Sound Transmitter II, the second in a series of double bills featuring the most exciting musicians from the outer reaches of jazz and new music, will present two Nordic bands who reflect the next generation’s take on acoustic jazz, including Norwegian Solveig Slettahjell Slow Motion Duo.
Undertaking her long awaited debut UK tour, in her native Norway Solveig Slettahjell has for some time been considered one of their most celebrated jazz singers. Her diverse repertoire - mixing country, jazz standards, with the odd song by Prince or Tom Waits thrown in – is sung in her captivating voice. Taking inspiration from the distinctive voice of fellow Norwegian Sidsel Endresen, yet strongly influenced by the gospel that filled her youth, Solveig has carved out a unique sound for which her second album, ‘Pixiedust’, attracted unanimous rave reviews. With her on stage, as part of the Slow Motion Duo, is Sjur Miljeteig on trumpet. Slettahjell’s latest album ‘Good Rain’ is released on 30 October.
The February issue of influential UK jazz magazine Jazzwise praised the singer for her latest album 'Pixiedust'. Journalists Stuart Nicholson wrote in the magazine's 'Taking Off' section that Slettahjell's voice immediately demands attention: 'Without wringing a song for sentimentality, her ability to get inside a song and reveal and extract new meanings from it was as unsettling as moving. Slettahjell puts you through the emotion unique. (...) Her voice - pure, haunting and with inch perfect intonation - unwound with perfect control, creating an approach and mood quite unique in jazz.'
Wrote The Independent’s Stuart Nicholson in his review of Slettahjell’s London gig in May: “Three years ago, the huge success of Norah Jones's debut album Come Away with Me concentrated record company executives' minds in a way that only multi-million sales worldwide can. What was a once a trickle of jazzy singers pre-Norah is now a flood. There are Norah Jones soundalikes (Rebecca Martin), Billie Holiday soundalikes (Madeleine Peyroux), Ella Fitzgerald copyists (Jane Monheit) and soul and pop singers singing jazzy stuff. And while most of them can actually be very pleasant, they're not adding anything to what Holiday, Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan did decades ago.
Enter Solveig Slettahjell, a graduate of the Oslo Music Conservatory, who has refined a wholly original approach to jazz singing of her own. First of all, she slows down most of her material, which is why her band - Sjur Miljetieg on trumpet, Morten Qvenlid on piano and electronics, Mats Eilertsen on bass and Per Oddvar Johansen on drums and electronics - are called her Slow Motion Quintet. Her opening number, John Hiatt's "Have A Little Faith In Me", acquired an unexpected gravitas and profundity through her slower choice of tempo. But to get away with it needs a very good voice. Short notes become long notes and long notes become even longer.
On songs like Tom Waits's "Take It With Me", or originals written for her by Peder Kjellsby, like "Hope is the Thing" and "Milo", Slettahjell effortlessly suspended the lyrics in mid-air, a high-wire act where every note is held for an agonisingly long time as she explores its timbral density for expressivity and nuance.
Secondly, she has her Slow Motion Quintet deconstruct each song, reassembling it in completely unexpected ways with subtle sonic washes, jagged piano counterpoint, asymmetric bass patterns and things-that-go-bump-in-the-night drumming.
As a result, their accompaniment seems to inhabit a parallel musical universe - such as the a tempo interlude in the otherwise sprightly "Count the Days". Yet singer and accompanists somehow succeed in coalescing with startling musical logic. It's an approach that is both moving and unsettling. Indeed, listening to Slettahjell can be a profound experience.”
The second act in this double bill is Finish outfit Ilmiliekki who somehow manage to sound as classy and powerful as performers twice their age, yet possess a distinctly modern sound that reflects their youth. First class writing and playing combined with the influences of their generation, create one of the most striking young quartet's in Europe.
Pan Jazz Production A/S (PJP AS) (Artist Managements)
Curling Legs Productions (Record Companies)
Solveig Slettahjell, Singer, Musical Director