the year 1994 - June 1.
article in Fredriksstad Blad, Thursday June 2. 1994
Translated by Dag Sirnes:
Responsive and quiet
Silje Nergaard, Arne Domnerus & Østfold Trio in the Cathedral
Østfold Trio calmly started "The battle hymn of the republic" for 150 people in Fredrikstad Cathedral last night. Behind the scenes lurked Sweden's first saxophonist and a young Norwegian vocalist named Nergaard. It sounded a bit rattling of the trio initially, but as soon as Arne Domnerus entered the stage and began Peterson's "Hymn to Freedom", the tone was set.
Calmly and relaxed, the trio gathered around Domnerus' clear authority. He spiced up hymns and ballads with elements from Swedish folk music. Spirituals and hymns are interpreted with the same empathy. It is a satisfied Domnerus who can thank the audience after a good start. Whereupon he introduces Silje Nergaard.
She begins in a low voice; ''Nærast er du'' (Closest You Are), with piano accompaniment. In the next issue, Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim leaves the piano and takes a seat behind a synthesizer: "Kirken den er et gammelt hus'' (The church is an old house).
And now the support group is starting to lift things up. Ingar Guttormsen's bass sneaks intimately into the melody, while Håkon Paulsberg judiciously puts his foot down and marks the territory. When Domnerus enters the clarinet, we are far into the borderland between hymns and blues.
"It's cowardly to exercise too much", Domnerus stated before they lyrically and quietly threw themselves into "Ack Värmland du sköna" (Oh Värmland - You beauty). What a musician!
But Silje Nergaard sings jazz. "God bless the child" releases her voice. The trio gently supports. Domnerus plays and searches in the melody, while Silje leads it all.
The last sequence is devoted to Ellington; church music and swing in beautiful union. It's jazz now. No one doubts anymore. Mainstream bubbles out of Paulsberg and into Guttormsen's bass. Even the legato sequences from Ellington's sacred, melodic treasure turn into a swing. There is room for error and there is room for innovation. Music is created in the Cathedral. ''It's cowardly to exercise too much ...''.
Finally: ''Sometime I feel''. Naked. Vulnerable. Straight into a life-affirming version of "When the saints". Vestrheim, Nergaard and Domnerus push themselves into improvisation while sound support rolls. The ring is closed.
Small, large vocalist. Silje Nergaard gave the audience jazz and hymns in beautiful union. (Photo: Jan Erik Skau)