In the early 90s (how long ago it seems!) Jazz music was in the grip of a dictatorship: the Jazz Police were on patrol, conducting raids and dispensing summary justice on any music that sounded even remotely post-1967, non-blues-based or - lord help us all! - electrified. Little did they know that one man had a vision of huge scope for Jazz, matched in proportion by his sheer nerve. Bugge Wesseltoft burst free from the shackles of this dictatorial system with a brand new project he had the daring to call a "New Conception of Jazz". And for 10 years this project burned across the landscape of Jazz, issuing a call to arms that many followed. And the rest, as they say is history: The freedom of Jazz was restored ...
OK, this is a flippant simplification of the whole situation; but there is no denying that Bugge Wesseltoft's New Conception of Jazz made a huge impact when its first eponymous Jazzland release came in 1996. Fearless hybridizing, experimentation, and inventiveness were the key elements of this project, giving Bugge and his collaborators, as Samuel Beckett might have said, "a license to fail". However, failure wasn't on the agenda, because another element was also present: accessibility. This was music that was radical in its intent, yet did not require explanation or dogma to make it listenable. Melody and harmony were ever-present, accessible grooves (and not just 4-to-the-floor, either) drove much of it along, and the spirit was generous. Even humour was welcomed (think of "(Come On Buddy-You Got) Green Light" from "Sharing") This was Jazz for the people.
Now, more than 10 years after the first release, the project has ceased touring and recording (but may not necessarily be ended!) Bugge has assembled this 3CD + DVD box set, and it stands as a perfect record of what the New Conception of Jazz meant and achieved. Selecting key tracks from the 4 studio albums and 1 live album of its output, alongside previously unreleased studio material, alternative takes, remixes and live recordings, we are given a perfect portrait of one of the most talked about, exciting, daring and electrifying projects to come out of the hotbed of the Oslo Jazz underground.
Fans will be delighted to see many of their favourites such as "Somewhere in Between" and "Sharing" alongside previously unavailable remixes of other classic tracks by Mind Over Midi and Chilluminati (yes, the famous 3rd part of the Chilluminatus Trilogy, "Skog", finally released in full CD quality). Also represented is the more ethereal, and often unsettling ambient world that is often overlooked by critics and fans alike: "Hymn", showing a claustrophobic darkness rarely heard in music. Alternative versions of classic tracks appear, such as "Hope" from the album "Film Ing", here presented with just Bugge and Dhafer Youssef.
And over 75 minutes of brand new live material from Tokyo, Paris and Oslo PLUS a Live DVD of a concert in Miles Davis Hall in Montreaux from 2004. These live recordings feature the classic New Conception of Jazz line-up of Bugge, Ingebrigt Flaten, Anders Engen, Rickard Gensollen, and Jonas Lønna, as well as Wetle Holte, Marius Reksjø, Per Zanussi , Laurent Garnier, and long-time true believer, John Scofield. As Scofield said: "It's very hard to find people who are playing electric jazz with integrity. When I heard Bugge's recordings I knew I found a like-minded musical partner." (Keep your ears open for Scofield's incredible solo in "Jazzlandsangen, live at Blå"). The Live material features standards such as "Change", "Sharing" and "Film Ing" but also shows the New Conception of Jazz as an outfit capable of producing completely spontaneous electric music with that integrity John Scofield saw and admired, often employing methods previously assumed to be studio-only: live sampling and resampling, loops and effects all play their part in producing genuine emotion and excitement in indisputably “real” music.
Real music? Not just real music: Jazz - for that is what this is and has always been: whatever your preconception, this was a New Conception of Jazz. Listen!
CD1 1. Somewhere In Between 2. You Might Say - Mind Over Midi Remix 3. Yellow is the Colour 4. Hymn 5. Feel Good - Live 6. Skog - Chilluminati Remix 7. Hope - New Version 8. South
CD2 1. Change - Live from Japan 2. Existence - Edit 3. Poem 4. Sharing 5. Spectre Supreme 6. Live In Cologne - Live 7. Moving 8. Lone
CD3 1. Change - Live In Yokohama 2. Sharing - Live In Yokohama 3. Yokohama 4. El - Live In Yokohama 5. Filming - Live In Yokohama 6. The Man With The Red Face - Live In Paris feat. Laurent Garnier 7. Jazzlandsangen - Live at Blå 2001 - feat. John Scofield
DVD Live at Miles Davis Hall, Montreaux, 2004 1. Frik 2. Skog 3. Hi Is 4. Digital Prophecy 5. Hope 6. Sunday 7. Flimmer 8. Film Ing