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Ketil Bjørnstad Sunrise (ECM)

Ketil Bjørnstad has been an extraordinarily creative presence on the Norwegian and wider European cultural scene over the past 40 years.

A pianist, poet, playwright, novelist, biographer and composer, he's worked in classical music as well as jazz - where his music has been documented by ECM since the early 1990s - and Sunrise brings together quite a few of his varied interests in a work that manages to move naturally between choral pieces, chamber intermezzi, free-ish jazz interludes, folk-jazz waltzes and something that might best be described as Astrud Gilberto on a Norwegian odyssey. It's based on texts by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, of The Scream fame, which Bjørnstad has set variously for the wonderfully guttural solo voice of Kari Bremnes, the Oslo Chamber Choir and a group of jazz and chamber musicians including the marvellous Aage Kvalbein, whose cello sings with soulful sadness and passion. A work of considerable scope, it lacks nothing in drama but, equally, isn't afraid to hit you with a damned catchy tune.

Rob Adams

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