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Vossa Jazz

Vossa Jazz, the Norwegian festival that celebrated its 35th anniversary in March, may not be one of the best known jazz festivals, but it clearly deserves wider recognition, especially for those jazz lovers with an ear for Nordic musical sensibilities. Vossa Jazz’s 2008 edition, the first led by new director Trude Storheim, featured memorable performances by such stellar Norwegian musicians as Nils Petter Molvær, the remarkable pianist-composer-bandmaker Christian Wallumrød, Terje Isungset (with Lena Nymark), the increasingly popular Keith Jarrett-ish pianist Tord Gustavsen, and the calmly dazzling free-fluent saxist Tore Brunborg and his captivating trio, a sound we need to hear more of. For thinking person’s-party-music cred, the energetic Slavic-esque odd-meter machine from Norway known as Farmers Market kept their late-night audience wriggling manically and counting likewise.

There were fine American artists in the mix, as well: The duo of pianist Myra Melford and clarinetist/saxist Marty Ehrlich wove nimbly between “in” and “out” modes; pianist Lynne Arriale led her trio assuredly through mainstream jazz turf; and Roy Nathanson’s Sotto Voce stirred up its post-Lounge Lizards mix of poetry, party-time hipness and downtown NYC vibes.

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