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Bugge Wesseltoft

New Conception Of Jazz

When Bugge Wesseltoft's New Conception of Jazz was released in 1996, no-one predicted what a hugely influential album it would turn out to be. Although it received the Norwegian Grammy award for "Jazz Album of the Year" it's real significance would emerge later, "It sold OK in Norway," said Wesseltoft. "Then six months after that people called me up from France they really want the album, then Germany, then it just took off from there." Soon, album sales were reaching the 40,000 mark. But that was just the beginning. Other musicians in other countries, excited by Wessoltoft's new jazz sound, began offering their take on his music. Suddenly Bugge Wesseltoft's New Conception of Jazz was at the forefront of what was quickly becoming a hip new trend. The press began calling it Nu-Jazz and among the the first wave of bands that broke in the wake of the New Conception of Jazz were Nils Petter Molvær, Wibutee, and Jaga Jazzist, who suggested this new trend had much to offer.

What Wesseltoft had done was to take the sounds and rhythms of club culture and electronica and combined them with jazz improvisation. But as we all know, having an good idea is one thing, translating it into successful reality is quite another and, as Wesseltoft is first to admit, it took time and a lot of experimentation. In the event, the successful realisation of his concept was less about the means he used to achieve his end, but more about the end he ultimately achieved, which is what New Conception of Jazz is all about ? "It's my first attempt to fuse electronic music inspirations with my more organic jazz background and it took two years of heavy work, as well as learning studio recording almost from scratch and learning the 'edit and producer' role," he later reflected. The interesting thing about the music on New Conception of Jazz is that even today, it sounds fresh and ahead of the game. Take the track "Poem," for example, where Wesseltoft places an acoustic piano in an electronic environment, a context where it sheds it association with the past and sounds of the moment, then, in a fresh episode, a synth sound emerges that brings to mind the powerful opening of Weather Report's "Birdland," then "Poem" assumes momentum with a powerful New Conception of Jazz groove with the trumpet of Nils Petter Molvær emerging as the voice of reason before an end without resolution, suggesting this not the end of the story, it will be continued.

  • 1. Somewhere In Between
    2. New Conception Of Jazz
    3. Spectre Supreme
    4. Trouble
    5. New Conception Of Jazz 2
    6. Trio
    7. Poem
    8. My Street
    9. Modular
    10. Endless

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