Mette Henriette

After Mette Henriette’s critically acclaimed, self-titled first recording comes Drifting – and album pervaded by trio conversations of idiosyncratic and original expression. With Johan Lindvall returning on piano, new addition Judith Hamann on cello and herself on saxophone, Mette’s chamber musical elaborations prove of a concentrated and exploratory quality, marked by subtle yet intense interaction. Motifs and recurring patterns crystallize and reveal a concise, intricate narrative. The saxophonist-composer explains how “this album is in movement. It’s on its way somewhere and has its own pace – its creative agency is fundamentally different from what I’ve done previously.” Recorded in Oslo, completed in Studios La Buissonne and produced by Manfred Eicher, Drifting presents the trio’s deep investigations into hushed textures and rich tones with precision and clarity.
Nach Mette Henriettes vielbeachtetem selbstbetitelten Debüt folgt nun Drifting – ein Album, das von Trio-Gesprächen mit eigenwillig-originellem Ausdruck durchdrungen ist. Mit Rückkehrer Johan Lindvall am Klavier und dem Neuzugang Judith Hamann am Cello präsentiert Mette kammermusikalische Ausarbeitungen von höchst konzentrierter und forschender Natur, zum Ausdruck gebracht durch subtile und zugleich intensive Interaktion. Motive und wiederkehrende Muster entstehen fast unscheinbar und offenbaren ein prägnantes Narrativ. Die Saxophonistin erklärt, dass "dieses Album in Bewegung ist. Es bahnt sich seinen Weg und hat sein eigenes Tempo – der kreative Gestus unterscheidet sich grundlegend von dem, was ich bisher gemacht habe." Aufgenommen in Oslo, fertiggestellt in den Studios La Buissonne und produziert von Manfred Eicher, präsentiert Drifting Trioerkundungen gedämpfter Texturen und vielfältiger Timbres mit besonderer Klarheit und Präzision.
Featured Artists Recorded

2020-2022, Munchmuseet, Oslo

Original Release Date


  • 1The 7th
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 2Across the floor
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 3I villvind
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 4Čađat
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 5Chassé
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 6Drifting
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 7Oversoar
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 8Rue du Renard
    (Johan Lindvall, Mette Henriette)
  • 9Indrifting you
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 10A Choo
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 11Čieđđa, fas
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 120 °
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 13Solsnu
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 14Crescent
    (Mette Henriette)
  • 15Divining
    (Mette Henriette)
Beautifully recorded low-volume acoustic music located somewhere equidistant from jazz, folk and contemporary composition, with nothing as vulgar as a drum kit to sully the delicate sonic properties of each instrument. […] this long-awaited follow-up concentrates on a small chamber trio, which seems to suit her style. Over 15 short tracks, she is joined by Swedish pianist Johan Lindvall and the extraordinary Australian cellist Judith Hamann. Sometimes all three take great delight in negotiating labyrinthine chord changes […] But other times they linger on a single chord – or even a single note – for an entire song, teasing out unusual textures. ‘Oversoar’ and ‘A-Choo’ both see Henriette and Hamann playing drowsy drones in odd intervals around simple, static piano riffs, eventually converging to play in unison, when they sound like a particularly thick analogue synth voicing. ‘On Oº’ and ‘Solsnu’, the two simply play textural effects – a wheezy, crackling tenor sax reed and a creaky cello combining to create the sound of Arctic ice floes cracking under pressure.
John Lewis, The Guardian (Contemporary album of the month)
The fifteen pieces of music on this recording are all fairly short, but they work particularly well as a whole, one track leading into the next with a concentrated and exploratory quality. Henriette’s sax playing is beautiful. There’s an ease and subtlety to her tone that reminds me a little of Jan Garbarek when in pensive mood. […] The delicate nature of the music manifests in the fabric and compositional design of this collection of songs. A playground for impulse and improvisation, ‘Drifting’ connects the trio of performers to the listener in such a wonderfully involving way. It’s as if we’re in the same room, sharing the experience of expression as it comes to life. […] A compellingly evocative album, ‘Drifting’ is a beguiling journey through sensitive, subtle moods that are carefully crafted and performed by this wonderful trio of musicians. There’s a charm to the music that shines, captivating this listener with its gentle, life-affirming beauty.
Mike Gates, UK Vibe
Eight years after her debut recording, Norwegian saxophonist and composer Mette Henriette returns with a wonderful follow-up. ‘This album is in movement,’ she says. ‘It’s on its way somewhere and has its own pace.’ That it does: joined by Johan Lindvall on piano and Judith Hamann on cello, it’s a glacially paced set of hushed tones and textures. […] A beautiful, atmospheric suite of instrumental music.
Ian Sinclair, Morning Star
Displaying achingly reflective moods with an erudite temperament, the tunes comprising this album reveal a certain poignant vulnerability but also a calm and confident expression. […] In her compositional material, Henriette seems to declare and confide, benefiting from the deep sympathy between her and her co-workers. ‘Rue de Renard’, for example, has pure, balmy saxophone lines sliding across the smooth wavy fabric at the bottom. On the other hand, ‘A Choo’ is carved out with some improvisation and unisons over a relentless piano figure. A distinctive sound and delicate lyricism distinguish the music of Henriette, from whom we expect great things in the future.
Filipe Freitas, Jazz trail
Ein Spiel der Klangfarben, der Verwandlungen. Und der ganz sanften Überlagerungen. Schon bei ihrem Debüt vor sieben Jahren hat die 1990 geborene Saxophonistin und Komponistin unter anderem mit dieser Instrumentenkombination für gespitzte Ohren gesorgt. Doch jetzt dreht sie den Regler noch ein Stückchen weiter runter, lässt noch ein bisschen mehr Luft zwischen die einzelnen Töne. Dieses Album mit Mette Henriette am Tenorsaxophon, Johan Lindvall am Klavier und Judith Hamann am Cello birgt viele Momente leiser und besonderer Schönheit. Und macht Stück für Stück vor allem die Flüchtigkeit solcher Momente spürbar. Nein, diese Töne kommen nicht genauso oder fast genauso nochmal, damit man sie sich besser einprägen kann. Sie tauchen auf und gehen wieder. Da hilft alles nichts: Hinhören, dabei bleiben, keine Sekunde verpassen. 15 unterschiedlich kurze Stücke sind auf dem Album, und die Musik wird nicht langweilig, weil sie so viele Nuancen hat. […] eine Musik mit vielen Schattierungen, in der die einzelnen Instrumente unablässig auf die jeweils anderen zu antworten scheinen. Ein Miteinander, ein Ineinander. Jazz-Kammermusik. Auch wenn diese Saxophonistin eine solche Ästhetik schon länger verfolgt: Gerade jetzt könnte ihre Musik nicht aktueller sein. Auf sehr leise Art eindringliche Töne für Menschen, die den Atem anhalten in einer Welt, die sich ins Ungewisse bewegt. Die Schönheit dieser Musikstücke hat dabei etwas eigenwillig Tröstliches.
Roland Spiegel, Bayerischer Rundfunk
Henriette paints a series of portraits, some long, some short, that unfold more than they move forward. Lindvall switches between providing a steady backdrop (the title track) and a main riff (‘I villvind’) with which Henriette can interact, while Hamann underscores the interplay with the appropriate drone. The leader herself seems more interested in communicating the melodies than exhibiting her chops, letting tracks like ‘Crescent’ and ‘Oversoar’ marinate in their own tunefulness instead of slapping your face with technique. ‘Drifting’ neither demands attention nor seduces you for it, but instead simply lets itself be, allowing the listener to discover its charms at their own pace.
Michael Toland, The Big Takeover
‘Drifting’ is gentler, quieter, but no less challenging than its predecessor. Its compositions reside in the amorphous aural terrain between jazz, folk, and contemporary classical. Sound – tone, color, vibration, duration, and timbre – has always been key in Henriette’s aesthetic […] Though much shorter and less varied than her outstanding debut, ‘Drifting’ is easily just as musically sophisticated and spiritually resonant.
Thom Jurek, All Music
Diciamo subito che ‘Drifting’ non s’inquadra certo in una dimensione jazz, nemmeno in quella classica cameristica. Non potremmo parlare di minimalismo e tantomeno di ambient. Insomma, questa musica, evidentemente nuova, lambisce diversi territori senza mai fisicamente accostarne alcuno. […] In questo album, il sassofono tenore della Henriette si fa appaiare da Johan Lindvall al pianoforte – già presente nell’album precedente uscito nel 2015 – e da Judith Hamann al violoncello. Il trio, che crea di per sé un nucleo formativo non comune, sviluppa il proprio suono attraverso bagliori subitanei, spazi silenziosi e visioni panoramiche color pastello. La musica è molto armonica, direi priva di qualsiasi dissonanaza irrisolta, rischiarata da una luminosità interiore e ben attenta a non inciampare in qualsivoglia clichè new-age. Piuttosto si avverte, qua e là, qualche inflessione folk che avvicina la Henriette alla sua collega norvegese Sinikka Langeland.
Riccardo Talamazzi, Offtopic Magazine
Ce second opus révèle un univers toujours aussi singulier, marqué peut-être plus encore qu’auparavant par une extrême concentration dans l’expression. […] Entre approche chambriste et lointains échos folk, la musique de Mette-Henriette frappe surtout par sa pudique introversion, une forme de lenteur contemplative don’t le lyrisme ne se dévoile qu’au fil d’écoutes multiples,  à la manière d’une vaste étendue neigeuse don’t les mille scintillements se révèleraient peu à peu à force de patiente observation.
Pascal Rozat, Jazz Magazine
Aux confins du jazz, à la porte de la musique de chambre, ses quinze compositions s’enchaînent comme dans un rêve. Le son tout à la fois intime et aérien, la musique toute en retenue de la saxophoniste évoquent autant Carla Bley qu’ Arvo Pärt. L’univers de Mette Henriette est en suspension, cet album une respiration.
Yvan Duvivier, Dimanche Ouest France
Cette fois elle opte pour le format poche (sax, piano et violoncelle) et la brièveté. Les quinze pièces s’apparentent parfois à des esquisses, des suspensions ou des ressassements. Toutes dégagent une force énigmatique, impressionannte comme le haut vol d’un bel oiseau. ‘Drifting’ se lit ainsi comme un poème à ciel ouvert, poème de la nature plein de souffle et sonorités composites. Jusque dans ses ombres passagères, il inspire une sérénité n’excluant jamais une part d’ètrangeté: la marque de la ‘différence.’
Louis-Julien Nicolaou, Télérama
Aus großer Stille treten sparsamste melodische Fragmente hervor, zarte vorbeihuschende Andeutungen, kleine Seufzermotive, die nach ein paar Wiederholungen fallen gelassen werden und ins Nichts verschwinden. Hier und da beschwört ein folkloristischer Triller in diesen Miniaturen die Verbundenheit der Norwegerin mit ihrer samischen Kultur. […] Wer sich ganz auf die reduzierten Klänge einzulassen vermag, erlebt ein gemeinsam atmendes Kollektiv, das aufmerksam der Stille lauscht und die subtilsten Schwingungen der Musik von Mette Henriette aushört. Eine weitere beeindruckende Meditation über die Stille im großen ECM-Katalog von Manfred Eicher.
Michael Bossong, Jazzpodium
‘Drifting’, Henriette’s second release for ECM is a diaphanous masterpiece of minimalist chamber jazz, free of new-age ornamentals supplied by electronic instruments. Accompanied by only Johan Lindvall on piano and Judith Hamann on violoncello, Henriette leads her quiet trio through 15 original pieces that hang together so delicately that they might blow away at any given moment. Straddling the line between composition and improvisation, ‘Drifting’ forges its own path in its own time. It might not be a startlingly new path, but it’s carved exquisitely. […] stick around often enough and long enough, and you will notice little patterns and surprises along each way. Like the snow-coated cover art, the paradoxical sound of the trio presents a bit of serenity by way of extreme conditions.
John Garratt, Pop Matters
If Henriette is steeped in free improvisation as a method for making music, she is also well versed in using notated scores and structured composition and will use whichever of these methods that serves the music best. Her concern is how the music flows, how the musicians interact, and the space in which it is performed, and she uses as her tools to achieve this an uncanny use of space, silence, dynamics and texture. This is not to say her music is not melodic or rhythmically interesting, but these moments are carefully sculptured by design or in the moment, and in the overall context of the piece that is being performed. There are no solos per se, just an ensemble working as one. […] With ‘Drifting’, Mette Henriette fulfils the promise shown on her debut album and in doing so reveals another perfectly sculptured soundscape, while also giving notice that if we too are patient there is much more to come.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views
Die fünfzehn oft nur zwei, drei Minuten langen Trio-Miniaturen verströmen innere Wärme und höchste Originalität. Wie Mette Henriette durch ihre ureigene Klangwelt driftet, hat fast den Zauber der frühen Bergman-Filme.
Karl Lippegaus, Fono Forum
Wie Morgentau lässt Johan Lindvall in ‘Oversoar’ die Töne aus dem Klavier tropfen. Judith Hamann unterlegt weiches Cellorauschen und Mette Henritte entlockt dem Saxofon einen zarten Hauch und eine dezente Melodie: Vordergründig betrachtet, braucht es wahrlich nicht viel, um eine bezaubernde Atmosphäre zu schaffen. Die hohe Kunst besteht darin, aus dem Kleinen einen Gesamteindruck zu schaffen, in dem jede noch so kleine Bewegung einen Sinn ergibt. Wie virtuos Mette Henriette die Schattierungen ihres Tenorsaxofons beherrscht, verrät ganz nebenbei ihr Beitrag zu ‘Indrifting You’. Hier und in den anderen dreizehn Stücken gilt: Niemand drängt sich nach vorn. Wer im Vordergrund steht, dominiert keinesfalls das Geschehen, sondern ragt nur eine Nasenspitze weit hervor. Diese drei sind Virtuosen des Zarten, Fließenden, Verbindenden, Liebevollen.
Werner Stiefele, Rondo
In questi giorni è uscito un disco programmatico fin dal titolo sulla fluttuazione, il disegno tratteggiato in aria, l’indicibilità di un jazz che è pura sospensione ed assomiglia molto a quanto notato prima, senza esserne copia conforme. Il disco si intitola ‘Drifting’, e il verbo sta a indicare proprio la sensazione di ‘scivolare, passare da una cosa all’altra’ che si ricava all’ascolto di queste magnifiche note.
Guido Festinese, Il Giornale della Musica
Le langage musical qui se degage de cet ensemble insolite est atmosphérique, voire stratosphérique […] un jazz de chambre, souvent éthéré et impalpable, mēlé à des interpretations en suspension qui empruntent à la musique contemporaine. Le vent du Nord a soufflé une curiosité.
Didier Pennequin, Le Quotidien du Médecin
Il y a du mystère dans cette partition meditative, sensible et poétique, enregistrée au Musée Munch d’Oslo par Manfred Eicher […] c’est surtout là l’œuvre impressionnante d’une artiste qui ne ressemble à aucune autre.
Marc Zisman, Jazz News
La sax norvégienne Mette Henriette brosse des paysages de forêts, de larges prairies, de fleuves puissants et de lacs placides. Sa musique est lyrque, nostalgique, repetitive, toujours à peine module, comme un soufflé, ornée par les interventions subtiles de Johan Lindvall au paino et de Judith Hamann au violoncelle. […] A l’écoute de l’album cette musique mélancolique nous touche au fond de l’âme.
Jean-Claude Vantroyen, Le Soir
Man kann der Musik auf ‘Drifting’ beim Atmen und Wachsen zuhören, beim Strecken und Dehnen. Zugleich scheint die Zeit of stehengeblieben zu sein in den 43 Minuten Spieldauer des zweiten Albums von Mette Henriette: Dann wirken die minimalistischen Lyrizismen darauf mehr wie auditive Skulpturen, am ehesten gleichen sie installativen Räumen, die hörend begangen werden können.
Harry Schmidt, Jazzthetik
Auf ihrem neuen Album ‘Drifting’ findet sie, begleitet von Klavier und Cello, viele Möglichkeiten, dem Wind eine Stimme zu geben. Sanft, voller Brüche, komplett unesoterisch und von wilder Schönheit.
Oliver Creutz, Stern
Contemporary chamber music of power and persuasion, this joins its musicians in a quest for serenity.
Carlo Wolff, Downbeat
Die Musik des Trios der Saxofonistin, die mit vollem Namen Mette Henriette Martedatter Rølvåg heißt, wirkt wie ein Gegenmittel zur Informations- und Reizüberflutung unserer Zeit. Sie ruht mild ausgewogen in sich, schreitet gemächlich voran fern aller Eile und aller improvisatorischen Muskelspiele. Wie in einem bedachtsam gewebten Teppich fügen sich die Elemente zu reizvollen Bildern. Es ist, als wolle sich dieses Gespinst der Töne sperren gegen die analytische Betrachtung. Diese Musik ist wie einfach da in sanfter Plausibilität, die scheinbar nichts beweisen will. Was hier mit den naturbelassenen Instrumenten Tenorsaxofon, Klavier und Cello entwickelt wird, passt in keine Schublade. Die Musik ist gleichzeitig abstrakt und sinnlich, diszipliniert und frei. Ein Tableau der Klänge von hoher Suggestivkraft und frei von simplen Wiedererkennungseffekten wird in Stücken wie ohne Anfang und ohne Ende aus sprechender Stille heraus entworfen, entwickelt und durchgeführt. Eins geht folgerichtig ins andere über in diesem improvisatorisch entwickelten Gedankenfluss, der etwas Elfenhaftes hat und mit seiner stillen Kraft den Hörer zum Staunen bringt.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Sonic
Gli basta incanalare il flusso del suo strumento attraverso le vibranti tonalità di un fraseggio che, proprio come il titolo del disco fotografa, si spinge oltre la nebbia che avvolge il rumore della società dell’uomo, ‘alla deriva’, ad esplorare attimi di vita fermi nel tempo eppure in movimento altrove. (…) Non abbiate paura di andare alla deriva e scoprirete un’artista straordinaria che non ha bisogno di rumore o inutili orpelli per farsi amare e ricordare.
Riccardo Rossi, Extramusic magazine
There are numerous short tracks – 15 alone – on this set, all composed by Henriette, with some lasting barely a minute. Yet their brevity connects them, with hesitant pulses and similar melodic themes appearing on several tracks, while others share sweeping piano arpeggios and urgent dynamic waves. Conversely, the title track and others deliver a rich palette of timbres within unrepetitive structures. Yet while individual tracks capture the imagination, it is the overall effect that counts the most, the feel of a subtle, intense interaction within the trio that makes for note-perfect musical conversations. […] It’s often dangerous to over-praise a set, but in its quiet, understated way, I would call this album faultless. Modern chamber music at its finest.   
Simon Adams, Jazz Journal
Mette Henriette. Nuova rivelazione della feconda scena improvvisata norvegese, la sassofonista è anche in assoluto una delle musiciste più interessanti nel panorama del jazz europeo di oggi. E, a più di sette anni dal folgorante debutto per casa ECM, la giovane tenorista fa il bis con «Drifting» (…) L’album si articola in poco meno di tre quarti d’ora di musica, suddivisi in una quindicina di brani diversi per durata e per atmosfera, ma tutti ad alto tasso d’intensità e di emozione.
Ivo Franchi, Musica Jazz
After Mette Henriette’s critically acclaimed, self-titled first recording comes Drifting – an album pervaded by trio conversations of idiosyncratic and original expression. Mette: “Drifting vividly captures a moment in time. I can hear everything still growing – in motion – on the record and how present my imagination is. Prior to the recording, I had a lot of time to sit down and focus on this new music. From the very beginning, I wanted to create material that could grow, expand and contract in different formats.”
With Johan Lindvall returning on piano, new addition Judith Hamann on cello and herself on saxophone, Mette’s chamber musical elaborations prove of a concentrated and exploratory quality, marked by subtle yet intense interaction. Motifs and recurring patterns crystallize and reveal a concise, intricate narrative. The saxophonist-composer explains how “this album is in movement. It’s on its way somewhere and has its own pace – its creative agency is fundamentally different from what I’ve done previously.”
The difference not only manifests in the change of instrumentation, but moreover in the fabric and compositional design of this collection of songs. At once organized programme with a compelling instrumental narrative and playground for impulse and improvisation, Drifting connects to the deeper processes within Mette’s musical consciousness. Illuminating the mechanisms behind her musical inventions and touching upon the diction of her language, Mette notes: “for me, a very important tool in the compositional process is to let ideas mature to the extent that they start living their own lives. Then things just spontaneously come to the surface in different pieces and start interconnecting. And I like playing with prepositions in music. Shedding light on different things from different perspectives, playing with foreground and background, repositioning elements and flipping arrangements. To me, that’s how different improvisational opportunities come to life.”
Some of those interconnections can be traced between “Across the Floor” and “Chassé”, found in the pieces’ correspondingly hesitant pulses and likeminded melodic themes. Or between “I villvind” and “Rue du Renard”, based around their shared sweeping piano arpeggios and their similarly urgent dynamic waves. Elsewhere, the trio presents its rich pallet of timbres within far-reaching, un-repetitive structures, as in the title track, “Oversoar” or “Indrifting You”, abound with steadily shifting tonal tensions, Hamann’s defiant cello flageolets, divergent chordal piano frames and Mette’s distinctive, wide-ranging saxophone explorations.
Recorded at the recently relocated Munch Museum in Oslo, the album was completed at Studios La Buissonne in close collaboration with Manfred Eicher, who produced the album and, as Mette stresses, whose “intuitive and complete understanding” of her music significantly influenced the shape and sound of Drifting.