25 year old Norwegian, Trondheim-based sax player Martin Myhre Olsen is one of the most promising voices of the fertile Norwegian jazz scene. He was tutored by two influential sax player – John Pål Inderberg and Eirik Hegdal, the latter plays in Olsen debut as a band leader, The MMO-Ensemble debut album. Olsen also plays with the acclaimed Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and with younger groups as Megalodon Collective, Wako, Rønnings Jazzmaskin and is the musical director of Midtnorsk Ungdomsstorband.
The MMO-Ensemble distills Olsen musical vision. All its musicians are former students at the famed jazz conservatory at the NTNU university of Trondheim.. «Lonley Creatures» is a long suite that embraces stories from distant past, imaginary future, fictional beings and fairytales. «A story about life and all its mysteries, joys, sorrows and constant evolution», dedicated to his late grandfather Armann Olsen who passed away in 2014 while Martin Myhre Olsen was writing this suite. «Finishing the piece became an important part of my grieving process, and made me discover uncharted territories within myself», Olsen writes in his liner notes.
Olsen compositions highlight the immediate and emotionally deep connection between his sax playing and the wordless vocals of Kari Eskild Havenstrøm, both emphasize the gentle, heartfelt melodic vein of this suite. Olsen knows how to suggest highly personal and touching story-like narratives, filled with reserved drama, soaked with with a bit of melancholy but always offering a compassionate perspective. The chamber jazz arrangements for the octet carefully embrace and enrich the voices of Olsen and Havenstrøm, featuring impressive, improvising solos by pianist Oscar Grönberg, violinist Adrian Løseth Waade, guitarist Viljar Dyvik Sellevold and Hegdal. All intensify the beautiful, masterfully-crafted emotional envelope of this suite, often referencing like-minded chamber jazz compositions of Dave Douglas and Wayne Shorter.
Martin Myhre Olsen (as, ss); Eirik Hegdal (bs); Adrian Løseth Waade (vio); Kari Eskild Havenstrøm (v); Oscar Grönberg (p); Viljar Dyvik Sellevold (g); Bjørn Marius Hegge (b); Simon Olderskog Albertsen (dr)