Norwegian jazz export Marius Neset set to play The Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival

Marius Neset  the Norwegian virtuoso is playing Lancashire next month
Marius Neset the Norwegian virtuoso is playing Lancashire next month

This cold land, much of which lies in the Arctic Circle, has provided the latest Norwegian jazz export to the world, writes TONY DEWHURST.

Marius Neset was a remarkably gifted youth, who learned drums, guitar, bass guitar and piano before picking up a saxophone on his eighth birthday.

“I love being in the mountains, and silence is music as well,” said Marius from his base in Oslo, the Norwegian capital. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m from Norway I feel this.

“I grew up in a musical household, and that was the very precious gift my parents gave me.”

The release of his debut album – Golden Xplosion – saw Marius emerge as one of the most talked about newcomers on the European Jazz scene.

“Music is a lifelong thing, but the more I see and feel, the less I know,” he added as he prepares for a headline slot at next month’s Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival.

“My music is complex, but I also need to have that instinctive feel, too, and to be free in music.

“What’s very important is that you always try and find new ways of expressing yourself, constantly re-inventing your sound.”

Neset, in live performance, has the uncanny ability of making one saxophone sound like two or three.

One of the greatest formative experiences for Neset was working with English pianist Django Bates when he moved to Copenhagen to study at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory where Bates became his mentor.

“Sometimes you get that slice of fortune in life, and I was very lucky to be in Copenhagen at the same time as Django. I had always been a big fan of his music and it was a huge influence on me when I played in the big band with him.

“He had a lot of stuff going on in his music – it was amazing what he did with ideas.

“You can make music with a lot of different vibes.

“Now I love to have things moving around, a lot of colours, things changing all the time and I saw that in Django.”

- Marius Neset plays the The Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival, May 2-May 6.