me, Silje Nergaard and her support band were undoubtedly one of
the highlights of this year's jazz festival. Her graceful, captivating
voice was silky in tone and perfectly suited to the mellow nature
of her music.
an engaging quality to her on stage - you really get the sense that
she loves every minute of her performance and it seems to be naturally
portrayed in her voice.
songs are also well crafted and hugely enjoyable. She
writes her own songs and performed some of them at the festival.
Her compositions are excellent because she seems to have a complete
understanding of her voice and what she can do with it.
her interpretations of other artists' work seen to have a unique
feel to them. She sang a cover of Sting's 'If You Love Someone (Set
Them Free)' and it was such an entertaining version that it had
a life of its own.
heard her music before when I chanced upon one of her older albums.
It was 'At First Light' (2001) and I was just listening to it out
of curiosity. I found that I really enjoyed it. Musically, it was
very appealing. The smooth, catchy jazz tunes were easy to like
and it quickly became a favourite of mine.
fact, she sang a song from that album called 'Japanese Blue' at
the festival. It stood out as a silky smooth number with fantastically
rich lyrics that, accompanied by some fine atmospheric jazz, was
a delight to listen to.
Silje sing live, you can certainly say I'm a fan of her music! And
after hearing the high praise from members of the audience on the
way out, I somehow think I'm not the only one.
write this review without mentioning the outstanding performances
of her support band. They were Tord Gustavsen on piano and keyboards,
Harald Johnsen on bass, Jarle Vespetad on drums and Hallgrim Bratberg
on the piano was an absolute revelation. His control and technique
were marvellous and he deservedly received generous applause from
the audience. I think he's quite possibly one of the most accomplished
jazz pianists I've ever heard playing live.
one point he was playing both the piano and the Fender Rhodes keyboard.
Such was his talent that he carried the dual performance off without
making a single mistake.
Vespetad also merits a mention because his delicate touch at drums
helped to underscore the rich, melodic feeling of the music. His
understated performance underpinned the silky sound of the jazz
and gave it an enticing beat.
with Silje, they make a very fine ensemble indeed. Here were five
artists who really performed magnificently together. It was as if
they were at the peak of their powers and the music flowed so naturally
that it just couldn't fail.
review for the collective efforts of Silje and her band may seem
high on the praise but it was one of the most sophisticated and
accomplished performances I've witnessed in a long time. Her striking
voice was accompanied by some truly marvellous jazz. For me, it
was hands down the best concert I've attended at this year's festival.
was Silje's very first appearance at the Cheltenham International
Jazz Festival and I'm hoping she returns next year because her performance
and that of the excellent musicians around her warrants it.
by Nic Baddeley
about Gloucestershire festivals