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Ivan Blomqvist (Sweden/Norway) – Tomheten (single/track from forthcoming album)

If there’s one certainty it’s that you’ll always get high quality releases from Oslo-based label Jazzland Recordings.

This time it’s the turn of Ivan Blomqvist, known both as a member of the band Rohey and for his solo projects.

Another certainty is that the jazz output from Norway is also always of a high standard. Only a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching Michael Aadal and his band in the UK, a quartet who featured a highly competent sax player around whom much of the material was built.

And it’s much the same case here too. Blomqvist, who plays piano and synthesisers, is joined by a ‘super group’ of Lise Sørensen (Oslo Strings), Lyder Øvreås Røed (Fieh, Slow is the New Fast) and Karl Nyberg (Kalle, Megalodon).

Also featuring on this track is Erik Johannessen (trombone).

‘Tomheten’ (‘Emptiness’) gets underway with powerful yet melancholic violins over sounds that might emanate from an untilt-able electronic pinball machine. It isn’t long though before a mournful saxophone enters stage left; seemingly supported by a playful one in the background like a couple of contrasting Shakespearean characters.

Thereafter you can’t shake it off as it meanders through the six-minute piece like a river in search of an ocean, sometimes gently, at other times tripping quickly over rapids and waterfalls, or, better still, suggestive of that brief interstellar visitor to our Solar System a few years ago, Oumuamua, consistently conveying that concept of ‘emptiness.’

‘Tomheten’ is from his forthcoming album ‘Bror’, to be released in 2023.

Ivan Blomqvist is originally from Sweden but moved to Norway to study at the renowned music conservatory in Trondheim (home to the founders of Highasakite and Lord knows how many other alumni who have featured in these pages) where he graduated in jazz piano.

Now based out of Oslo he has been active as a producer, songwriter, composer and musician with his own projects, in addition to collaborating with some of Scandinavia’s most exciting artists.

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