Paal Nilsson-Love, Stale Liavik Solberg, Louis Rasta / Susana Santos Silva & Torbjörn Zetterberg – Café Mir, Oslo Norway, 1/13/15

Café Mir is a small bar in Oslo that hosts an every-other Tuesday series called “Blow Out”, featuring the unholy cream of Scandinavia’s outré jazz and experimental players, as well as a handful of touring visitors. It’s a decidedly cozy space, but with the right sort of acoustics for improvisational wellsprings of noise and randomness. Our evening commenced with Portugal-based trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, who’s collaborated with Sweden’s Torbjörn Zetterberg on a couple of recording projects & a few tours, in which he plays bass and she blows freely. These two come at a duo dynamic from different spheres yet connect intricately, with Silva straying frequently from her honk-and-sputter script as the spirit moves her, while Zetterberg anchors a pretty traditional set of runs on his bass. They moved rapidly through their three numbers, including one in which Silva fiddled with some unseen African-esque key-based instrument on the floor to mimic an ethereal set of bird calls – then abruptly returned to her trumpet for some avant-squirting, bellowing and an interlude in which she made it to sound like radio static. Theirs was an intimate, enveloping set that had me busting out a wallet full of kroner in order to procure the lone Silva/Zetterburg compact disc recording.

Now I can’t quite figure out how planned or random the Nilsson-Love/Solberg/Rasta trio was, but aural evidence points to these gentlemen having mind-melded their improvisational jazz on stage before. Two Scando drummers and Rasta, a German who jetted in for the occasion. He’s an absolutely wild piano divebomber, a skinny hunchback player lurching crazily across the keys in time with equally frantic double percussion. Starting off almost mid-flight through a number that entered full-freak berserk, then calmed itself gradually over fifteen minutes, these guys proved they had loads of muscle and unpredictability, but not a whole lot of ascension. Much as each member was individually captivating, the group dynamic wore off faster than I’d have liked. I at least went quietly into the Norwegian night feeling like I’d swallowed a very small, satisfying and likely unrepeatable slice of the greater European underground.

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