Caecilie Norby and Lars Danielsson: A frizzy jazz portrait

27. April 2015
Giulia Oro

On Saturday 25th of April the stage of Vaba Lava hosted one of the most intense concerts under the programme of Jazzkaar. The Danish singer Caecilie Norby and the Swedish cello-doublebass player Lars Danielsson offered charming melodies to the city of Tallinn during the last day of the Festival.

They performed a playlist, with some tunes taken from their last album Arabesque as well a range of tunes from the standard repertoire, like Both Sides Now or Like A Rolling Stone. Since the overture they confirmed their renowned musical background, performing different styles at the same time, from jazz and ballad to swing and up-tempo.

Caecilie Norby, born in Frederiksberg, grew into a musical family. Her father is a composer and her mother is an opera singer. She started her career as a pop-rock singer, moving to the jazz field later on. In 1985 she had her first commercial success as a singer of the jazz-rock band Frontline and in 1995 she released her first jazz album Caecilie Norby. In Europe she was one of the first who contributed to bridge the gap between jazz and the young traditionally rock oriented audiences.

Lars Danielsson was educated at the music conservatory in Gothenburg. In 1985 he formed a quartet with saxophonist Dave Liebman, pianist Bobo Stenson and drummer Jon Christensen. He also played and recorded with, among others, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Mike Stern, Billy Hart, Charles Lloyd, Terri Lyne Carrington, Leszek Możdżer, Joey Calderazzo, Gino Vannelli and Dave Kikoski. As a producer, Danielsson has been responsible for productions with Danish radio orchestra and Caecilie as well. Their album Arabesque was released in 2010.

The line that connects them is the love for the music in all of its aspects. Their eclecticism allows them to combine different tunes creating a variety of feelings and situations at the same time. Moreover, the warm personality of the singer makes the atmosphere so lively and vibrant, that it’s difficult to look away from the stage.

During the concert, the voice and the instruments were deeply synchronized. It was surprising to hear how the melodies of the voice could blend with the tunes of the cello and the double-bass, and vice versa. Norby demonstrated great abilities to switch different vocal techniques. Danielsson displayed tricky techniques alternating pizzicato, arpeggio and glissando parts. In the middle of the show they offered also two solos. The singer featured Hurt portraying marvellous melodies with the voice. She used the harmonizer, in order to create more particular effects, and a particular vibrating instrument called Sansula. Danielsson displayed Pointe De Areira with the double-bass, warming the audience with some tunes similar to flamenco in somehow.

The harmonic series of the brilliant duo were achieved also thanks to the bright improvisations of the artists. They even improvised during the presentation of the tracks, faking some tunes. They offered the audience a frizzy jazz portrait, as they didn’t display a classical jazz repertoire, but rather experimentations of different styles and techniques, involving the audience more than once.

It’s difficult to find a word to describe the whole atmosphere, as the gig was really full of positive vibes. After the last tracks the audience applauded so enthusiastically that there was someone who was even cheering loudly or beating the feet on the ground. The artists were called twice on the stage to act again. They performed the standard lyric Hallelujah and Pascaglia, an up-tempo tune they never displayed before, made with voice and cello. The friendly atmosphere continued after the music stopped, when the duo signed albums outside the hall.

Caecilie Norby and Lars Danielsson
Saturday 25th of April, Vaba Lava
Caecilie Norby – voice
Lars Danielsson – cello and double-bass