The last time I saw Frode Alnæs, was with his band Dance With A Stranger who played their farewell tour this year. Before that I saw him with the Organ Club, a collaboration of Norwegian organ and jazz enthusiasts. I haven’t seen Frode Alnaes solo before, but Friday night he played with his trio at Olsen på Bryn.
Frode Alnæs plays with two of my favorite musicians in his trio. Per Mathisen plays electric stand up bass, plus 4 and 5 string bass guitar. He played with Dance With A Stranger on their farewell tour after their own bass player, Yngve Moe tragically died in 2013. Per Mathisen defines virtuoso bass playing, I have seldom heard someone play as fast as him. He is also steady as the bass player should be when he doesn’t play solo.
Rune Arnesen has long been one of my favorite drummers for many years, since I saw him with Silje Nergaard in the early 90’s. He has since played with numerous other artists on stage and on CD. His style is virtuoso, but mostly he plays a steady beat with a playful twist. It was fun to watch the three musicians together, playing up to and challenging, but also listening and giving space to each other.
Frode Alnæs also has a long list of collaborators, from Dee Dee Bridgewater, via Masqualero and other jazz bands, to Dance With A Stranger and Sissel Kyrkjeboe.He has written songs for his own use and also for others, among them the biggest hits for Dance With A Stranger and the beautiful Lux Vitae that Ole Edvard Antonsen, Sissel Kyrkjebø and Brisbane Exelsior Brass Band among many has recorded. He has also recorded it himself, with two other collaborators, Arild Andersen and Stian Karstensen, and at Olsen he played it as the let song of their first set.
It seems to me that after the Dace With A Stranger era is over, Frode Alnæs wants to expand his musical horizon. His trio combines jazzy instrumentals with some blues, and also some of his hit songs. They started out with an homage to Peter Green with the humorous name Albatrost (“frost” is Norwegian for “thrush”). Since Frode had a cold, they played more instrumentals than vocal songs.
If you want to hear more from Frode Alnæs and his colleagues, I recommend a search on Spotify. You will be amazed by the variety of style these three musicians represent. And if you have a chance of seeing them live, as a trio or in other settings, do it. You won’t regret it.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.