Jan Garbarek and the HIlliard Ensemble
Norfolk & Norwich Festival event at Norwich Cathedral
> Norwich Cathedral
Norwegian jazz musician and composer Jan Garbarek broke free from the accepted definitions of jazz around 10 years ago, when he made the album Officium.
It was his first encounter with the vocal power of the four male voices of the Hilliard Ensemble.
It forged saxophone improvisation with plain song and became a hit. Five years later, the Hilliards and Garbarek returned with the album Mnemosyne, their chosen work for this concert whose soaring and uplifting sounds resounded and swirled up into the vaulted roof of the cathedral.
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The work covers music both ancient and modern and spans 22 centuries. Playing both soprano and tenor saxophone with his singularly spare and keening tone, Garbarek's saxophone lines have inflections of his native Scandinavian folk interwoven with hints of Latin America and even the occasional blue note.
This forging of old and new takes in a 16th- century Scottish ballad and covers on its way compositions by Tallis and Brumel, a Russian psalm and Garbarek's own compositions.
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It's hard to imagine the festival being given a more splendid kick-start.