Posts Tagged ‘Improv’

With the release date of “Flora Eallin”, the upcoming album from Experimental Duo LEAGUS set for the 28 April, Is it Jazz? Records have today released a new single from the album. 

The track, titled “Tendril” can be streamed or downloaded from various services at

LEAGUS had this to say about the track:

Tendril is a curly stem that some plants produce for support and climbing. The song is the fourth track of the “Flora Eallin” album, and introduces two vocalists. The lyrics concern collective and individual responsibility, and different aspects of the climate crises we have been facing for generations. Lyrics are by Frode Larsen.

When pianist Herborg Rundberg first formed LEAGUS in 2013 it was simply part of her Masters degree in Rhythmic Music at the Tromsø Conservatory. However when she was joined by guitarist Kristian Svalestad Olstad, who had himself received his Masters degree in the same subject two years earlier, LEAGUS became a fully fledged contemporary and experimental music duo.

Herborg’s Sami background, and her work with traditional and classical music, along with Kristian´s extended use of guitar and electronics,  forms the basis of LEAGUS’ sound, which has, over time, developed into an exploratory and complex sonic universe.   As for the name LEAGUS, the word itself originates in the area in which Herborg herself was born and is Sami slang for asking for something. 

Having  worked extensively on finding new, and different,  interactions between the  piano and the guitar, LEAGUS were able to develop a new and progressive kind of musical togetherness, creating  a highly dynamic sound in which musical contrasts play a big part in the overall concept.

 Alternating  between formal composed parts, open structures and free improvisation that at times feel like subdued, minimalistic psalm-like pieces, whilst at other times features more rock-oriented improvised parts, LEAGUS released two albums, and were then approached by the NORTH NORWEGIAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE, who, in 2021 commissioned them to write a piece for the ten piece orchestra.

This resulted in  Herborg and Kristian composing and arranging the piece “Flora Eallin”, which will be released in full on Is it Jazz? Records in CD, Digital and Double LP formats.

Featuring  the  NORTH NORWEGIAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE and with cover art and design by Martin Losvik, track listing for “Flora Eallin”, is as follows:

1. Kime
2. Flor
3. Vann
4. Tendril
5. Nihkui
6. Vind
7. Pripyat
8. Geo
9. Mykorrhyza
10. Eallin
11. Sol
12. Hyperion

“Flora Eallin” is now available to pre-order from:

On stage the duo are known for their energetic and visual concerts, and will be celebrating the release of “Flora Eallin” live at the Jazzahead Clubnight at the Achat Hotel in Bremen, Germany on the 28th April. 

Details of the event and booking info can be found at 

More  information about LEAGUS can be found on the band’s Facebook page at or on their website at

A video of LEAGUS performing the track “Hyperion” directed by Norwegian photographer and artist Martin Losvik, and featuring the NORTH NORWEGIAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE, can be seen below and at

Losvik  is well known for his distinctive style that can contain elements of humour, surrealism and darkness. The  video is the result of Martin being given free hands to do his visual interpretation of this musical project. 

Additional Information:
Promo and other information:
Band Contact & Booking:

“Moonshine Movement” is the second single from “Do You Dream in Colours”,  the upcoming album from  AKSEL RØED’S OTHER ASPECTS,  and, according to Røed himself the track is a “groovy alibi for the album itself”, as he explains:

The tune consists of a single bass line and a simple drum groove. Sigurd exerts a steadying influence, but makes sure to stir things around and shake things up.  Barnes rips straight into a solo with a mind-bending alto horn, whilst the rest of the wind section tightly underscore the solo before an arranged B-section comes in and sets the band up for yet another solo round.  This time it’s  both Lauritz and Aksel who step to the fore, and again…the B-section follows before the trumpets howl their way towards a drum solo finale.

The tune is meant to be long and static, inspired by the calmness of the Johan Lindstrøm Septett, and the roughness of Angles 9.  With Sverre insisting on keeping the bass line heavy and clear for 8 minutes straight, you just can’t miss it. Hopefully you will enjoy the spaceflight upon which the soloists embark.

Very little arrangement has been done for this tune, it’s a vehicle for full-blown soloing on top of a somewhat “naive” groove. The piece stays very much the same (at least what’s written) until 6 minutes in, then we get a different melodical space for Sigurd to blast some drums until we tie it up for the last blast from the horn section. It feels like it’s never going to end, and you will wish it wouldn’t.

“Moonshine Movement” can be downloaded or streamed from a variety of services at

“Do You Dream in Colours” will itself be released on Is it Jazz? Records on the 17th February in CD, LP, and Digital formats. Recorded at the Duper Studios in Bergen,  and with cover photo by William Østensen and cover design by Tom Korsvold, tracklisting is as follows:

1. Goiserer Jodler / To Whom This May Concern
2. I Usually Paint by Myself
3. Bergen is the Prettiest in Blue
4. Moonshine Movement
5. When You Dream in Colours

Pre-orders for “Do You Dream in Colours” are now available at


Whilst studying at the Grieg Academy, Aksel Røed’s original intention on forming OTHER ASPECTS back in 2019 was simply to write music for one of his academic projects.  But,  given that he had, in fact,  created an octet that included in its ranks not only some the finest young Norwegian musicians, but also others with a renowned track record, proved to be too much of a temptation for the much sought-after Jazz saxophonist and it quickly became the main focus of Røed’s attention.

OTHER ASPECTS is the largest project, in terms of band members,  that Røed (GENERAL POST OFFICE, DAG ARNESEN) has been involved with. Aside from Røed himself,  the lineup of OTHER ASPECTS, includes his brother Lyder Øvreås Røed on trumpet and flugelhorn,  Andreas Hesselberg Hatzikiriakidis on second trumpet, Sigurd Steinkopf on drums, Sverre Sæbø on bass,  and Isach Skeidsvoll on piano. Aside from Røed himself on tenor sax, the saxophone section is made up of Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll (BEAR BROTHER, MASTER OOGWAY) on soprano and tenor, and Michael Barnes (BERGEN BIGBAND) on baritone sax and bass clarinet.  Barnes, who Røed describes as an “Aussie who writes the best scores for large ensembles in Bergen”, also happens to be Røed’s long time mentor and friend.  

Musically Røed finds insipiration in the old saxophone recordings of Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler and Pharoah Sanders, and in the composition styles of Django Bates and Charlie Hadens Liberation Orchestra, but OTHER ASPECTS bears Røed’s hallmarks, with music that constantly drifts into different and surprising directions.  As he recently explained:

The music is composed but not set, meaning its perfectly acceptable,  and even encouraged, to think and play outside the box. Most of the magic within the band lies in the free improvisation. 

The next live appearance of AKSEL RØED’S OTHER ASPECTS  will be on the 22nd of February, when the band will celebrate the release of the album with a show at the at Bergen Kjøtt.

Details about the show can be found on Facebook at

More information about AKSEL RØED’S OTHER ASPECTS can be found at

Additional Information
Band Contact:
Is it Jazz? Records

Norwegian jazz trio DATADYR was the second signing on the newly formed Is it Jazz? Records back in 2022, and the label went on to  release the young band’s first album “Woolgathering” in June of that year. 

DATADYR’s music ranges from the heartfelt and gentle to the energetic and explosive, and it’s rarely far between those extremes.  The  debut  album itself was a collection of the trio’s favourite songs, which they had written early on in their careers.  As such, it showcased the kind of music its members were influenced by, both as individual musicians and as a band.

“Woolgathering” did, in fact, provide a smorgasbord of atmospheric jazz and Americana with a retro post-pop feel, and, needless to say, there was an abundance of tracks to choose from, some of which, both band and label thought would be perfect for a follow up EP. 

Hence,  on the 24th February, Is it Jazz? Records will release four of those tracks as a digital EP titled “Keymaster”.

As the band explained:

When we entered the studio to record our debut album we knew we had too much material to fit on a record, and now the songs we decided to leave out are being released as an EP!

We also had the pleasure of having Mathias Marstrander play some beautiful pedal-steel on Tamagochi Dream!

We’re looking forward to releasing the rest of the songs from the album recording-sessions and hope you like them!

Recorded at the Solslottet studio at Bergen Kjøtt with Iver Sandøy as the engineer and producer, and w ith cover art by Eigil Nordstrøm and band photographs by Olav Vikingstad, tracklisting on “Keymaster” is as follows:

1. Keymaster
2. Tamagotchi Dream
3. Onkel Amerika
4. Free Folk

“Keymaster” is now available to pre-order at or Bandcamp at

With all three members having studied jazz at the Grieg Academy, DATADYR’s lineup of Øystein Høynes on bass, Amund Nordstrøm on drums and Odd Erlend Mikkelsen on guitars, have garnered experience in bands such as KRYPTOGRAF, DREAMARCHER, ATARI, CORT PIIL and SHAKAI.  By combining their extensive studies with their accumulated experience, the trio has been able  to create a sound characterized by traditional jazz, along with newer directions in the genre, as well as improvisation. 

More  information about DATADYR  can be found on the band’s Facebook page at


When you have a band whose lineup features three musicians who are graduates of the prestigious Grieg Academy in Norway, it is little wonder that their varied skill sets enable them to create a distinctive and original sound that makes use of what they have learned both through academia and hands-on experience. 

And this is what you get with DATADYR, a band that retains its original spontaneity and playfulness, and takes it up a notch by using the traditional sounds one would expect of jazz, whilst, at the same time, also taking those traditions into new directions – along with a good dose of improvisation.

So, with DATADYR’s debut full-length album “Woolgathering” due to be released on the 10th June, and, conscious of the fact that DATADYR is a young band, and relatively unknown to followers of the genre, Is it Jazz? Records have chosen to release a second track from the album, thereby giving fans a further taste of what to expect from an album that is set to deliver an explosive mix of Americana, Blues, Jazz and Free Jazz.

The track, “Daybreaking”, can be streamed or downloaded from a number of services at

About the track itself, DATADYR had this to say:

Daybreaking features Kjetil Møster on saxophone, a musician we all look up to, so it was great to have him in the studio and record two songs with him. He brought a lot of energy and passion to the music and we’re very proud to have him on our record.

Based in Bergen, Norway, DATADYR’s  lineup comprises Øystein Høynes on bass,  Amund Nordstrøm  on drums and  Odd Erlend Mikkelsen on guitars, and, whilst DATADYR may be a new band, its three musicians have considerable experience with other bands and projects, either live or in the studio, past, present and upcoming. These include FINNSETH TRIO, HERKULES, KRYPTOGRAF, DREAMARCHER, ATARI, CORT PIIL, TARA MARTINE, TREVERKET, HVO, DREAMARCHER, AVIAN ART, THOMAS LOSSIUS SEPTETT,  GUNSLINGING BIRD, MØ: SAN, DUMBO CASINO  and SHAKAI.  

 “Woolgathering” was Recorded at the Solslottet Studio at Bergen Kjøtt, and is produced and engineered by  Iver Sandøy.  Aside from the afore mentioned Ketil Møster on saxophone, the album will also feature a guest appearance by Mathias Marstrander on guitar. 

Track listing for “Woolgathering”  is as follows:

  1. Tier
  2. Krystalldans
  3. Woolgathering
  4. Daybreaking
  5. FastUp
  6. Datadyr
  7. Low Hanging Moon

With cover art by Eigil Nordstrøm and band photographs by Olav Vikingstad , “Woolgathering will be released in CD, Digital and Red Vinyl formats, and is now available to pre-order from:


More information about DATADYR  can be found on the band’s Facebook page at

Datadyr Facebook:
Datadyr Youtube:
Datadyr Booking:

Having recently announced the details of label’s first ever release (from Jazz Prog Rockers SOFT FFOG), Is it Jazz? Records have today revealed more about DATADYR, the band destined to produce the label’s second release, which will be available on the 10th June.

Based in Bergen, Norway, DATADYR is a trio of musicians who are all graduates of the Grieg Academy,  where their jazz studies provided the inspiration for their music, which can be characterized by its use of traditional jazz, newer directions in jazz and musical improvisations.

All three have considerable experience with other bands and projects. Bassist Øystein Høynes, for instance, has deep-dived into both American and Scandinavian Jazz, something that can be heard in DATADYR’s music.  He likes to explore the differences in genres and mix them up, and his playing is “groovy and playful”, with a desire to drive the music forward.  Already a well-known figure on the Scandinavian Jazz scene, Høynes has played on albums by the FINNSETH TRIO, HERKULES and ATARI, and is currently playing with ATARI, TARA MARTINE, TREVERKET, and HVO.

During his time at the Grieg Academy drummer Amund Nordstrøm turned his focus towards jazz, free jazz and free improvisation. With a style that is energetic, playful and which pays great attention to tone and texture, it is somewhat extremist but nevertheless displays a controlled musical direction, with  clear references to older American and Scandinavian jazz. In a short time Nordstrøm has succeeded in making a name for himself on the music scene in Bergen. He has played a number of concerts in both Norway and Europe and released albums with AVIAN ART, THOMAS LOSSIUS SEPTETT and GUNSLINGING BIRD, with more in the works with bands such as DATADYR, CORT PIIL, MØ: SAN, DUMBO CASINO and SHAKAI.

Guitarist Odd Erlend Mikkelsen has, for several years, been involved in the Rock and Metal scene with bands like DREAMARCHER and KRYPTOGRAF. However, during the last four years he studied Jazz at the Grieg Academy, exploring improvisation. Through his studies he has developed a sound that combines the energy and abrasiveness of classic rock guitar playing, with the harmonic and rhythmic ideas derived from modern jazz.

Having used their experience and their studies to hone their musical skills and develop their distinctive sound – which ranges from the heartfelt and gentle to the energetic and explosive, DATADYR are now ready with their debut full-length album “Woolgathering”, about which the band had this to say:

It’s great to finally release our album on Is it Jazz? Records! There hasn’t been a proper label for jazz/improvised music in Bergen for a while now so Is it Jazz? Records came along at just the right time for us.

“Woolgathering” is a collection of our favourite songs which were written early on in DATADYR’s career. Some of them go all the way back to 2018. while some of them are more recent. It’s a good mix of all our influences as a band and as individual musicians. “Woolgathering” means to daydream, to gather your thoughts – a fitting title in our opinion. 

Further details about “Woolgathering” will be released in due course, and more information about DATADYR  can be found on the band’s Facebook page at