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Nils Peter Molvær – tr

Johan Lindstrøm – g

Jo Berger Myhre – bs

Erland Dahlen – dr

There is a funny story in the political sphere of the country about the visit of a Norwegian politician to Lithuania. The employees of the Parliament in Lithuania wanted to show the beautiful countryside of Lithuania and organised an excursion to this end for the guests. After a long bus ride the Norwegians got out of the bus and were somewhat indifferent as the guide proudly showed them Puntukas, the second-largest boulder in Lithuania.

It would be hard to surprise the residents of a country with so many fjords and rocks with the beauty of the countryside. It is not only the countryside of Norway which will surprise you, music plays an important part in forming the global image of this country too. From the stars of electronic music (Röyksopp) to the top songs in the world’s pop charts (a-ha) – this country has a lot to offer. Jazz has a role to play in this too.

Norwegians are frequent guests of the jazz festivals in Lithuania. Vilnius Mama Jazz is no exception with the shows of Jaga Jazzist, Eivind Aarset, Marius Neset, Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang shows, and this year’s trumpeter Mathias Eick.

However, we can say without doubt that the title of ‘most prominent Norwegian guest of the festival’ should go to Nils Petter Molvær. This 58-year-old composer, trumpet player and producer has deservedly been called one of the most interesting musicians of the country. Over a solo career of more than two decades he has amazed audiences with his subtle, hypnotising music bringing together sounds which previously seemed incompatible to many.

Back in 1997, when he released his award winning solo album Khmer, Molvær was called the best future jazz creator. Twenty-one years later he continues to surprise, for example, this year he has recorded the Nordub album with Jamaica’s reggae and dub legends Nordub. Nordic melancholy and the rhythms born under the hot sun of Jamaica – the sounds which could not be more different. In the hands of these musicians, however, they became a harmonious sound panorama.

Molvær established himself on the Norwegian jazz scene quite early. After graduating from Trondheim Conservatory of Music, he played in the groups Jazzpunkensemblet and Masqualero and was noticed by the ECM Records where he recorded a few albums.

Khmer was a real breakthrough in the career of the musician. When it was released, critics were exalted as they had heard nothing like that before. The sounds of jazz trumpet intertwined with rock, electronic music and hip hop. This was a sound cocktail which became a jazz sensation, enjoyed with great pleasure by visitors of jazz festivals and electronic music DJs alike. A few years later, even a remix album appeared reworked by Cinematic Orchestra, Funkstörung, Pascal Gabriel and other electronic music celebrities.

Khmer was nothing like the earlier work of Molvær. With this album he opened a new chapter in his career.

From music for cinema (French film Edy) to experiments with rock and other genres – Molvær continues to rewrite the jazz rules, although some characteristics of his music remain. For example, his habit of ‘dressing’ the sound of the trumpet (compared by many with that of Miles Davis) in electronic sound effects.

The trumpeter played in many projects with famous fellow musicians – from percussionist Marilyn Mazur to US producer Bill Laswell, French composer Hector Zazou, drummer Manu Katche, British jazz musician Djang Bates, current drummer Bill Rieflin of the rock band King Crimson and, of course, many talented Norwegians. For example, Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset, who played at Vilnius Mama Jazz, and with whom Molvær cooperated many times (together with the Finnish electronic music composer Vladislav Delay he also contributed to Molvær’s new album Nordub).

Molvær, who is returning to Lithuania after some time, will play with well-known collaborators, such as bassist Jo Berger Myhre and drummer Erland Dahlen (former member of one of the most famous Norwegian alternative rock bands Madrugada) who contributed to his album Buoyancy recorded two years ago.

If you have visited Norway and witnessed the natural beauty of the country, you will certainly hear reflections of it in Molvær’s music. It seems that Norwegian jazz musicians have a characteristic subtlety.

This musician, however, is a real collection of opposites. His music is fraught with softness, reflection and quite radical creative approaches. Inspired by nature, but also accompanied by precisely calculated electronic effects. This is a unique name in the Vilnius Mama Jazz festival programme; his music is like a painting by a master where a new detail is revealed each time you look at it.


(Canada, Germany)

Peter Van Huffel – a s

Roland Fidezius – el-b

Rudi Fischerlehner – dr

The word ‘madness’ figures frequently in descriptions of the concerts and albums of this group. There are genres of music in which their music would indeed sound repulsive, but if we talk about free, improvisational jazz this is more of a compliment. In any event, even if you attended this concert with a gorilla mask on, it would not beat the music of Gorilla Mask in its strangeness.

This trio got together nine years ago in Berlin, a city where it would be difficult to surprise anyone. However, Gorilla Mask succeeded in doing so. Their critics and music fans say that their music is punk jazz or jazzcore, not making up their mind as to whether it is aggressive rock or free jazz.

It is somewhere in-between. Peter Van Huffel, saxophonist and founder of the group, who is originally from Canada, has become accustomed to the fact that their music almost defies definition. Peter writes all Gorilla Mask’s music and the style is so aggressive that it is often compared with heavy metal.

‘This music totters dangerously on the verge of total chaos. The sound jabs you in the ribs as they mess with your brain,’ music press wrote.

In 2003, Van Huffel, who sites John Coltrane and John Zorn as his influences, released his debut recording and has lent his instrument in nearly two dozen albums since.

He is founder of a quintet and a quartet and a leader of the well-known group House of Mirrors, he also founded groups HuffLiGNoN, Boom Crane, Hum, The Scrambling Ex and Kronix, and is member of The Suite Unraveling, Kenosha Kid, Animal Forum and the Meinrad Kneer Qiuintet.

In other words, he is the jack of all trades and almost all the projects have one feature in common – the desire to look for new sounds and to move away from the traditional perception of jazz.

In Gorilla Mask he plays with bassist Roland Fidezius and drummer Rudi Fischerlehner, German musicians who play jazz and alternative music.

The debut album of the group HOWL! released in 2012 left listeners baffled. Critic Dave Wayne noted that it was like a wild roaring of the instruments which produces a sensation a surfer on the biggest wave he has ever seen.

Ground-shaking rhythms, explosive improvisations, the feeling that the same composition sounds different every time, and that the composition will escape the musicians and everything will fall apart on the stage – Gorilla Mask offers a challenge to listeners with its at times-breathtaking music where it seems that all possible parts of the body suddenly cease to function for a second.

However, this should not be frightening. With the mishmash of a million influences, Gorilla Mask is creating a totally new identity. The impression is that the musicians unceremoniously or without anesthesia butcher their own compositions without any fear of making the wrong move.

Two more albums followed offering nonetheless surprising and provoking music – Bite My Blues in 2014 and Iron Lung in 2017.

The music of the group is dynamic and mutating, usually within the framework of one and the same composition. Sometimes you find yourself thinking that their creative work would be a perfect fit for avant-garde performances and that it would be really appreciated by the fans of 1960s psychedelic rock. Meanwhile, listening to their newest album, it sounds like reggae.

No matter which genre you attribute their music to, one thing is certain – Gorilla Mask plays very unusual music. We believe that this will the most provocative and surprising show of this year’s Vilnius Mama Jazz. Any expectations you may have will be futile. Come to their concert but leave any stereotypes about jazz behind. After the concert you will have sufficient time to discuss with others ‘what on earth was that?’.

The organisers of the festival reserve the right to change the programme.

Duration: 4 hours

Door opens before: 1 hours

Free entrance for children: NO.

Permission to take photos, record: NO.

Organizer: Vilniaus džiazo klubas, VšĮ.

More information: undefined +370 612 29 419.

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