically acclaimed “Lost Heroes”, released in March 2011, was awarded the distinguished German Record Critics' Award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik).
Where and whenIiro Rantala will perform solo at The Embassy on Filand Wednesday June 27 at 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
EMBASSY OF DENMARK, USA
3200 Whitehaven St. NW
Washington, DC 20008