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Norway's funky jazzist find UK fame through Ninja


Feature: Jack Foley

JAGA Jazzist release their latest single, Day, through the hopelessly hip Ninja Tunes label on Monday, February 16, and have set tongues wagging with the sheer coolness surrounding them at the moment.

So just who are they? Jaga Jazzist have become something of a musical phenomenon in Norway, since they started nine years ago.

Not only is this 10-piece instrumental band regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative in that country, but the members are all involved in other musical projects and have, in one way or another, contributed to almost every significant recording to come out of that part of the world in the past few years.

It has been this strong involvement with different projects, and different musical styles and sounds, which is the key to the unique sound of the outfit.

With no boundaries and an arsenal that includes trumpets, trombone, electric guitar, bass, tuba, two bass clarinets, Fender Rhodes, vibraphone and a rack of electronics, Jaga Jazzist create truly eclectic music.

To describe it as 'melodic, hypnotizing, delicate and subtle', as their biography states, is not much of an exaggeration.

Jaga Jazzist started out in Tonsberg, a small town outside Oslo, in 1994, at which time Lars Horntveth, the main songwriter, was only 14-years-old!

In 2001, they released their debut album, A Livingroom Hush, on Warner, in Scandinavia, to massive critical acclaim and great sales (the album sold over 15000 copies in Norway alone..).

The band then signed a deal for the rest of the world through Oslo's Smalltown Supersound.

Throughout 2002, the band shocked fans and critics alike with their blistering live shows and the buzz resulted in sold out dates all over Europe, so much so that they quickly came to the attention of Ninja Tune, who did a license/collaboration deal with Smalltown Supersound.

The rest, as they say, is history, and Ninja has subsequently helped to ensure that singles such as Day, from the album, Stix, have, well, seen the light of...

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