Available languages: EnglishSince releasing his 2010 debut album, City Stories, Norwegian composer, tuba and bass trumpet player Daniel Herskedal has been an unconventional musician who has pushed the sonic and technical limitations of his chosen instrument. His highly individual style weds formal techniques from classical composition to the improvisational acumen of jazz, the haunting familiarity of Arabic and Norwegian folk musics, and a cinematic approach. His compositions don't contrast, they integrate, using cyclical themes, resonant, sonorous beauty, and a cinematic scope that has won over listeners and critics globally -- his arrangement of John Phillips' "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)" was used in the poignant film The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and in Coca Cola's "Open Like Never Before" global advertising campaign. His first three leader outings for Edition Records, 2015's Slow Eastbound Train, 2017's The Roc, and 2019's Voyage, created an elemental conceptual trilogy about environments both physical and atmospheric, and he won European and American critics over for his musical ability to mirror physical landscapes in sonorous ones. In 2019 Herskedal collaborated with Saami traditional singer Marja Mortensson on the duo offering Lååje = Dawn. It wed South and Ume Saami yoik melodies to the sound of a classical chamber quintet; it was a love letter to Norway's natural environment and its Indigenous peoples. 2020's Call for Winter, performed solo by Herskedal on tuba and bass trumpet with overdubs, created pastoral, wintry snapshots of land, atmospheres, and sea. He issued Harbour with his longtime trio in Julky 20-21. Herskedal was born in Molde in 1982. He began playing the French Horn as a boy in school, then migrated to the tuba as an adolescent. Though classically trained, Herskedal was drawn first and foremost to jazz. He began formal studies at the Storyville Jazz Club while attending the music program at school. With the members of the Storyville club clinic, he formed the trad-jazz band Dixi and recorded several albums -- all before leaving for Trondheim to attend the Trondheim Musikkonsevatorium, where he earned a bachelor's degree in jazz studies. While in music school, he co-founded Listen!, a jazz trio with pianist Espen Berg and saxophonist Bendik Giske. They issued a pair of well-received albums and continue to play together. 2007's self-titled effort was followed by laudatory tours of Europe, Syria, and Cuba; the tour left a deep and lasting impression on Herskedal. He earned a master's degree in jazz tuba at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and began teaching there after graduation. In addition to writing a thesis on the intersection of joik and jazz, he created the orchestral work A Sacred Narrative that was performed at Copenhagen's Kong Haakon Kirke -- the Norwegian Seamen's Church -- in 2007. In 2008 he played in former instructor Django Bates' band on Spring Is Here (Shall We Dance), and a year later on Jens Carelius' The Beat of the Travel. Herskedal issued his debut album, City Stories, in 2010 for NorCD. On it, he led a quintet comprised of brass, reeds, acoustic guitar, and percussion. The album won critical notice and airplay across Norway and Denmark, registering a totally new bridge between jazz and crossover classical music. In 2011, he formed the Magic Pocket quartet with trombonist Erik Johannessen, trumpeter Hayden Powell, and drummer Erik Nylander. They cut two albums that year: The Katabatic Wind in collaboration with jazz pianist Morten Qvenild, and Kinetic Music with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Herskedal also joined Norwegian experimental quartet Katzenjammer on their album A Kiss Before You Go. In 2012, Herskedal and saxophonist Marius Neset, in collaboration with the Svanholm Singers released Neck of the Woods for Edition Records. A year later, Herskedal issued Dagane, his second outing for NorCD. Co-produced by drummer and percussionist Anton Eger, the large-ensemble recording featured brass, reeds, winds, strings, percussion, piano, vocalist, and choir. Neset appeared as a featured soloist. Herskedal returned the favor and performed on the saxophonist's full-length Birds and Lion, a featured collaboration with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra in 2014. Herskedal signed a solo deal with Edition Records and released his debut, Slow Eastbound Train, in 2015. He was joined by pianist Eyolf Dale, percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken, and the Trondheim Soloists (a chamber orchestra). The recording drew positive notice globally for its open and beautiful sonorities, elegant compositions, and evocation of natural spaces. He spent most of the next two years touring on his own and with various ensembles, as well as forming the jazz trio Kaktusch with Eger and Neset. In 2017, Herskedal released The ROC. The second part of what is now an environmental trilogy, its lineup included Dale, Norbakken, cellist/bassist Svante Henryson, and violist Bergmund Waal Skaslien, and was produced by Neset. The set strongly engaged Herskedal's love for and curiosity about non-Western, specifically Arab music, which was strongly influenced by his travels to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine a decade earlier. 2019 proved a watershed year for Herskedal. His arrangement of John Phillips' "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)" was used in the poignant Brad Pitt-produced film The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and adopted as the music for Coca Cola's "Open Like Never Before" global advertising campaign. He accepted commissions to compose for the BBC and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, and released Voyage with his quartet, the last part of his Environments trilogy. It consisted of evocative and impressionistic tone poems depicting ships at sea. He also issued the collaborative album Lååje = Dawn with globally renowned traditional Saami singer Marja Mortensson. Backed by the Trondheim String Soloists Quartet, it was a program of (mostly) original material inspired by joik and Saami sources, and included two traditional folk songs as well. A few months later, Naxos released the premiere recording of his modern classical suite Behind the Wall, that once more drew inspiration from his study of Middle Eastern and North African music as well as his travels; it was performed by the chamber trio of oboist /English Horn master Elin Tort Meland, pianist Gro Merete Hjertvik, and cellist Kjell Magne Robak. In 2020, Herskedal issued his fourth Edition Records outing, Call for Winter. It stood apart from his environmental trilogy and every title in his catalog; Herskedal performed the entire album solo, overdubbing tuba and bass trumpet, using many of his custom-developed sonorities and overtones with synthed percussion loops and field recordings. In February 2021, Herskedal, and his collaborators from Voyage issued the single "Whale Song," an elliptical-sounding continuation of the themes from Voyage infused with Middle Eastern modal overtones. He followed it in March with "Port of Latakia," which utilized an oud in addition to the conventional instrumentation as a means of strongly evoking the feel and history of the Syrian port city. The album Harbour, a trio offering with pianist Eyolf Dale and drummer /percussionist Andreas Helge Norbakken followed in July.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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