It sounds like Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Håkon Kornstad have always played the duo format together. In the album »Elise«, their interplay is natural, while at the same time searching and open, with the room’s great acoustics acting as a third musician. It’s hard to imagine a better way to take advantage of the double bass’s and the saxophone’s sound and possibilities to unite—from colorful multiphonics and soft moves with the bow via suggestive grooves to noisy tone explosions. The music, consisting mostly of Norwegian hymns, is recorded in a room with excellent acoustics at the new castle of Bjärka-Säby, south of Linköping, Sweden, during two days in April 2008. Ingebrigt’s grandmother, Elise Flaten, was a tradition bearer of a treasure trove of old hymns from Oppdal, Norway, and her interpretations of the songs were recorded by the Norwegian National Radio (NRK) in the 1970‘s. Transcriptions of these recordings form the basis of the album »Elise«.
Having two jazz musicians interpreting hymns reminds one of Jan Johansson’s classical album »Jazz på Svenska« (Jazz in Swedish), and though »Jazz på Svenska« has never been a reference for the recording of »Elise«, there are similarities between the both albums. However, Ingebrigt and Håkon are not nostalgic in their interpretations. With their innovative playing, respect for tradition and childish curiosity as to where the music will take them, they have created an extremely dynamic and contemporary album, a sort of »Jazz in Norwegian – for the 21st century«! Keith Jarrett’s »Death and the flower« and the free improvisation »Etter Elise« (After Elise) is also part of the album and, together with the hymns, they create a natural whole.
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (double bass) and Håkon Kornstad (saxophone and flutonette) have established themselves as two of the most driven young musicians on the worldwide jazz scene. For a long time now they have been a leading part of the jazz scene in Norway through their frequent and consistent co-operation with Bugge Wesseltoft and the record label Jazzland. The list of great musicians with whom they have co-operated is extensive: Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Pat Metheny, Dave Liebman, Mats Gustafsson, Anja Garbarek, Joe Lovano, Raoul Bjørkenheim, Jon Christensen, Nils Petter Molvær, John Scofield, Yusef Lateef, Bugge Wesseltoft, Joe McPhee, Tony Oxley, Tore Brunborg, Joshua Redman, Axel Dørner, Paul Lytton, Ken Vandermark, Michiyo Yagi, and more…
Listen to a sample here