“The way he improvised and accompanied his musicians was fantastic. If he’s great on the piano, he’s surely one of the best guitarists we have in this country. Not a guitarist that wants to play as fast as possible all the time, but one that emphasizes to play the right thing at the right time.” (Fredrik Heggelund, HA 28.11.2003)
Generous for a handfull
“Pianist/guitarist Alf Wilhelm Lundberg, drummer Tore Jamne and bassist Kjetil Lundø showed a delicate tenderness in what they played. Slowly, meditative and full of freshness. Jamne raised the lowered the intensity, he loves cymbals and advanced rythms and meters, while the bass followed him likewise. And Lundberg’s show at the piano and along the neck of the guitar showed us what talent this town is currently possessing. Lundbergs long fingers did acrobatics on the pianokeys and on the nylonstrings.” (Roar E. Jacobsen, HA 03.01.2003)
Symphonic Jazz in the Concert Hall
“He thinks always very melodic in his structured compositions, but gives also a lot of room for spontanity in the overall sound. The concert was organized in two sessions. The first one with what Lundberg himself defines as ‘symphonic jazz’ fitted together with classical elements.” (Bjarne Aksdal, HA 04.08.2001)
Debutant with many strings
“A debutconcert is not a daily issue in these areas. A jazzmusician that makes his debut in the musical fortress of the town like this is probably a new experience for us. Alf Wilhelm Lundberg plays several instruments, probably the piano is the main instrument, but yesterday we got to hear the guitarist and not the least the composer.” (Bjarne Aksdal, HA 22.12.2000)
Strong debut from the west
“Nevertheless, the trio Norchestra has played together since 1999, and it doesn’t take much to establish the fact that the trio has a peculiar and unique voice.
Lundberg plays both acoustic guitar and piano, sometimes even in the course of the same piece, and he displays a musical versatility in his approach which is rare.
A great deal of the music is thoroughly composed and draws a lot from Lundbergs classical background, with inspiration from Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Stravinsky.
Norwegian voices like Geirr Tveitt, Edvard Grieg and Terje Bjørklund are also present, as well as modernists like Ravel and Messiaen. When jazz sources like Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett and Egberto Gismonti are also part of the heritage, it is clear that what Alf Wilhelm Lundberg presents is not exactly ordinary.
The trio was a regular band at a jazz club in Haugesund for a year, which definitely contributed to the band’s development and the fact that the band has arrived at the uniqueness that reveals itself on this highly sensational debut.
There is drama, dynamics and a will and ability to find the individuality, if one finds it at all, which normally takes much more time than what Norchestra has taken.
We encounter three sparkling instrumentalists but the most important thing is the collective voice which Lundberg’s very varied compositions stand for. A brilliant start of the new year.” (Tor Hammerø, January 22nd, 2008)
“But a few debut releases grabs your attention from the first note and demonstrates that it is not only about will, but also ability. Not just ability, but proficient ability.
‘Norchestra’ from the acoustic trio by the same name is one of those few debuts. ... Lundberg plays both instruments with striking technical ability. His touch and sense of timbre are rare. Lundø/Jamne are creatively fine tuned partners in their interplay, no matter which strings are sounding and how free the musical ground might be.
In his own compositions, based on modern jazz traditions as well as the classical modernism of the last century, Lundberg leads the trio from highlight to highlight, sometimes sounding like something Egberto Gismonti could have done, and sometimes as if Esbjörn Svensson Trio or The Bad Plus would be in action with a strict Shostakovich on their backs. But first and foremost, Norchestra presents itself as Norchestra and immediately steps to the forefront among contemporary Norwegian jazz ensembles.” (Terje Mosnes, Dagbladet February 6th, 2008)
“Norchestra is ready with its self titled debut album. ... Together they have made a strong album which mixes classical music with jazz of the more improvised kind.
Lundberg has written all eight compositions on the album. What’s special about the musician is that he masters the guitar equally well as the piano. Thus the debut record is varied. The acoustic record opens with ‘Deep Ocean’, a melodious composition where the piano leads the melody almost outwards in the waves. It opens calmly and builds up. A lovely opening, lasting for six minutes.
Norchestra takes us through another course in ‘Valse Triste’, where the acoustic guitar takes the lead. This is guitar jazz of the low-voiced kind. The title track ‘Norchestra’ is piano-based. Characteristic and emphasised piano playing. After that the trio improvises and then returns to the point of departure. On ‘Ballade’, Lundberg plays both piano and guitar. Important elements are also Lundøs bass playing and Jamne’s rhythm, which is calm and exploring. A fascinating album that endures many rounds in the cd player.” (Truls Horvei, Haugesunds Avis, January 29th, 2008)
“They make a somewhat different jazz trio by the very fact of their preference for combining elements from thoroughly composed classical music with improvisation from the jazz tradition. One can hear traces of the Norwegian romantics, the more demanding Russians, the sonorous French and some excursions towards Brazilian shores. If one ventures to suggest a musical platform, it has to be some kind of classical modernism, deeply rooted in a basic melodious idea. From this outline they spin their spontaneity and thus creates a fascinating springboard of intriguing notes. The interplay is striking, concise and playful, but controlled all the time. They never get lost, but follow a rhythm, a mood or a melody line wherever it leads. The music can be beautiful, pleasant and comfortable, as in ‘Valse Triste’ and ‘La Onda Improlude’ or shimmering and on tip toe, like in ‘Norchestra’. The music is alive and pulsating. At the same time they can also sound like two different groups in the same body. Lundberg is the motor of their voice, and the music changes character according to which instruments he chooses to emphasise – the piano or the guitar. The highlight for this writer is the almost fourteen minutes long closing track ‘Moon and Sun, Clouds and Wind’. That’s where everything falls into place.” (Svein Andersen, Aftenposten, February 27th, 2008)
“With the album ‘Norchestra’, the band with the same name has masterminded an extraordinary and, in my view, a surprising start of the new year in jazz. Alf Wilhelm Lundberg is the pianist and guitarist inspired by the Norwegian composers Edvard Grieg, Geirr Tveitt, Terje Bjørklund and the great Russian composers in addition to Ravel and Messiaen. Add Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti and Keith Jarrett, also sources of inspiration for a band that combines thoroughly composed passages with improvised parts with authority. The result is fascinating, rare and impressive. Kjetil Olai Lundø (bass) and Tore Jamne (drums) constitute the rest of the band from Haugesund. ... It is an extraordinarily strong debut.” (Roald Helgheim, Dagsavisen, February 2nd, 2008)
“Lundberg, Lundø, Jamne – ‘Norchestra’, Impossible to categorise. The inspirational sources of this record are many-sided: ethnic, classical, jazz and Latin American rhythms and timbres. The driving force of the project from Haugesund is guitarist, pianist and composer Alf Wilhelm Lundberg. He is accompanied by Kjetil Olai Lundø on bass and Tore Jamne on drums. However, to define the group’s music within fixed genres like jazz, classical or contemporary is not possible. While playing the guitar, Lundberg directs the thoughts towards Segovia’s rich timbre and while playing the piano, the thoughts are drawn towards Keith Jarrett’s sobriety. But opinions like these do not really tell anything about the quality and musical integration which the record demonstrates so elegantly. Norchestra is definitely a record to really listen to. Then the nuances and the will of the musicians will be discovered.” (Einar Eriksen, Bergens Tidende, January 23rd, 2008)
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