Pianist and composer Jan Gunner Hoff, based in Bodø in the far north of Norway, has been described as an excellent melodic craftsman. He has been a very active player on the Norwegian scene since the seventies.
The music on this album has been cherry-picked from two larger works by Hoff, commissioned by two Norwegian festivals. The piece “MAGMA” commissioned by Nordland Musikkfestuke in 2006, and “Free Flow Songs” that was commissioned by Vossajazz in 2005. The album “MAGMA” offers a mix of different geographies and musical traditions. A Nordic sound melts together with European and North-American dialects.
Hoff has put together an all-star team for this project. From his regular band comes double bass player Bjørn Kjellemyr (Terje Rypdal, Rolf Lislevand) and drummer Audun Kleive (Terje Rypdal, Marilyn Mazur Future Song, Bugge Wesseltoft). The legendary guitar player Mike Stern (USA) that got his breakthrough as a member of Miles Davis´band contributes both with marvellous ballad-playing and a more rock based sound. The collaboration between Hoff and Stern goes back to 2006, when they did the world premier on the piece MAGMA in Hoff’s hometown Bodø. Maria Joáo (Portugal) is one of the true originals of Portuguese and European jazz. She has released numerous albums on labels such as Universal and Verve.
On the tracks with Maria guitarist Eivind Aarset (Nils Petter Molvær, Arild Andersen) and percussionist Helge Nordbakken (Jon Balke, Mari Boine) also play. The extremely talented trumpet player Mathias Eick, who recently released his debut album for ECM, brings colour to most of the tracks, and holds a powerful appearance the whole album through.