Solveig Slettahjell and the Ilmiliekki Quartet
We were at The Shed again last night, this time for a double bill:
The evening began with a group of young musicians from Helsinki, the Ilmiliekki Quartet, comprising trumpet, piano, bass and drums. Decidedly modern with a lot of jazz influences, but not disregarding other avant garde input from the likes of Björk and Radiohead. Original tunes from members of the band held a packed audience in a rapt silence. They finished their set with Ornette Coleman’s What Reason Could I Give played on the trumpet by Verneri Pohjola. He stuck the horn into the open Sony Grand and played softly with the harmonics.The Ilmiliekki Quartet must be one of Europe’s most exciting young quartets. We can’t wait for them to come back again.
The second half of the evening was with Solveig Slettahjell on vocals and piano and Sjur Miljeteig on trumpet. This Norwegian duo were much smoother and commercial than the Finns. Solveig Slettahjell has a pleasing voice and was brimming with an eclectic mix of influences from Janis Joplin to Eartha Kitt with a good dollop of gospel and country music thrown into the pot.
Solveig Slettahjell is one of Norway’s most celebrated jazz singers. Probably deservedly so, but part of me was still engaged with the first set of the evening, and it would have taken something a little more gutsy to drag me away.