This is the debut album by Norwegian Jazz quintet NilasaliN, which consists of trombonist Nils Andreas Granseth, guitarist Magnus Jonnum Grimnes, pianist Martin Sandvik Gjerde, bassist Stian Andreas Egeland Andersen and drummer Magnus Sefaniassen Eide. The album presents ten original compositions, seven composed by Granseth and one each by Andersen, Gjerde and Grimnes. 

The music is a highly melodic modern European Jazz, with an unusual trombone / guitar front line, which creates a unique ambience. As it often happens with Norwegian bands, the wonderful calm and minimalistic atmosphere presides over the entire proceeding, with every note played exactly in its proper place and perfectly in harmony with everything else that is happening around. Introvert and melancholic, the beautiful melodies develop slowly and reveal layer after layer of harmonic aesthetics. 

The individual performances by the quintet members are also superb from start to finish. Granseth, who obviously steers the music and is the main soloist, has an exquisite trombone sound, round and velvety, which in spite of its limitations proves to be completely in charge and able to play anything between long melodic lines and virtuosic arpeggios, when appropriate. Grimnes plays very tasty licks and manages to stay within the Jazz idiom, avoiding the Fusion excursions. Gjerde is wonderfully dynamic and plays excellent accompaniment behind the soloists as well as splendid solos. Andersen builds a solid layer upon which the music slides forward effortlessly, always there at the right time, with round and confident pulsations. Eide stays most of the time in the background, with his delicate but sophisticated rhythmic support, which is ideal for this music. 

Overall this is an astounding debut album, full of superb music and exquisite performances, which offers an unusual sound ambience and continues the Nordic Jazz tradition at its best. The elegance, sophistication and class present herein are simply mind blowing. The album was exceptionally recorded and the sound quality is simply breathtaking. This is definitely one of the best albums that landed on my desk so far in 2018 and to my adversaries I say again – this blows most ECMalbums out of the window, just listen!

NilasaliN styrker oss i troa på den oppvoksende jazzslekt.

Bandet NilasaliN har eksistert siden 2013. Det betyr at de har spilt på seg mye erfaring og slik låter det da også. Til tross for at bandet har eksistert ganske lenge, så er det likevel unge folk vi har med å gjøre. Trombonist og hovedkomponist Nils Andreas Granseth fra Lillehammer, bassist Stian Andreas Egeland Andersen fra Stavanger, trommeslager Magnus Sefaniassen Eide fra Åndalsnes, pianist Martin Sandvik Gjerde fra Kristiansund og gitarist Magnus Jønnum Grimnes fra Kongsberg – et lite Norge Rundt der altså – har alle, såvidt jeg vet, bakgrunn fra smeltedigelen Norge Musikkhøgskole. Som på jazzlinja i Trondheim har NMH blitt et sted der både nye band og mye ny og spennende musikk har oppstått.

Alle, bortsett fra Sefaniassen Eide, har bidratt med låter og alle har et felles sterkt melodisk ideal. De hevder sjøl at både norsk folkemusikk, rock, pop og impro er elementer i bandets uttrykk noe som til sammen fører NilasaliN – et ordspill på Nils Andreas´ klengenavn Nilas – til et tøft, utadvendt og ekspressivt landskap med solide røtter i et moderne, skandinavisk jazzuttrykk.

Frontlinja med gitar og trombone er ikke akkurat dagligdags verken i norsk eller internasjonal jazz og det fører til at NilasaliN låter ganske så unikt. Her hjemme går tankene i retning Frode Thingnæs Quintet der sjefen og Pete Knutsen også skapte et eget sound med trombone og gitar i front.

NilasaliN tar oss med til et varmt og godt sted der den gode melodien får gode vekstvilkår. Et fint kollektiv og dyktige solister gjør at det er godt å tilbringe tid sammen med dem.

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While the Jazz Department at the University in Trondheim (NTNU) still is considered legendary both at home in Norway and abroad the reader should know that they make as much creative and innovative music in the hallways at the Norwegian Academy of Music. The trio KIAP, consisting of guitarist Magnus Jønnum Grimnes, drummer Magnus Sefaniassen Eide and the Czech saxophonist Michal Wróblewski are as active and excited as the music sounds and this debut album is getting a sequel during next year. 

The album offers a lot of neat and fast riffs spread over ten relatively short tunes. The focus is strongly rhythmical with movements going both in unisone and counterpoints and the soundscape is clear and slightly naive but it is also standing tall at the same time. The interaction within the trio is precise and dense. However, it also brings a lot of space, letting the authoritative statements from all three members to shine through the soundscape.

While the mood rapidly switches from fresh riffs to comforting melodies, the expression is clear and straightforward making it easy to forget how liberally and lighthearted they relate to both rhythms and tonality.
The complex rhythms coming from the dancing saxophone are easily presented, giving us the opportunity to reflect on the moods they express, rather than studying the complexities of the compositions, as one easily is tempted to by such progressive jazz rock. Thus, KIAP succeeds in exploring and playing with a rough and bumpy soundscape. And last but not least they manage to convey this playful exploration effectively to the listener.

Olav Opsvik (written in Norwegian. Translated to English by KIAP).