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Review: Oslo Jazz Festival 2017

Performances by Manu Katche, Still Dreaming, Jamie Cullum and Ingrid Jensen among highlights of 30th edition of festival in Norway

Photo of Jamie Cullum at Oslo Jazz Festival
Jamie Cullum performing at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival (photo by Matija Puzar)
Photo of Jamie Cullum at 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival
Jamie Cullum performing at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival (photo by Matija Puzar)
Jamie Cullum at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival (photo by Matija Puzar)
Photo of Manu Katche at 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival
Manu Katché and Jacob Young performing at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival (photo by Matija Puzar)
Photo of Gregory Porter at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival
Gregory Porter, seen here at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival, will perform at this year's San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. (photo by Matija Puzar)
Photo of Ingrid Jensen at 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival
(l to r) Hans Mathisen, Mats Eilertsen and Ingrid Jensen performing at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival (photo by Nuno Pissarra)
Photo of Beady Belle at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival
Beady Belle performing at the 2017 Oslo Jazz Festival (photo by Matija Puzar)
Photo of Edvard Askeland
Edvard Askeland, artistic director of the Oslo Jazz Festival (photo by Ola Sundberg)

To the jaundiced American eye, downtown Oslo—particularly along the walking street Karl Johans gate—is refreshingly neat and clean, with a healthy balance of older and modern architecture, and unfortunately, too many familiar retail outlets. Walk just a block or two away from this central path however and the more traditional Norwegian feel of the city is present, local restaurants and open-air bars, with a salty, seawater breeze wafting from the harbor nearby.

The Oslo Jazz Festival—celebrating its 30th year this August—takes place in a variety of venues all within easy walking distance of this main commercial area: clubs, bars, theaters, even an outdoor performance space in a public park. For a first time visitor to the festival, I found these venues to be extremely convenient, which compelled me to do much walking back and forth through the city, discovering new streets, eateries and bars, and getting a general feeling for Oslo in a manner that not every major city-based festival does.

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Originally Published