Different Rivers

Trygve Seim

CD from the "Touchstones" Series.
 
Trygve Seim’s ECM debut instantly established his reputation, winning the German Record Critics Prize as Album of the Year (Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik). In the International Herald Tribune, Mike Zwerin observed that “Different Rivers is melancholy, lonely, hypnotizing music – harder to escape from than to listen to. Like a fireplace in an ice palace, you get hooked on it; it’s almost physical. … Seim’s version of the ECM sound presents a wind-instrument chamber ensemble, a sort of slow-floating, pianissimo little-big band with occasional understated kicks. The shadow of Gil Evans hovers. The horn-blowers finesse their personal, breathy, non-symphonic textures from behind the beat.”
Featured Artists Recorded

December 1998-January 1999 & December 1999, Rainbow Studio, Oslo

Original Release Date

09.10.2000

  • 1Sorrows
    (Trygve Seim)
    06:27
  • 2Ulrikas Dans
    (Trygve Seim)
    07:49
  • 3Intangible Waltz
    (Trygve Seim)
    05:47
  • 4Different Rivers
    (Trygve Seim)
    05:51
  • 5Bhavana
    (Trygve Seim)
    04:23
  • 6The Aftermath: African Sunrise
    (Trygve Seim)
    06:16
  • 7Search Silence
    (Arve Henriksen, Bernt Simen Lund, David Gald, Havard Lund, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Nils Jansen, Trygve Seim)
    00:50
  • 8For Edward
    (Arve Henriksen, Trygve Seim)
    05:33
  • 9Breathe
    (Trygve Seim, Annabel Laity)
    09:19
  • 10Between
    (Trygve Seim)
    02:18
Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2001
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Bestenliste 2/2001
Stereoplay, CD des Monats
Fono Forum, Stern des Monats
Jazzman, Choc du mois
 
The Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim grew up in the provincial coastal city of Trondheim. It was calm and quiet, there were no crowds and he could hike in the wooded hills, with their trails and camp-sites. He really liked it there. Just released, Seim's first album as a leader - Different Rivers - sounds organized and clean, cold and uncrowded like that. ... Different Rivers is melancholy, lonely, hypnotizing music - harder to escape from than to listen to. Like a fireplace in an ice palace, you get hooked on it; it's almost physical. ... Seim's version of the ECM sound presents a wind-instrument chamber ensemble, a sort of slow-floating, pianissimo little-big band with occasional understated kicks. The shadow of Gil Evans hovers. The hornblowers finesse their personal, breathy, nonsymphonic textures from behind the beat.
Mike Zwerin, International Herald Tribune
 
An extended band deliver a remarkable sequence of tone-trances, at times faintly suggestive of Carla Bley and Gil Evans, but based on very small melodic motifs, given strength and mesmeric fascination by progressive harmonic overlays and tonal variation. Ulrikas Dans is a six-note ascending figure that turns into a surging clamour of sound, Intangible Waltz like Carla Bley drifting through musical dry ice, African Sunrise like exuberant Gild Evans and For Edward and Breathe as still and focused as a yoga meditation. Wonderful.
John Fordham, The Guardian (Jazz CD of the week)
 
Ein Neuer im Club - Trygve Seim, gerade dreißig Jahre alt, Tenor- und Sopransaxofonist. ... Ein cooler Kopf neben der Aufregung der Dancefloor-Jazz-Fusion - ein Klangarchitekt, der mit konventionellem Baumaterial, mit zwölf Musikern und natürlichen Klängen, erstaunliche Gebilde voll überraschender Räume schafft. Disziplin und Freiheit verbünden sich auf Different Rivers: Seims Debüt als Bandleader bringt dank konzentrierter Technik viele Facetten des Ensembles zum Glitzern.
Stefan Hentz, Financial Times Deutschland
 
Seims musikalische Sprache konfrontiert, neben aller kompositorischen Raffinesse, mit einer bestürzend intimen Saxophonstimme ' einer, die sich keineswegs in Garbareks Fahrwasser einordnen und abhaken lässt. Hier hat jemand seinen eigenen Ton gefunden: volltönend, warmherzig, dabei durchaus jubilierend mit ironischer Attitude und (wie könnte es bei einem Skandinavier anders sein) klagend, melancholisch bis ins forcierte Überblasen hinein. Es gibt Schatten abzuwerfen in dieser übermächtigen nordischen Jazz-Tradition, aber Trygve Seim kann die Geister kontrollieren, die er ruft - jetzt schon! Er spielt, unterhält sich mit ihnen, fordert sie heraus; ein gefährliches, aber wunderbar geglücktes Unterfangen.
Tilman Urbach, Fono Forum
 
Mit dem Lamento Sorrows beginnt das erste Album von Trygve Seim unter eigenem Namen, der getragen schreitende Tonfall wird sich nicht mehr ändern: nicht im summbaren Ulrikas Dans, nicht im verwunschenen Tonmärchen Intangible Waltz, nicht in der minimalistischen Coltrane-Ekstase von The Aftermath/African Sunrise. Und doch herrscht hier nicht Trauer, sondern beschwingte Schwermut. Der 1971 in Oslo geborene Saxofonist vereint auf Different Rivers drei Ströme, die unter verschiedenen Vorzeichen immer häufiger zusammenlaufen: die Kammermusik des Cool-Jazz, die volksliedhafte Melodik und die schwebenden Klänge der elektronischen Ambient-Konstrukteure, denen ein dritter Ton schon fast als geschwätzig gilt. ... Das Schöne daran: Alle Stücke ' mehr komponiert als improvisiert - sind unterirdisch von Nebenflüssen durchzogen. Dies können Klangschlieren eines Akkordeons sein, kontrollierte Ausbrüche des Saxofons, die atmende Trompete von Arve Henriksen oder die Stimme von Sidsel Endresen. "Breathe and you know you are alive" spricht sie im Gedicht von Annabel Laity zur rosenkranzartig wiederholten Tonfolge der Bläser. "Atem wäre kein schlechter Titel des Albums gewesen."
Konrad Heidkamp, Die Zeit
 
Die konzeptionelle Reife und die klangliche Ausgewogenheit des Debütalbums überrascht. Ungewöhnlich bereits die Besetzung: überwiegend Blasinstrumente, deren Stimmen entweder, wie im Titelstück, meisterhaft im Overdub-Verfahren montiert oder, wie im Opener Sorrows, dicht und dabei wunderbar fließend gesetzt sind. ... Auffällig für einen Musiker, der seine Wurzeln in der freien Improvisation hat, ist der hohe Anteil an auskomponierten Teilen. Und das ist gut so: Denn wer sich seiner Ideen und Gedanken derart sicher ist und sie so überaus präzise und voller musikalischer Poesie auszuformulieren versteht, der sollte nur so viel dem Zufall überlassen, wie das Konzept zum Spannungserhalt benötigt. Eine erstklassige, eine begeisternde Einspielung, die hiermit wärmstens empfohlen sei.
Volker Doberstein, Jazzpodium
 
Trygve Seim komponiert, spielt Tenorsaxophon und Sopransaxophon, mit einem eigenen Ton, der in keinem Moment die übermächtige Saxophonlegende Norwegens imitiert, sie allenfalls en passant grüßt. Die Kompositionen strahlen eine Ruhe aus, dass man ihre Bezugssysteme eher im asiatischen Raum ansiedeln möchte. ... Melodischen Reichtum zelebriert auch Trygve Seim, wenn er die sanglichen Segmente dehnt, bis sie purer Klang sind, oder sie kreisen lässt wie hypnotische Formeln! Die Blasinstrumente agieren zuweilen wie ein Chor aus und reihen Gesang an Gesang. Ob in mehreren Duetten mit dem exzellenten Trompeter Arve Henriksen, ob in bläserreicher Umgebung oder zusammen mit der Sängerin Sidsel Endresen: Different Rivers ist ein abenteuerliches Unterfangen zeitgenössischer Kompositionskunst.
Michael Engelbrecht, Jazzthetik
 
Different Rivers vermag mit seinen komplexen Bläsersätzen, mit der verhaltenen Melodik und melancholischen Grundstimmung sowie einigen überraschenden Arrangier-Ideen den Hörer nachhaltig zu beeindrucken. Dies liegt auch daran, dass es ECM-Hausingenieur Jan Erik Kongshaug gelang, das vielschichtige Miteinander der diversen Blasinstrumente in einen makellosen, warmen Sound zu hüllen. Unwiderstehlich gerieten die drei Titel in kleiner Besetzung: Bhavana, For Edward und Between - zarte Dialoge von Seims Saxofon mit Arve Henriksens Trompete respektive "Trumpophone". Andächtige Stille fordert auch Track 9, in dem die Sängerin Sidsel Endresen das Gedicht Breathe zu einer leisen, hymnischen Instrumentalbegleitung rezitiert. Der Atem, der durch diese Aufnahmen weht, kündet von einem faszinierenden Talent.
Matthias Inhoffen, Stereoplay
A new name for ECM's ever-expanding roster of Scandinavian talent. "Different Rivers" is Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim's first album under his own name.

Some biographical information: Trygve Seim was born in Oslo in 1971, and took up the saxophone at the age of 14. His earliest inspirations were, he says, Jan Garbarek, electric Miles Davis, and ECM's documentation of European improvising. Seim studied jazz at the Trondheim Conservatory. During those studies he met pianist Christian Wallumrød, co-producer of the present disc and an ECM artist in his own right (see "No Birch" ECM 1628) and together they formed the group Airamero, which made Scandinavian tours with Kenny Wheeler and played in Germany with Nils Petter Molvær. In 1992, Seim, now based back in Oslo, joined the "little big band" Oslo 13 and appears on its 1993 album "Live"; when leader Jon Balke left the group in 1995, Seim and fellow saxophonist Morten Halle became the ensemble's principal composers.

In 1993, Seim co-founded the quartet The Source, a group originally rooted in the free jazz tradition but which has since developed a personal style of its own. The Source has played several concerts in which they are joined by the Cikada String Quartet (the classical ensemble that has appeared on ECM recordings by Bent Sørensen, Annette Peacock, Arild Andersen and Mats Edén). A Source/Cikada album will be issued by ECM in 2001. 1993 was also the year in which Seim launched the Trondheim Kunstorkester, a large ensemble containing many of the players now featured on "Different Rivers". "We started as a free music orchestra. I would just write small themes and then we would improvise: all of us were in the free music area at the time. In recent years, structure has become more im-portant to me, and some of the pieces we play now are totally composed."

In 1995, Trygve Seim played with the great Finnish drummer Edward Vesala ("Edward was very important for my musical development"), and they talked about forming a trio with Iro Haarla on harp and piano. In 1999 the project-in-progress was expanded to quartet-size with the addition of Anders Jormin on bass, and rehearsals began in earnest. The group played compositions by Seim with a melodic, freely expressive approach, as well as material by Haarla and Jormin, and radical re-workings of "standards" (if the term applies) by Legrand and Händel. A debut concert at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in July 1999, showed a group full of promise which was never to be fulfilled. Edward Vesala's sudden death, in November of that year, closed this chapter.

Seim's writing for his own orchestra occasionally reveals a centred, focussed, still quality that has affinities with Sound & Fury's ballad book, and "Different Rivers" includes a heartfelt tribute to Vesala; "For Edward". Henriksen is one of several musicians on the present recording who is likely to be familiar to followers of music on and around ECM. The trumpeter is a member of both the Christian Wallumrød Trio and Supersilent, the Rune Grammofon group currently making waves. He has also recorded with Jon Balke's Magnetic North Orchestra, Audun Kleive and Anders Jormin, amongst many other credits.

Hild Sofie Tafjord is a member of the experimental free improvising group Spunk, whose album "Det eneste jeg vet er at det ikke er en støvsuger" was issued earlier this year by Rune/ECM. Morten Hannisdal, who plays on "Different Rivers", is the cellist with the Cikada Quartet. And Sidsel Endresen, who recites "Breathe", was recently heard on Nils Petter Molvær's "Solid Ether", and has two ECM albums of her own, "So I Write" and "Exile". Øyvind Brække and Per Oddvar Johansen are both in The Source, alongside Trygve Seim. Stian Carstensen plays in the multi-idiom band Farmers Market, which also features Supersilent drummer Jarle Vespestad. Farmers Market was founded by Håvard Lund, another friend of Trygve's from conservatory days. Trained as classical clarinettist, Lund now works across the idioms from pop to theatre music to free improvising, and holds down a job as Musical Advisor at Oslo's Torshov Theatre. These are some of the inter-connections. Of the other players, Paal Nilssen-Love is known in free music circles for his work with saxophonist Frode Gjerstad. Bernt Simen Lund is a cellist with the Tromsø Symphony Orchestra, but also moonlights with rock bands. David Gald plays tuba in more straightahead jazz band contexts. Nils Jansen plays the whole range of saxophones and clarinets, and frequently works in thea-tre music settings. In brief, the entire crew reveals a penchant for multi-genre music-making.

Particularly from the bare-boned duets with Arve Henriksen - "Bhavana", "For Edward", "Between" - one can hear that Trygve Seim is listening beyond "jazz" - the bent and flat-tened notes, the microtones, the phrasing, all point to an interest in music of the East. "My main musical interest as a listener, has for a couple of years been dominated by traditional music from the east". Seim confirms. "Especially the different traditions of wind instruments and vocalists. In fact this winter I plan to make a journey to the east to find out more about this music and the culture around it. I'm also interested in con-temporary composition, and Görecki, Bjørklund and Pärt are important to me."

The piece "Breathe", written around a text by Annabel Laity has a special significance for Seim. "To me 'Breathe' is both a metaphorical and concrete keyword in my approach to mu-sic. It gives me a sort of understanding of the abstract aspects of music, those which are inde-pendent of instrumental technique, composition technique etc. These aspects which in my opinion are the most important ones in music - which are music. 'Breath' must be present in my musical work both when playing and composing.

"All the instruments on the record are acoustic instruments and most of them are wind instruments which also depend on the musicians breathing. With such instruments (especially wind instruments) I believe that you come closer to the inner voice of the musician playing the instrument, and this makes the music alive. Listen, for instance, to the way Arve Henriksen plays trumpet - that's such a personal sound.

"A lot of the music on the record is contemplative and I want it to be a stopping off place, away from the frantic pace of our modern Western society, a place to stop and just breathe."

Seim realises his goal by diverse means including studio sleight-of-hand. The title track, for example, pulls together two performances of the same piece, with musicians doubling instru-ments in ways that would have been impossible in real-time performance. "We recorded the piece twice with two different instrumentations and then Øyvind Brække and myself cut the sections together. Jan Erik Kongshaug at Rainbow was invaluable in making this approach work. I don't know, you often see on the sleeves of jazz albums 'recorded in one day, with no overdubs' and that's valid too, but if the technology exists it's equally valid to make use of it. We're really using both elements: a lot of the composing and arranging is done in the studio, but we're also working, of course, with improvisational aspects."

The freedom and the control make "Different Rivers" an auspicious ECM debut.
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 October 09 Flagey Brussels, Belgium
2024 October 10 NDR Hamburg, Germany
2024 October 11 NDR Hamburg, Germany
2024 October 12 Stadtgarten Cologne, Germany