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«Any Day Now»

Norwegian sax player Martin Myhre Olsen is only 28 years old but already a mature and highly original composer. He is playing with Chick Corea and in Corea’s collaboration with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and with the local groups Megalodon Collective, Wako and Hegge, but his work with his own, the project-oriented MMO-Ensemble is his most ambitious and impressive work so far.

Myhre Olsen compositions for this Ensemble expand and enrich the language of jazz composers as Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane with compositional ideas of modern, contemporary composers as Olivier Messiaen and John Adams. His third album with the MMO-Ensemble, «Any Day Now», is titled after a poem of James Baldwin (Why don’t you take / me in your arms and / carry me out of this / lonely place?), and its words became the names of the songs in the new project. This poem resonates with three other poems by e.e. cummings and another one by Emily Dickinson (her poems inspired MMO-Ensemble chamber album, «Western Mystery», 2016) that are used for this project. The poetic texts provide linguistic and thematic starting points and touchstones for «Any Day Now».

The current version of the MMO-Ensemble is the largest so far, a 12-musicians ensemble (compared to the four musicians who played on «Western Mystery» and the eight musicians who played on the musical fairytale «Lonely Creatures»). MMO-Ensemble recorded «Any Day Now» live, on its first ever live performance at the Victoria, Nasjonal Jazzscene, Oslo, on January 2018 before an enthusiastic audience. The Ensemble features some of the most promising peers of Myhre Olsen as vocalist Siril Malmedal Hauge (who played on «Western Mystery»), reeds player André Roligheten, trumpeter Erik Kimestad Pedersen, pianist Ayumi Tanaka, violinists Håkon Aase and Adrian Løseth Waade (who played on «Lonely Creature») and double bass player Christian Meaas Svendsen plus veteran trombonist Øyvind Brække.

The warm, clear vocals of Malmedal Hauge – sung or used as a musical instrument – are the emotional heart of the 12-parts suite of «Any Day Now». Her playful, sensual delivery distills the dramatic, emotional moods of the complex suite and the poetic texts, often brings to mind the exemplary role of vocal artist Lauren Newton in the early versions of Vienna Art Orchestra. The MMO-Ensemble embraces her vocals with colorful, nuanced textures that highlight the strong personalities of this incarnation of the Ensemble. These intricate textures shift between the driving grooves of the first part of the title-piece; the gentle-spoiled reading of Malmedal Hauge the e.e. cummings’ touching poem «of all things under our» on «Why» or her distant whispering of e.e.cummings’ poem «Hokku» on «Don’t»; an urban-swinging orchestration of the whole Ensemble as a big band on «Take Me (Tøyen Blues)»; a lyrical, chamber orchestration of the Ensemble that enbelopes Meaas Svendsen and Malmedal Hauge reading of e.e. Cummings’ «the moon is hiding in» on «In Your Arms»; an abstract, quiet soundscpae of «(out) Of this…» or Malmedal Hauge reciting of Baldwin poem on «Lonely Place?», surrounded by urgent, buzzing strings. .

«Any Day Now» offers a fascinating musical playground, stimulating for the restless intellect and comforting the sorrowful heart, evocative and mind-provoking, intimate but always powerful.

Eyal Hareuveni

Martin Myhre Olsen (as, ss), André Roligheten (ts, bs, bcl), Øyvind Brække (tb). Erik Kimestad Pedersen (tp), Siril Malmedal Hauge (v), Karl Bjorå (g), Ayumi Tanaka (p), Håkon Aase (vio), Adrian Løseth Waade (vio), Kaja Fjellberg Pettersen (c), Christian Meaas Svendsen (b, v), Simon Olderskog Albertsen (dr, vib)

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