Norwegian horns-based combo Jaga Jazzist, formed by multi-instrumentalist
brothers Lars and Martin Horntveth and featuring multi-instrumentalist
released an immature album,
Javla Jazzist Grete Stitz (Thug, 1996), and the
EP Magazine (Dbut, 1998 - Smalltown Supersound, 2004)
before finding their true voice.
A Livingroom Hush (Warner, 2001 - Ninja Tune, 2002) straddled the border
between the Canterbury (melodic jazz-rock) sound of Soft Machine and the post-rock sound of Tortoise. The line-up featured:
Lars Horntveth (acoustic guitar, hi-string guitar, tenor & baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, flute, keyboards); Harald Froland (guitar, synthesizer, effects); Jorgen Munkeby (tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute, bass clarinet, keyboards); Mathias Eick (trumpet, keyboards, acoustic bass).
They tried to make their project more accessible (and succeeded) with
the electronic and "orchestral" The Stix (Ninja Tune, 2003). The album featured:
Lars Horntveth (acoustic & electric guitars, tenor & baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, flute, keyboards); Harald Froland (guitar, synthesizer, effects); Jorgen Munkeby (harmonica, flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, keyboards, glockenspiel); Mathias Eick (trumpet, keyboards, acoustic bass); Lars Wabo.
What We Must (Ninja Tune, 2005), containing the eight-minute single All I Know Is Tonight, withdrew from the excesses of the previous album
but retained the overall aesthetic of intelligent, atmospheric instrumental
multi-layered music for the masses.
Jaga Jazzist's multi-instrumentalist Jorgen Munkby formed Shining and, after
the acoustic and truly jazzy
Where The Ragged People Go (2001) and
Sweet Shanghai Devil (2001), turned to
bombastic progressive-rock on chaotic collections like
In The Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster (2005) and especially
Lars Horntveth debuted solo with the jazztronica experiment Pooka (2004).
The first Jaga Jazzist album in five years,
One-Armed Bandit (2010 - december 2008), was their least "jazz" and
most "rock". It often sounded like a return to prog-rock of the 1970s, replete
with suspense and melodrama.
Shining's Blackjazz (The End, 2010) featured Munkeby
(vocals, guitars, saxophone),
Kreken (bass), Moen (electronics), Hermansen (guitars)
and vocalist Gentle Kjellson. By now the sound had mutated into the sort of
pummeling atonal prog-spazz-metal preached by the likes of
John Zorn's Naked City coupled
with the anarchic free-jazz aesthetic of
(The Madness and the Damage Done, Healter Skelter).
As usual, grand ideas coexist and share the stage with childish filler and
second-rate music (like the nine-minute cover of King Crimson's
21st Century Schizoid Man sung by Enslaved's vocalist Grutle Kjellson).
This is true also of the lengthy pieces,
Blackjazz Deathtrance and Exit Sun, that could have been trimmed
down a bit for maximum effect.
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