Beginning with a string of gigs in Germany and Bulgaria in July and August, saxophonist/composer Karl Seglem embarks on a hectic touring period that will see the renowned improviser performing in both Europe and the US. Seglem’s busy touring season is culminates with a high-profile appearance at the London Jazz Festival in mid-November.
Norway has spawned quite a plethora of distinctive musicians that have made it their enterprise to merge musical traditions, often from their respective homesteads, with contemporary expressions, world music and improvisational jazz.
Karl Seglem looms prominently among these and he is unquestionably one of the great innovators and visionaries of Norwegian music; reinvigorating both Norwegian traditional genres and jazz with his unwavering will to fuse expressions, pursue crossover ventures and embrace new instruments, sounds and perspectives.
His trademark has become the use of rams’ horns as a wind instrument. This has great symbolic power of course, but it is no mere gimmick. The horns present a sound which is both ancient –it was a common thing to play rams horns in Norway in older times- and at the same time avant-garde, due to the musical contexts in which he lets the instrument feature.
Seglem’s main instrument is the tenor saxophone and he has played an important role on the Norwegian jazz scene. But already at an early stage in his career he became interested in more diverse and genre crossing perspectives of music. Especially he has been deeply involved with Norwegian folk music and has explored it as a basis for improvisation and composition. For Seglem is much more than an instrumentalist, he has worked widely and diversely as a composer –developing new contemporary forms on the basis of jazz, folk music and more eclectic inspirations- and has also been instrumental to the growth of cross-over expressions and projects as a producer and record label manager.
International renown has grown steadily and not least his recent trilogy of solo releases Femstein, Reik and URBS have captivated international critics and audiences. On these records the use of rams’ horns and other traditional instruments –notably the Hardanger fiddle- is masterly and excitingly blended with a plethora of modern and eclectic elements; electronic loops, jazz improvisation, world music traits and rock characteristics. Seglem often returns to the notion of the acoustic heart of his music, which is the grounded and timeless leitmotif. With this heart intact electronic elements and engineered sounds, as well as genre-specific traits, create a dynamism that is reciprocally enhancing.
His latest, URBS, was a great success in continental Europe, especially in Germany where the critics were mesmerized by the modern mystery of Seglem’s art. Taking up on the fantastic reception Seglem will soon embark on an extensive tour of Germany and Austria, and he has been shortlisted for one of Europe’s most important folk music awards the “Eiseiner Eversteiner” later this fall. But also at home Seglem is in demand as never before and on September 22nd he premiered a commissioned work, “Tidevatn” (Tidewater) in Sogndal. It is a piece that features fifty different voices; rams’ horns, woodwinds, brass, drums and a choir, all of which will create a magnificent and characteristic sonic palette.
More info: www.karlseglem.no
Karl Seglem, Composer, Saxophonist