Wako is a Norwegian, Trondheim-based group, featuring four young musicians – sax player Martin Myhre Olsen (who also plays in the Megalodon Collective), pianist Kjetil André Mulelid (who plays in the Fieldfare quartet with vocalist Siril Malmedal Hauge), bass player Bárður Reinert Poulsen (who also plays in the Fieldfare quartet, originally from the Faroe Islands) and drummer Simon Olderskog Albertsen (he and Poulsen collaborate as the rhythm section in pianist Espen Berg Trio). The quartet began to play together in 2013, toured Europe and after testing its compositions in many live settings recorded its debut album, «The Good Story».
The quartet describes its aesthetics as bridging between the ECM chamber-jazz school of Christian Wallumrød Ensemble and the much more intense and fiery jazz of the Swedish-Norwegian quintet Atomic. There is a sense of warmth, intimacy and openness in Olsen and Mulelid song-like compositions, in a much more concise manner than in Wallumrød compositions. But most of these well-crafted pieces, except of «Little Sister», still lack the driving energy that characterizes Atomic repertoire, .
Wako music opts for a reserved and subtle mode of delivery, highlighting the tight and emphatic interplay and a strong melodic sense. Olsen and Mulelid know how to develop patiently and beautifully the emotional core of their compositions, leaving enough space for personal interpretations of the themes. Both enjoy the solid support of Poulsen and Albertsen. The most moving piece is the balladic «Seven Years» where Olsen and Mulelid voices sound as extending each other, tastefully punctuated by the subtle pulse of Poulsen and Albertsen.
Martin Myhre Olsen (s), Kjetil Andre Mulelid (p), Bardur Reinert Poulsen (b), Simon Olderskog Albertsen (dr), Kari Eskild Havenstrøm (v)