Erland Helbø guitar
Frode Ågedal Berg bass
Erik Smith drums
Kristian Wentzel keyboards on tracks 4,6 & 8
Release No: LOS 220-2
All compositions by Erland Helbø except Next Sandwich, Please by Frode Berg
Recorded and mixed by Anders Verde at Schitzophonia Studio, Jessheim, Norway
Additional recording by Frode Berg at MalFunktion Studio, Spikkestad, Norway
Kristian Wentzel at Audioskop, Sofiemyr, Norway and Erland Helbø at Schitzophonia Studio
Mastered by Frode Berg at MalFunktion Studio
Produced by Erland Helbø
Front cover photo by Kjersti Holst
The first time I heard Erland Helbø over ten years ago, he played traditional jazz guitar in a trio with organist Palle Wagnberg. Both the choice of guitar, the sound and the music were stylish and well-executed, revealing an ambitious and serious approach to the material in addition to genuine joy of playing.
Later, our roads crossed at various jam sessions and some local gigs, where Erland exposed a much wider musical range. It was clear that a more intense expression was present, with a thorough understanding of style, solid playing technique, a great ear and a distinct expression.
I was also present at the graduation concert at the conclusion of the master’s program at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he also performed a number of his own compositions.
Erland Helbøs background also includes a number of years of teaching, but gradually there were more and more work coming his way as a freelancer. In addition to backing musicians at concerts and in the media, there was also an increasing number of engagements as a theater musician where the musical explorations became ever greater.
In this environment along with the most professional of freelancers, Erland met fellow musicians who shared the same interest in a music genre where instrumentalists can unfold in free dressage. We are talking about jazz rock, where the most challenging musical parameters are well represented. This genre is very broad, ranging from the delicate and subtle to the raw as well as energetic and technically brilliant.
Bassist Frode Ågedal Berg is in the top tier among Norwegian bassists, regardless of genre. In addition to a permanent position on double bass in the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, he has also distinguished himself as a jazz bassist in many styles. As an electric bass player he spans further genres and appears both as a virtuoso soloist and solid rock , as needed and on occasion. Frode also has several albums of his own, with a number of his own compositions.
Drummer Erik Smith is one of Norway’s most profiled drummers and has an unparalleled career in Norway. Since his teens he has been one of the most used session – and touring musicians in the country and has worked with countless artists and musicians in a variety of genres. Erik has also made a name beyond Norwegian borders as a lecturer and clinician for Yamaha. Erik is the recipient of the Norwegian Spellemann Prize (equivalent to a Grammy) and recently received an honorary professorship at one of China’s oldest universities.
About the music
The music is well within the genre of jazz-rock, with emphasis on compositions
signed Helbø, as well as Berg. The musical expression has influences like Mike Stern, Tribal Tech, Allan Holdsworth and Pat Metheny, but has also clear references to Terje Rypdal and Jon Eberson. In short, in the wide and deep span between John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix. The tonal language and harmonies are often drawn from the jazz traditions, while rhythm and aesthetics are found in the legacy of rock and funk music. At the core is a solid classic guitar tone, but electronic sound effects are used both obvious and subtle to create variety in the soundscape.
Erland Helbø says:
One of my main motivations for making this music and releasing it is simply to have
an own artistic “playground”. As a session guitarist, the main focus is to adapt to the
musical landscape you are in. In this music I do what I want and feel for.
Brynjulf Blix, April 2020