Awakening

Vidar Schanche — guitar
Dag Sindre Vagle — vocals
Nils Økland — violin
Arild Hoem — saxophone
John Lilja — contrabass
Ståle Birkeland — percussion
Eva Haugen Bjerga — vocals


At the MaiJazz festival in 2014, I was announced as that year's recipient of the annual Mølster Prize. In addition to a cash gift, the prizewinner receives the honour of performing a concert at the following year's festival. I had played at the festival on several occasions previously, both with my own project, EGG3, and as part of other constellations, but now I had the chance to bring to life a specially written work that I had had in mind for about a year. The MaiJazz organisers were very positive about the idea and collaborated closely with me to help get the project off the ground.

The work was performed during the Mølster Prize Concert at 'Folken' as part of MaiJazz 2015, and was released on vinyl and digital formats in 2017.


The music was composed in full by me, with texts supplied by Ray Kane. Thematically, the music is about the transitional space between dream and reality, the expectations one has of life, and a longing for what is lost. Or, to sum up with a few key words: longing, acceptance, insomnia and dreams.

In previous compositions (in particular with my band, EGG3), I have employed an almost cinematographic approach to music. The goal has always been that the music should tell a story, even without text.

From a starting point of creating purely instrumental music, this pursuit of structural 'narrative' has led naturally to a wider use of lyrics and vocals.

The ensemble consists of musicians who live and work in Norway and have broad experience of improvised music, contemporary music, folk music and rock, which is reflected by their collective discography on albums from ECM to Universal and everything in between.

I had for a long time dreamed of creating a work such as this, and with my extensive experience as a player, bandleader and composer, I felt ready to put the project into action. Coming as I do from a background of improvised music, I was very focused on what each musician could bring to the music and how they could serve the group as a whole. The choice of musicians was critical in that the composition is tailored towards fully utilizing each member's unique character and improvisational methods.

 
 
 
 

REVIEW // JAZZ-I-NORGE
"FESTIVAL I FLYTSONEN"

 

Reviewer: Terje Mosnes (08.05.2015)
 

MaiJazz: Priser, kvitteringer og vakker musikk

En årlig festivalpris, der en bestillingskonsert for neste års festival inngår som del av prisen, er blitt vanlig på flere jazzfestivaler. For to år siden innstiftet MaiJazz Mølsterprisen, og etter at trommeslageren Stein Inge Brækhus ble den første prismottakeren, var det i fjor gitaristen Vidar Schanche som ble hedret. I går kvitterte han med konsert for et bra besatt Folken, umiddelbart etter at den 24 år gamle trompeteren/musikkhøgskolestudenten Simen Kiil Halvorsen (Bjergsted Jazzensemble, Morten Abel, Ad lib, Lysskar) hadde fått overrakt sjekken på 40 000 kroner som viser at han er Mølsterprisvinner nummer tre.

Mørk

Vidar Schanches band for anledningen bestod foruten ham selv av gitarist/sanger Dag Sindre Vagle, saksofonist Arild Hoem, felespiller Nils Økland, bassist John Lilja og trommeslager Ståle Birkeland. Konserten var forhåndsomtalt i lokal presse som «mørk», melodisk og mindre friform-basert enn den

musikken som ofte assosieres med EGG3-leder Schanche, og det holdt i og for seg stikk.

Likevel kom det som en overraskelse at Schanche leverte en konsert som i så sterk grad kunne vært hentet fra en dokumentar om såkalt «progressiv rock»/«symfonisk rock» anno ca 1970. Denne anmelder følte seg i lange perioder hensatt til en en tid da Pink Floyd, Yes, The Tubes og Procol Harum var blant de høyeste byggene i et elektrisk landskap av hylende gitarsoli, tjukke, bølgende lydteppelag og dynamisk vidspente crescendoforløp, men vel å merke med en klanglig utvidelse som først og fremst må tilskrives den grensepulveriserende musikanten Nils Økland. Mannen som er like felevant hjemme i et fuzzy, gitarøsende backbeatinferno som i den sarteste, melodilyrisk passasje, fikk utfolde seg på mange strenger i konserten, både som inspirert solist og del av kollektivet, og det er betegnende at han ved å skifte fra fele til hardingfele plutselig malte i en ny farge i musikken, og et øyeblikk ga den et drag av vivaldisk, kammerbarokkal årstidsrappport.