Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & The MaXx – ‘Live’ – News, reviews, articles and commentary from the London jazz scene and beyond


Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Le MaXx – Live
(MNJ Records MNJ002. Review by Peter Slavid)

I have to admit I was always going to be favorably predisposed to a big band album with a press release advising that “To capture the steaming atmosphere of the theater on a hot summer night in Molde, you have to play it at high volume!” Certainly the physical power of a big band in full flow is a big part of the enjoyment I get from this kind of music and I can’t wait to be back in a small venue in front of a full band.

The Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is well known these days, having worked with great musicians and produced around 20 albums over the past 15 years. He always manages to bring together some of the best Scandinavian improvisers, and here includes Thomas johansson on the trumpet, Petter Hängsel on trombone and recorder, Anja lauvdal keyboards and saxophonists Mette Rasmussen and Kjetil Møster.

Their guests on this album are The MaXx, a young group made up of Swedes trained in Trondheim Oscar Grönberg keyboards, Peter Kraft on guitar, saxophone and vocals, and Tomas Järmyr to the battery. As a group they are quite new, although individually the three musicians have been seen with Hanna Paulsberg, Megalodon and others. They describe this music as having a theme based on dystopian science fiction and time travel. There is certainly a retro feel to some music, as well as its description as “abstract rock opera”.

In fact, the album begins in a soft and lyrical way in accordance with the title of the track. Jazzballad. It doesn’t take long before the rhythms become more fragmented, the volume and power increase, and we get some dazzling solos from Møster and Johansson.

In the middle of four long tracks, there’s a weird, short 1:38 folk-rock track that could easily come from the psychedelic era of Fairport Convention.

This is then followed by the 20 minutes, in two parts Time taxi, which is packed with catchy prog-rock beats and riffs, as well as the word “taxi” shouted over and over. In the second part there is an extended and delightfully chaotic improvised section with guitar, saxophone and vocals that sound like they are having a lot of fun on heavy riffs, interspersed with broken rhythms.

This is not an album for the jazz purist. But if you like your music fast, furious, and a little scorching, turn the volume up to 11, sit back and enjoy the fun.

Peter Slavid broadcasts European jazz show on and various Internet points.

CONNECT: Preview and buy the album on Bandcamp

Categories: CD review

Tagged as: Anja Lauvdal, Kjetil Møster, Mette Rasmussen, Oscar Grönberg, Peter Slavid, Petter Hängsel, Petter Kraft, The MaXx, Thomas Johansson, Tomas Järmyr, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra

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Henry R. Wright