12 Points Festival

JUNO (NOR)

BIMHUIS, Amsterdam
September 28, 2019
text: Robin Boer
photography: Françoise Bolechowski

From September 25 till 28, the Amsterdam BIMHUIS was dominated by the thirteenth edition of the bustling European 12 Points festival: 4 days, 12 bands, 12 cities, 1 stage. "The freshest, hottest sounds in jazz and contemporary experimental music." (Irish Times).”12 Points presents promising European acts that distinguish themselves through their courage, energy, boundlessness and talent. During 12 Points you can feel the breadth, energy, diversity and ambition of the jazz musicians of the future!" A beautiful program was compiled, packed with surprising and promising acts, including Kasia Pietrzko Trio (POL), Trio Heinz Herbert (CHE), No Tongues (FRA) and JUNO (NOR), and an extra 'Orange Line' fringe, containing some of the finest artists based in the Netherlands, like Sun-Mi Hong (KOR), Xavi Torres (ESP) and Guy Salomon (ISR). This line-up attracted a nice mixed audience, with a particularly large number of young people striking. ProgJazz reports.


photography © Françoise Bolechowski

JUNO

About two years ago, five Trondheim Jazz Academy students started a band called JUNO. After performing in different European countries like Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Scotland and of course home country Norway, The Netherlands are on turn to meet this young collective. JUNO planned the release of their debut album in January 2020. They released three singles on the digital streaming platforms and some nice footage on YouTube gave an impression of what to expect.

Shortly after the start of the concert, we immediately are part of an explosion of musical energy. Expressive two-voiced vocals in the form of singing and rap, combined with very on point double bass picking, inspired saxophone blowing and some superb groovy drumming, all presented in a very joyful performance. The charming presentation by the colourful dressed ladies turns a smile on the face of the audience that lasts until the very end of the set. We ProgJazzers are not quite fond of dancing per se, but during this concert we almost feel it's a pity the cozy Bimhuis is mostly a venue with seats. We feel very comfortable with the many rhythm shifts and parts of odd-meter, effortlessly drummed by Ingvald Vassbø. The crafty compositions are a true band effort, lead singer Malin Dahl Ødegård clarifies to us after the concert.

Apart from the three singles, we hear a lot of promising material from the forthcoming album. Good to notice is that both lead singers have their own unique vocal and visual character. Where Malin Dahl Ødegård appears to be the 'storyteller' of the band, providing extravert singing and rapping, Thea Ellingsen Grant takes care of other challenges, where large intervals and expressive screaming are adding even more spice to the cake. JUNO doesn't shy away from jamming and improvising as well. The musicians are playing very tight and the saxophone solos by Mona Krogstad prove to be a strong and credible voice to the youthful blend. The vocal harmonies are nowhere close to predictical, and since not a traditional harmony instrument (like a piano or a guitar) is being used, the music gets a character of its own.

JUNO isn't the only project the musicians are part of. For example, bass player Georgia Wartel Collins recorded a very adventurous album with her own 'Aila Trio' and Vassbø is part of the prog power trio 'Kanaan.' We look forward to hear JUNO in full studio glory in January and we insist they will come back to perform in the Bimhuis again next year.


[PJ_©RB]