This fully improvised album is reminiscent of Stephan Micus’s expansive and rich music Haftor Medboe (guitar and effects) and Konrad Wiszniewski (saxophones), is a jewel.

Norwegian-born, Edinburgh-based Medbøe is a ubiquitous presence on the Scottish jazz scene. Professor of Music at Edinburgh Napier University and founder of the Scottish Jazz Archive, he takes an interest in the cultural identity of jazz and runs his own label, Copperfly. As an active musician, he collaborates extensively with others, tours internationally and makes numerous recordings.

Here he is partnered with Konrad Wiszniewski, an award-winning saxophonist (including twice Best Instrumentalist at the Scottish Jazz Awards), he is an established member of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and, together with pianist Euan Stevenson, leads the classical and Scottish folk-inspired Orchestra Neuer Focus.

Poiesis is Greek for ‘an act or process of creation’ and its ten tracks are presented in order of creation. Sometimes poetic (Celestial Veil and The Soul Selects), sometimes obscure (Fortune’s Expensive Smile and Dances like a Bomb), the individual titles reflect the meditative atmosphere of the music.

In the opening track exordium (Latin for “introduction to a discourse or treatise”), Medbøe’s electric guitar develops a blanket of seemingly looped, altered sounds as the basis for the duo’s adventures. After that, this delicate weave of guitar textures gracefully underpins and interacts with Wiszniewski’s rich acoustic tones.

The saxophone flutters and levitates, sometimes with a meandering inertia, as in A bridge away And folds of the roadin others with great persistence, as in Molten Blue. Her leisurely dance induces a sense of great calm in the listener.

In fact, this ethereal, expansive and thoughtful album truly transports the listener to the zone the duo inhabits: careful mutual attention in a deep meditative space. In other words, this is improvisation at its finest.

Fiona Mactaggart – London Jazz News – February 2023


Poiesis est le résultat d’un après-midi d’improvisations entre deux musiciens qui ont admirablement conjugués leurs talents respectifs, sans rien avoir prémédité quoi que ce soit, donnant naissance à 13 titres à la quiétude apaisante.

Au contact l’un de l’autre, Haftor Medbøe (guitares, effets) et Konrad Wiszniewski (saxophone) ont su marier écoute et pratique instrumentale, enregsitrant un album à la croisée de l’ambient et du spiritual jazz, atmosphères en suspension où les notes de saxophone croisent les mélodies de guitares vaporeuses, truffées d’effets.

Poiesis n’est sans évoquer l’album de Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders, de par son minimalisme flottant et ses ambiance à la continuité majestueuse, narration aérienne gorgée de vibrations célestes et d’intensité à fleur de peau. A noter que tout a été enregistré en une seule prise sans overdubs ou pistes retouchées. Tout simplement Magnifique.

Roland Torres – Silence and Sound – February 2023


Poiesis is a mesmerizing improvisational musical journey that takes the listener on an ambient and ethereal adventure created by Haftor Medbøe on guitar/effects and Konrad Wiszniewski on saxophones. The album is collection of ten dialogues permeated by an unearthly sense of infinity and borderless astral energy.

What came out from the synergy between the two musicians is a balanced sonic experience in which each instrument finds its right place in time while leaving no room for overstated interventions. The result is not just organic in its essence but adventurous reaching the unexpected.

From mellow to majestic, going through meandrous melodic lines that reach the lyrical realm, the fusion between acoustic and electronics offers a singular and enthralling experience. It is also about the solidarity of human souls facing the mystery of the universe using the music as vehicle for meaningful expression.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it: “All life is an experiment”, a vision that both musicians embraced throughout their spiritual encounter fueled by individual creative freedom.

Stefan Bocioaca – JazzWorldQuest – February 2023


In 2019, the recorded output of Haftor Medbøe was incomparable.  Different ensembles and different sounds and different environments kept listeners on their toes and their expectations in check.  The gentle exhalation of a melody and deep dive into serene waters was just as likely to manifest as a combustible attitude and quick burn of rocket fuel.  We’ll be talking more about the guitarist’s 2019 output in an upcoming Year in Summary column, but in the context of the Best of 2019 list, no album better represents the quality of the work or the expanse of its range than the live performance recording Will of the People.  These four extended, fully improvised pieces are as riveting as anything to hit the shelves in 2019, and about as resounding an introduction as one is likely to get to Medbøe’s work.

Best of 2019 – Bird is the Word – February 2020


From the opening statement, the impact of free jazz and angry argumentation in fast exchanges sets the mood, which the title of the work hinted at. The outburst is soon followed by suspended tension. The anxious and frustrated expectancy of the unknown. A low sustained guitar drone on the edge of feedback lays the ground for a melodic bass clarinet line, and out of the original Zorn-ian chaos emerges a new form. Rhythms shuffle into place, angular guitar riffs have hardly settled they turn to unstable grounds and wobbly electronics that gradually dissolve into distant verb.

The trio is constantly building worlds that disappear from under your feet. This renders perfectly the political tone implied by the title. Underlying the tumultuous expectations and the chaotic discourses, there is a current of uncertainty. At times, a hint of light shines through. There may be hope in the distance and we encounter something to hold onto. Just a glimmer of melody heavy with sadness. Pensiveness.

The trio is working efficiently at creating a full sound with tonal and textural contents, creating moods that evolve naturally, organically, with great momentum, even at the slow pace of restrained energy – threatening to burst out at any point. And it does burst into a crescendo where all three throw fast delivery at each other. It feels like I’ve been on a roller-coaster… and it’s only the first track of the album. The end punctuated by audience applause, reminds the listener that this artefact was indeed a public performance.

Recorded live at the Reid Concert Hall in Edinburgh in May 2017, the improvisations have a real palpable atmosphere, where the shifting tableaux painted by the band are enriched by the resonance of the concert hall. The furious three – who are Haftor Medbøe (guitar and effects), Pete Furniss (clarinet and electronics) and Tom Bancroft (drums and percussion) – know well how to weave narratives that take you to places.

Don’t be mistaken by the theme that this is just a political statement of narrow emotional range. The trio demonstrate deep understanding of each other’s sound, and an ability to merge the textural and noise of certain schools of improvisation with more harmonic passages, full of feeling and depth. With WTOF we touch on el duende as guitar and bass clarinet gently duet Hispanic melodic lines.

By track four, the bass clarinet shifts gear once again and veers off into discursive mode with mouthy gestures and digital affectations. Haftor Medbøe’s guitar, the mood creating backbone of the trio retreats and leaves space for Pete Furniss to establish a thread. Slowly, Tom Bancroft’s clickety-clack takes note, and joins the fun.

No doubt this kind of improvisational music benefits from being heard live, but the recording at hand is a fair representation of the band’s unity of sound, and is bound to take the listener on an intrepid journey.

Hervé Perez – Jazz Views – November 2019

HAFTOR MEDBØE/JACOB KARLZON – Live at Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival 2019

Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon and Norwegian/Scottish guitarist Haftor Medboe, a music lecturer at Napier, met at a music festival on Islay in the early 2000s and decided then that they should work on a project together but it took 15 years to come to fruition.

Thank goodness it has. This gig on the final evening of what was another excellent and diverse Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, proved an absolute delight, the pair complementing and supporting each other in a masterclass of silky, hypnotic joy.

The melodies they conjure are breathtaking things of exquisite, beguiling majesty. While the interplay between the two suggests a chemistry crafted from decades of playing together this was only their third gig.
It doesn’t seem right somehow, that such beauty can be created right before your eyes. Yet there was also a tangible energy that was uplifting and exciting.

The hour or so of music largely came from the duo’s recently released, eponymously-titled and self-written four-track EP. Waiting and Tranquil were particular highlights, showcasing some lovely, lilting playing, both in solo and communal settings.

The musicianship was often absolutely sublime. Karlzon, clearly reveling in his role, teased out a stream of intricate, richly layered, often jaunty ideas, into the mix with all the heft of the seasoned professional he is, while Medboe contributed his own deft, mercurial touch to the mélange. Seldom have guitar and piano been in such harmony, bringing to mind the great Metheny / Mays partnership.

Guest vocalist Jessie Bates added another dimension to the direction of the music, whilst helping to define, in words, what this gig was all about, with an utterly sumptuous, stunning rendering of another original piece, Happiness Shines.

It was a privilege to be in the intimate, yet packed Teviot Row venue – and it’s to be hoped that it won’t take another 15 years before we get to hear more of this gorgeous music.

Allan Boughey – ENRG Music & Arts – July 2019

HAFTOR MEDBØE/JACOB KARLZON – Live at Glasgow Jazz Festival 2019

IT WAS a gentle start for some to Glasgow’s annual jazz fiesta this year, as Norwegian-Scottish guitarist Haftor Medbøe and Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon revived the dreamy fruits of a long-gestating collaboration at this opening night concert.

First hatched not in Scandinavia but at the Islay Jazz Festival 15 years ago – “back when Jacob still drank,” joked Medbøe – the project was only premiered live last year in Edinburgh, and has more recently born a self-titled debut album.

Drawing on their shared roots and influences, echoing the Scandi-jazz tradition of pianists such as Jan Johansson, Esbjorn Svensson and Tord Gustavsen, yet with a melodic and icily reflective contemporary 
sensibility that touches at a distance on the ambient atmospheres of Ólafur Arnalds and Jóhann Jóhannsson, their expansive and playfully detailed soundscapes filled the corners of the bright, airy City Halls Recital Room.

While principally a showcase of tidy composition, there was a conversational feel to the performance too, with the pair breaking out into smiles as they tossed little motifs back and forth. Medbøe’s inventive playing – both leaving space for Karlzon with effects – embellished volume pedal swells and filling it with fluttering fretboard runs – went next level when he pulled out a bow and started conjuring authentically cello-like drones during the stormy Hope, a tune in a Far Eastern mode that could probably have veered off into Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir if it had felt like it.

A pair of songs with vocalist Jessie Bates brought a welcome focal point to an evening of otherwise long-form instrumentals – one a disarmingly sweet original titled Happiness, the other a spirited cover of Swedish singer-songwriter Stina Nordenstam’s Everyone Else in the World.

MALCOLM JACK – The Scotsman – June 2019


Den skotske jazzguitarist Haftor Medbøe med de dansk/norske aner har lavet en plade baseret på melodierne til sønderjyske Martin N. Hansens digte. Medbøes danske aner er rundet af den alsiske muld ellers havde Haftor Medbøe næppe opdaget eller forstået digteren Martin N. Hansens digte og viser, der skrives og synges på alsisk.
Den nordiske jazztone står Haftor Medbøes hjerte meget nær, hvilket han bla. har bevist på den nylige udgivelse sammen med den svenske pianist Jakob Karlzon og tidligere på et album sammen med Espen Eriksen og Gunnar Halle.
Den norske trompetist Gunnar Halle er med på den nye plade, sammen med den NHØP-skolede danske bassist Eva Malling, som Medbøe har samarbejdet med flere gange før.
Musikken er udgivet på en 10” vinyl, hvor melodierne præsenteres i korte og kompakte versioner. Det er imponerende så intenst som Haftor Medbøe rækker ud og samler. Det er opløftende, når trioen spiller Folk der kam ind ad e bagdør. Halles beroligende og let støvede trompet finder ubesværet sammen med Medbøes minimalistiske og letflydende guitar, mens Eva Malling holder time. Sådan fortsætter de henover pladens ni skæringer. Det er meditativ og sanselig jazz. Det bølger frem i mødet mellem den alsiske nationaldigter og en kompromisløs jazztrio. De har lavet en stærkt anbefalelsesværdig plade, til jazzlyttere der ikke kan få nok af nordisk jazz, særligt af den type der rykker lidt ved konventionerne.
Niels Overgård – Jazz og Vinyl – June 2019


Den norsk-fødte guitarist og komponist Haftor Medbøe er bosat i Edinburgh, Skotland. På dette mini-album med fire egenkompositioner (‘Hope’, ‘Waiting’, Tranquil’ og ‘Return) spiller han sammen med den svenske pianist Jacob Karlzon. Mht. til studie- og albumindspilning er der tale om et parløb der har taget tilløb i 15 år.

Samarbejdet om det aktuelle materiale blev lanceret ved Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival i 2018 og har affødt et selvbetitlet album der kun er tilgængeligt på 10″ limited edition (250 eksemplarer) vinyl.

Stilen befinder sig i fællesmængden mellem neo-classical, nordisk folkevise-tradition og filmmusik. Der er tale om melodisk båret, beroligende og balsamerende instrumentalmusik der maner til lytning. Tindrende smuk, beåndet og eftertænksom musik.

Med besætningen Haftor Medbøe (guitar), ligeledes norske Gunnar Halle (trompet/stemme) og danske Eva Malling (kontrabas) præsenteres sange of den danske poet Martin Nicolai Hansen (1893-1976) der bl.a slog sit navn fast med digte på alsisk dvs. sønderjysk dialekt, som et fåtal af danskere kan forstå. Deraf den spøjse albumtitel plus yderligere otte kompositioner.

Vi er ude i en nichepræget produktion der pga stort engagement og passion fra ovennævnte trio lykkes til fulde. Men hvis jeg skal fremhæve en musiker må det være trompetisten Gunnar Halle der sætter sit prominente personlige præg på repertoiret med en distinkt, dragende og drømmende lyd.

Lyt eksempelvis til nummeret ‘Folk Der Kam Ind Ad E Bagdör’ i Sound Cloud:…/folk-der-kam-ind-ad-e-bagdor

Begge udgivelser fortjener:
***** (5 ud af 5 stjerner)

Martin Loft – LoftsKammer – June 2019


Haftor Medbøe, Gunnar Halle, Eva Malling / Hvor En Var Baen – Inspired by the poems of Danish writer Martin N. Hansen, the trio of guitarist Medbøe, trumpeter Halle and bass player Malling have created a wonderful album of beautiful melodies and soundscapes. This gorgeous album is a 9-track limited edition on hand-numbered 10“vinyl available via and so is Haftor Medbøe, Jacob Karlzon – a touching piano / guitar duo recording of excellent compositions. The performances by guitarist Medbøe and pianist Karlzon confirm very close musical minds, which give each other space to play, without losing focus on the essence of the songs. Intimate and captivating .. as if time stands still when listening. Exceptional! This EP has four incredible instrumental tracks and the download has a bonus track with vocalist Jessie Bates … the track is called ‘Happiness’ and that’s exactly what it is .. happiness in sound. Extremely well done!

All That Jazz – Wulf Muller – June 2019


Atmospheric instrumental album ‘Hvor En Var Baen’ by Medbøe/Halle/Malling is solemn Folk presented in a contemporary Jazz trio setting by Norwegian electric guitarist Haftor Medbøe, Danish double bassist Eva Malling and Norwegian trumpeter Gunnar Halle.

The songs are new interpretations of music which were put to the words of Danish poet Martin N Hansen in the early part of the 20th century. Though Hansen’s poetry is little known in the English-speaking world, it has been described as nostalgic and bucolic, inspired by a great love for the rural Danish island of Als where he lived.

On ‘Æ Nynner En Vis’ Haftor delicately swells his guitar volume to mimic the bowing of a fiddle player, his every note deliberated and with the lack of percussion the music creates a sense of freedom and innocence.

Halle’s breathy trumpet on the dream-like track ‘Hvor En Var Baen’ is superb and feels primal and transcendental. Effects are gently incorporated to add other-worldly reverb and unusual oscillations which steadily bring the sound into focus.

Like sketches or movements from a classical suite, the tunes are brief while encapsulating some spirited melodies which are played with sensitivity and restraint. With none surpassing four minutes, the pieces don’t over-stay their welcome. ‘Jeg Går I Grønne Enge’ feels ancient like a cautionary folk tale with a lyrical melody not too dissimilar to our very own folksong: ‘Greensleeves’.

The song forms are varied in rigidity, some like ‘Pær Kresjen’ has the trio playing off each other in something closer to Free Jazz, while the same clarity and balance – as on more conservative tunes – remains intact.

When Eva’s unassuming bass comes into the fore during ‘Madeleine’, it’s a welcome – if a little fleeting- interlude from the languid guitar and trumpet. It would have been nice to have some more opportunities to hear Eva’s playing to give more shades and greater contrasting shifts in dynamics, as what we do hear from her is stylistically more direct.

‘Som Sang I Juninætter’ centres upon the guitar of Haftor which is beautifully harmonised and arranged, suggesting the influence of maestro Bill Frisell. Like the album as a whole, this pensive track feels personal and human, an act of meditation for artist and listener alike.

Fred Neighbour – UK VIBE – June 2019


There is a real sense of the here and now on this session. A timeless beauty intertwines the guitar and piano and one gets the impression that both musicians were very much ‘in the moment’ when recording. The connection between the two musicians is musically tight and spiritually engaging. The music is beautiful, free-flowing like a river that gently journeys its way through time, meditative and contemplative yet still bubbling up with emotion and adventure. There are strong echoes of the Scandinavian jazz tradition as embodied by pianists Jan Johansson and Esbjörn Svensson, together with elements of European folk and jazz music.

It is, however, an American pairing that springs to mind when listening to this record; Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. Anyone familiar with their early ECM outings will undoubtedly appreciate the subtle phrasing and nuances of the guitar and piano duo. Medbøe and Karlzon share that special space, with the strength of the compositions matched by their performances here.

The first tune, “Hope”, is melancholic and yet ultimately uplifting. Like a summer breeze washing away the cobwebs, the mood is thoughtful and the expressionistic music very engaging. Immediately one can hear the balance and understanding between the two musicians, with the guitar and piano at times performing in unison, and at other times heading off in different directions. But it’s always in a thoughtful and complimentary way. “Waiting” is a simply gorgeous piece of music, with piano and guitar sharing an achingly beautiful vibe, very akin to Metheny and Mays on classic collaborative tracks like “September Fifteenth”. The interplay is stunningly exquisite. It’s not just the mood and gentle adventure that impresses, it’s the sense of place and understanding that allows each musician to carve their own paths within the tune itself, making for a mesmerising listen. The contemplative mood continues with the beguiling “Tranquil”, a piece that takes its time, slowly telling its own story. The duo take the listener on an enchanted journey, with a quiet introspection releasing itself in the form of wonderful melody and improvisation. “Return” enjoys a quicker tempo, with the melodic nature of the tune captured in a spinning web by the two musicians. If Jim Hall And Brad Mehldau had ever got together to record, this could possibly be how they might have sounded, the expressive, tuneful nature of this piece burning brightly.

Mike Gates – UK VIBE – June 2019


It’s rare you get such a gift to the ears as this well crafted album from these two excellent musicians. Guitarist Haftor Medboe and pianist Jacob Karlzon have truly crafted a masterwork. As from the opening track “Hope”, which is like a cool breeze on a hot summer night and flows perfectly into the next track “Waiting”, which is a perfect display of the skill these two gifted musicians so easily possess. Rounding it all out is the closing track “Return”, which is perfection to the ears, this album is certainly a must for any true jazz fan. A brilliant display of everything done right and an album I highly recommend.

John Patrick Robbins – Sea of Tranquility – April 2019


A spiritual dialogue between two well established musicians whose creative encounter resulted in a set of five original songs infused with melodic crystal purity with roots in the Scandinavian rich musical landscape, where tradition and modernity, national and foreign blend together in original masterpieces. Often guitar and piano become a single voice moving from lyrical to abstract with spontaneity in new and surprising ways, while at times they echo each other or shine in short solos of great beauty. Powered by an undeniable artistic connection, the sonic conversation flows freely over space and time reaching a shared poetic territory naturally constructed, yet preserving the beauty and energy of each instrument. Beyond the artistic chemistry of these like-minded spirits, the listener will discover with enchantment the quest for perfection in simplicity and essence of expression subliminally emerging from every song of the album.

Stefan Bocioaca – Jazz World Quest – April 2019


The interplay between the two musicians is intimate and tightly focussed as epitomised by the opening “Hope”. Like much of the rest of the recording the mood of the piece is reflective and slightly melancholic, typically ‘Nordic’ if you will. Medboe and Karlzon pick out complementary melodic phrases, dovetailing gently. Nothing sounds forced or hurried, the mood of intimate conversation prevailing throughout, even when the sounds of strings and keys are enhanced with the subtlest soupçon of electronica, presumably courtesy of the guitarist’s FX pedals.

“Waiting” exhibits similar characteristics, continuing the air of gentle reflection as the pair again exchange melodic ideas, maintaining the mood established by the opener. There are some gorgeous melodic phrases here, occasionally reminiscent of Pat Metheny in his most intimate and reflective moments.

Flipping the ten inch disc we hear “Tranquil”, a title that neatly summarises the EP as whole. An air of zen like serenity infuses all the performances here, and none more so than on this piece, which gently glides past in the manner of petals drifting in a stream. The rounded warmth of Medboe’s guitar phrases contrasts well with Karlzon’s sparse chordal accompaniment and subtly glacial lead lines.

The closing “Return” finds the duo in a more effusive and expansive mood as they close this otherwise reflective recording on more of an upbeat note. The air of intimacy remains but there’s an essential air of joyousness about this final performance with Medboe’s tone again warm and conversational, but with a lithe inventiveness that is complemented by Karlzon’s free flowing piano solo, his most joyful and unfettered excursion of the set.

This duo project is scheduled to tour in the UK and Scandinavia later in 2019 and into 2020. One suspects that in live performance these intimate duets will acquire even greater depths of intimacy and nuance. Medboe and Karlzon have established an intimate, ego-less rapport that will be even more tangible in person than on disc, as admirable as this recording is. Something to look forward to.

Ian Mann – Jazz Mann – April 2019


The Norwegian born guitarist, Haftor Medbøe has been a Scottish resident for many years, and a full-time lecturer at Edinburgh Napier since 2009, and despite a heavy work schedule with the University he has still found time to write, perform and record with a substantial discography as leader. From his numerous encounters over the years with musicians from across Europe and beyond, he has established some strong musical connections and these are now bearing fruit in a series of planned vinyl releases, of which this superb mini album is the first (there is another album scheduled for release in June).

This initial vinyl release on the Copperfly Records label features the guitarist in four stunning duets with Swedish pianist, Jacob Karlzon. Karlzon also has his own burgeoning career with own trio along with work with artists Silje Nergaard, Nils Landgren and Viktoria Tolstoy, and it is to our good fortune that the two musicians have been able get together to record the music presented here.

The emphasis is very much on melody, and if these are appear simply and quietly stated then think again. Delicate in the main they may be but the thought that has gone into the arrangements, and the empathy in which they are played speaks volumes. Side A opens with ‘Hope’ that has the melody played beautifully by Haftor, with gentle and uplifting accompaniment from Karlzon. The guitarist keeps the original theme very much in mind during his solo, that never loses focus and this is picked up and continued by the pianist. This feeling is similarly felt in the following ‘Waiting’ that has another fine solo from Medbøe, with Karlzon stretching out a little further in his contribution, with an expansive and more exploratory nature.

If the first two pieces could be construed as anticipatory, the hope and patience in waiting for things to come, then Side B expresses relief and joy when the wait may be over, with ‘Tranquil’ bringing a peaceful and heartfelt release. Both guitar and piano are allowed to savour the beauty of the music with every note, nuance and silence allowed to speak. The closing track ‘Return’ is a joyous celebratory piece, that suggests the return in question is most welcome and again the guitar and piano blend seamlessly to convey their message.

It is both inevitable and right that the music has traces of both Nordic and Scandinavian jazz traditions, and rather than let the weight of what has gone before hold back the flow of the music, the duo look forward and extend our perceptions of the music of their Homeland. Duet recordings may be plentiful in supply, but there are few that are as compelling as this, and if there is only space in your collection for one more then it really should be this one.

Nick Lea – Jazz Views  – April 2019


For 15 år siden mødtes den skotske guitarist Haftor Medbøe med den svenske pianist Jacob Karlzon til Islay Jazz festival på de skotske Hebrider. Et venskab blev indledt og sidste år spillede de så endelig sammen til Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Det har desuden udløst denne eksklusive 10”vinyl med fire numre og lidt ekstra i det digitale download. Medbøe har ofte hentet inspiration i den nordiske jazz, hvor pianister som Jan Johansson, Esbjörn Svensson og Tord Gustavsen har sat deres tydelige fodspor. Han har også tidligere lavet en plade sammen med den norske pianist Espen Eriksen.

Der sker noget med Haftor Medbøes musik i selskab med svenskeren Karlzon som vi kender så godt i Danmark, bl.a. i kraft af det mangeårige samarbejde med bassisten Morten Ramsbøl. Hvor der tidligere har været en flydende og næsten transparent stemning i Medbøes musik, så er der kommet en anden og mere grundfæstet ro i musikken. Det er beroligende jazz af den smukkeste slags. Der hvor tiden står stille. Der hvor nat og dag smelter sammen. Det sidste nummer Return er med til at sende lytteren afsted på en behagelig tur. Er du til nordisk jazz? Så er dennne skotsk/svenske duo et godt og anderledes bud.

Niels Overgård – Jazznyt  – April 2019


In keeping with our name – and love for the 10” vinyl format – Elsewhere is pleased to point readers to this very pleasant limited-edition hand-numbered 10” vinyl (with a digital download which includes an extra track) by this guitar and piano duo.

Norwegian/Scottish guitarist Haftor Medbøe and Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon met 15 years ago at the Islay Jazz Festival in the Hebrides 15 years ago but the long-projected collaboration didn’t come about until last year and these works were premiered at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.

Given their backgrounds – Medbøe having recorded with various Norwegian artists and now a jazz musician in residence and associate professor at Edinburgh’s Napier University; Kalzlon equally accomplished and having played with Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler and Billy Cobham among others – it will be no surprise to learn that these are four meditative, spacious and quiet duets.

But the emotional coolness of much austere Scandinavian and European jazz isn’t evident in these more romantically inclined pieces with telling titles: Waiting, Hope, Tranquil and Return.

Tranquil at the midpoint is elegantly spare to the point of delicious evaporation, but behind Medbøe’s almost pointillistic and fluid playing Karlzon’s piano lays out a delightfully slow and stately backdrop. The melody is so effortless it begs for lyrics to evoke pastoral reflection.

Return begins slightly more flighty and upbeat to fulfill the promise of its title and then really gets joyful.

Graham Reid – Elsewhere  – April 2019


Guitarist Haftor Medbøe, pianist Espen Eriksen and trumpeter Gunnar Halle brought the panoramic sublimity of their album The Space Between into the pin-drop live space of St Ann’s Church; and having explored their atmospheric Nordic sounds since first convening as a trio at the 2013 Edinburgh Jazz Festival, its clear their musical conversations now flow as freely as ever. Eriksen and Halle had jetted in from Oslo to be there.

The ‘spaces between’ truly are an equal part of the often heart-tugging, impressionistic strength they communicate – and in this environment, Halle’s trumpet especially soared up into the heights. Espen Eriksen’s sustained piano detailing was exquisite as he visibly seized upon improvisational cues from Medbøe and Halle in numbers such as East Pier, Bell Rock and Utsira High. Often it was a single, plaintive instrumental line creating fragile suspension which, from the audience’s perspective, held the breath; and the trio’s ability to then fold in to summon new textures was so reverently executed – no sense of jarring or abrupt transition. Halle’s subtle use of electronics and his own voice or breath through the mouthpiece created endless possibilities, imbuing these soundscapes with homely warmth or icy bleakness; and Medbøe’s shift from soft guitar textures to harder-edged though subtle rock announced brighter, jazz animation throughout the trio.

An hour of pulse-lowering, ethereal beauty.

Adrian Pallant – London Jazz News – June 2017


Det er kun den forblæste Nordsø der er imellem Norge og Skotland. Et hav som ikke er kendt for et roligt temperament, snarere tværtimod. Der er stiv kuling, hvor sydvesten skal trækkes godt ned over ørerne og bindes fast under hagen. Et møde mellem en musiker der bor i Skotland og to musikere fra Norge kunne godt forventes at lyde anderledes end det er tilfældet med The Space Between. Det er et album med guitaristen Haftor Medbøe – der bor i Skotland, pianisten Espen Eriksen og trompetisten Gunnar Halle, der begge bor i Norge.

Det er ambient jazz. Flydende toner der er med til at skabe billeder og stemninger. Det er også ydmyg musik, der opstår i øjeblikket. Jazz der tager sig tid og ro til at vokse frem mellem de tre musikere. Det er Haftor Medbøe der har skrevet al musikken. Han er gerne i en tilbagetrukket rolle, hvor han skaber det grundlag som musikken kan stå på. Espen Eriksen som bl.a. kendes fra sin egen trio er i et velkendt farvand. Det er rolig jazz, hvor han er hjemme og har det godt. Gunnar Halle, der på sit eget soloalbum Istanbul Sky brugte en del elektronik, har et mere rent og klart udtryk på Medbøes plade. Der hersker en kammermusikalsk stemning med underliggende lumskheder.

Titlerne på numrene; East Pier, Utsira High og Skagerrak sender os på havet. Pladens sidste titel More Viking Than You er en skøn lille afstikker, hvor Eriksen spiller harmonium. En god finale på et album der er rigtigt godt selskab. Er du til nordisk jazz, så er det her et forfriskende pust fra Nordsøen.

Niels Overgård – Jazznyt – June 2016


Includes no bass, no drums, but it is a trio album… It is so Nordic that you can notice this signature only by hearing some seconds from the album without looking at the cover. Born in Norway but living currently in Scotland, the guitar player Haftor Mødboe collaborates with two famous other Norwegian musicians in this album: Espen Eriksen on piano (and harmonium) and Gunnar Halle on trumpet (and voice). Mødboe is a known figure in UK jazz scene and he is actually on the academic side of the jazz music too. Espen Eriksen and his trio are among internationally active stars of the Norway and Gunnar Halle is one of the most visible trumpeter of Nordic scene with an amazing discography. This extraordinary trio recorded The Space Between in Castlesound Studio just after their first concert in Edinburgh Jazz Festival in 2015. Being the composer of all pieces, Haftor Mødboe chooses to be just a part of the trio, instead of the leader in the album. More than this, he usually prefers to stay in the background except some parts in some pieces. The absence of explicit percussion seems to have created a clean and vast area for all these musicians of nuances. Even the compositions are catchy, I can easily say that the power of the album resides at the style it is played rather than what is played. All instants and movements, the highs and lows… They are all almost visible rather than audible thanks to musicians’ concentrated performances.

With some transistor radio sounds and first riffs of the piano, the guitar starts to present the nice main theme of the East Pier, which can give a good idea about the overall feeling of the album. The following trumpet line is very touchy and controlled. Espen Eriksen’s solo is also very promising for the rest of the album. This is certainly one of the best performances of the album and it catches the audience right from the heart in the beginning.

With the piano and the guitar on the rhythm line, the introduction part of the Bell Rock is like a playground for the the trumpet. The body between 2:00 and 4:00, where trumpet is increasing the tension with upper registers and improvising collaboratively with the piano, is impressive. Gunnar Halle’s unique tone needs attention too. The breathful-sound creates a very organic texture for the whole ambiance.

The main theme of Utsira High feels like the soundtrack of an independent film, which is about a man living with an endless nostalgia. The voice by Gunnar Halle appears right when the guitar starts a solo part and then Espen Eriksen’s piano tells its idea about the main theme.

Forty Mile Ground starts with a minimal duo performance of piano and trumpet. The guitar slowly touches to the sound just before a beautiful solo of Espen Eriksen. The trumpet is then accompanied by some electric guitar and piano. Gunnar Halle is really good at controlling the tension with slow changes in trumpet’s sound and level of lyricism.

Bass line piano is followed by main storyteller guitar and trumpet in the first part of Skagerrak. Then the roles are exchanged and the guitar and trumpet start to create a mystic background for a short solo performance of the piano, followed by trumpet accompaniment. There is also an interesting three-sided conversation part through the end.

A paralel line between the piano the guitar is accompanied by a deep effect-carrying voice – probably from Gunnar Halle in Fladen. The acoustic guitar performance of Haftor Mødboe is like something above all Nordic characteristics of the whole album. The reverberant vocal performance in the background is really beautiful.

The touchy trumpet tone of Gunnar Halle over Espen Eriksen’s harmonium creates a wonderful introduction for the last piece of the album, More Viking Than You. Harmonium creates a heavenly sound as if a church organ is on the stage. The melancholic aura leaves the listener in a state where nothing is resolved or resulted into anything at the end of the album.

The record quality is at top notch. The localisations of the instruments on the stage and resolution supplied for each individual are all impressive. Especially the trumpet sound is very detailed. The recording and mastering is made by Garry Boyle. Mixing and production belongs to Graham Coe. The label of the album is Losen Records.

Fatih Erkan – Faith in Music – March 2016


With cover art suggesting a connection across a vast, oceanic expanse, trio release The Space Between brings together the artistic, atmospheric sublimeness of Norwegian-born Haftor Medbøe (guitars), Espen Eriksen (piano, harmonium) and Gunnar Halle (trumpet, voice) in a partnership forged from an extended line-up at the 2013 Edinburgh Jazz Festival.

Resident in Scotland, Medbøe is active on the UK jazz scene, and also jazz musician in residence at Edinburgh Napier University; Eriksen and Halle, too, enjoy established international careers in their own right, as well as recording together as a duo. Created this side of the North Sea, with support from Creative Scotland, here is an album whose varied, often surprising timbres and landscapes fire the imagination with homely warmth, icy bleakness and, above all, an affecting beauty.

Flecked with subtle electronics and hinting at other sound worlds (Arve Henriksen, Harmen Fraanje, Eivind Aarset, even Björk might be sensed), it remains very much its own music, full of adventure, melodic interest… and frequently an underlying element of theatrical mystery. East Pier’s descending, limpid melancholy captures the open spirit of Medbøe’s seven compositions, each player’s exquisite improvisations emanating from shifting, effected mists; and Bell Rock’s catchy, muted piano motif provides its attractive pop groove, rising and falling to piano grandeur and breathy trumpet (with an impressive electronic power-down at one stage).

A plaintive Mediterranean feel to Utsira High (Halle’s tone not dissimilar to Paolo Fresu) is tempered by mellow guitar, piano and distantly echoed vocal; and breezy, blue-sky Forty Mile Ground possesses memorable trumpet and electric guitar melodies ingeniously seared by electronics. Far away from purely ambient soundscapes, it’s the detail which is pivotal to this recording, Skagerrak’s feel-good shaped from Eriksen’s countryfied piano, Halle’s layered, muted trumpet (plus wordless vocals) and Medbøe’s gritty guitar sustenance.

Fladen’s delicacy is characterised by fluent classical guitar improvisation, once again with many, changing musical confluences to enjoy; and curiously-titled closing number More Viking Than You wheezes forlornly to mechanical harmonium chords and disembodied trumpet harmonics – an otherworldly, European-folk-vocalised anthem (redolent of the work of tubist Daniel Hersekdal) visualising cold, azure-graduated panoramas.

Between them, Medbøe, Eriksen and Halle vividly convey the ebb and flow of natural elements through the carefully crafted spaciality of their music – and I find it captivating.

Adrian Pallant – London Jazz News – March 2016


This is the debut album by a trio of Norwegian musicians: guitarist / composer Haftor Medboe (who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland), pianist Espen Eriksen and trumpeter Gunnar Halle. This trio is a sized-down version of a quintet, which features these musicians as well and which released a live album recently. This album presents seven original compositions, all by Medboe. The music was recorded at the renowned Castlesound Studios near Edinburgh and the resulting sound quality is spectacular.

The music is strikingly melodic, with a clear emphasis on the beauty of melody and harmony, the two most basic elements of music, that strangely are almost completely absent from what is considered as music these days. Its relationship with Jazz is very subtle, more hinted that actually present up front. Although the parts are partly improvised, but the improvisation never actually leaves the basic melody from sight and leaves the motifs plainly audible.

Although the music was composed by Medboe, his part in its performance is relatively limited. Most of the time the music is carried by the piano / trumpet duo, with the guitar, often heavily synthesized, enters for a brief statement or solo and then stays well in the background if at all present. This of course is by no means accidental and is obviously a part of the entire concept. The album’s title is therefore completely appropriate in relation to its contents.

Few people realize of course, that playing very melodic and seemingly uncomplicated music and make it fascinating is infinitely more difficult than playing fierce displays of neck-breaking pseudo virtuosity. These musicians are simply masters of the “cool”, where less means more and nothing is played which does not organically belong to the music.

Obviously this music sounds Scandinavian, or even Nordic. The contemplative, melancholic and lyrical statements put forward by these musicians are inevitably a part of their collective consciousness, but the ability to be able to connect to this amazing music by people from outside their native Culture, means that they have the gift of making it completely universal.

Overall this album if full of majestic, deeply moving music, which resonances in the listener’s mind for a long time after silence takes over. The minimalism, elegance, panache and yes, amazing talent of these musicians are a blessing in a world in which our species are losing the Titanic struggle for humanity. Thank you all for this gift of music!

Adam Baruch – The Soundtrack Of My Life – February 2016



Peaceful, and dramatic contemporary jazz by Norwegian trio. Beautiful and transparent notes on the Piano. Subtone from the trumpet, powerful. Mysterious guitar. Melancholic melodies. Very ECM-type sound, as you might notice. I know nothing about who they are but the sound they create is a sort of “Not very severe ECM.” Very Nordic, the melody is nostalgic, in a way. The piano plays the beautiful code. The sound echoes through the space. The trumpet intersperses its loneliness, with occasional passion. The guitar and the voice add a colourful touch. Ballads drifts almost all the way. Nordic melancholy, and nostalgia.

Jazz Syndicate – January 2016


Norwegian guitarist Haftor Medbøe has been a low-key fixture of Edinburgh’s jazz scene for some years now, having released seven albums in various guises and with different collaborators over the last decade. These include Places and Spaces, recorded in 2012 with a quartet including Anneke Kampman, vocalist with spectral electronicists, Conquering Animal Sound. This latest outing sees Medbøe lead a trio with pianist Espen Eriksen and trumpeter Gunnar Halle. Both of Medbøe’s countrymen come with an impressive international pedigree as band-leaders and side-men on a host of recordings. This makes for a crisp and starkly melodic alliance in a set of seven original pieces. Composed by Medbøe with the distance exile brings, each one taps into his Nordic roots with an ornate chamber jazz that leaves plenty of space to contemplate the view.

Recorded the day after the trio’s live appearance at the 2015 Edinburgh Jazz Festival, the album ebbs and flows from the woozy melancholy of the opening East Pier, onwards to the outer reaches of Bell Rock and beyond. Each instrument treads softly, sketching in the impressionistic colours of a desolate but never barren landscape as they go.

For the final track, the tellingly named More Viking Than You, Eriksen adds a moody harmonium to a work that sees Halle’s trumpet augmented by his keening, high-pitched voice. In its final flourishes, The Space Between seems to reach out across the waves to lost ancient frontiers that harken the music bravely back from the ether.

Neil Cooper – Product Magazine – January 2016


The space of the title is the North Sea first and foremost, that water between Norway where guitarist Haftor Medbøe, pianist Espen Eriksen and trumpeter Gunnar Halle come from, and Scotland where Medbøe now lives, where they first played together and where this album was recorded. The space between is also the clear air between the players and the activity area of their interaction. Their contributions to it are fuelled not only by themes reminiscent of the traditional music of both Scotland and Norway, but also by an air of adventurousness and experimentality. And they still leave room for the music to breathe and space for the listener to draw their own conclusions. Mostly gentle and almost pretty, sometimes not. But always fresh.

Peter Bacon – The Jazz Breakfast – January 2016


Ce trio acoustique réunit des musiciens venus du nord qui pratiquent un jazz moderne. Trompette, piano et guitare : nous voilà dans les fjords avec le son unique de “Bell Rock”. L’opus devient aérien avec le titre “Skagerrak” quand Hafter Medboe s’envole à la guitare, remarquable pour sa fluidité et sa maitrise de la sonorité.

Cet album est un florilège intéressant d’une musique souple, innervée et sensuelle qui capte instantanément l’attention. Haftor Medboe agit en variateur sagace de la température du groupe, toujours là pour souligner, exalter, attiser, redessiner les courbes, les éclats mélodico-rythmiques du piano, de l’harmonium, de la trompette et de la voix. Parfois les tons sont graves et rien moins que traditionnels, introduisant une polytonalité, une énonciation et une coexistence puisant dans les origines d’une modernité puissante.

La technique de Haftor lui permet de jouer ce qu’il veut comme il le veut ; chaque note s’imprègne de tout son sens et de son esprit. On remarquera que dans la plupart de ses phrasés, l’art du modelage sonore habille un sens harmonique très développé. L’album est riche d’un apprentissage classique et contemporain qui, ne trouble en rien un jeu de jazz de classe, cristallisant un instant sonore précieux sur sa manière d’aborder et d’incarner sa musique.

La musique proposée dans “The Space Between”, est construite sur des mélodies à l’apparente simplicité, des rythmes souvent complexes, binaires, sinueux, véhéments, recherchant constamment le timbre et la sonorité. Ainsi « Fladen », beau thème que la guitare de Haftor semble effleurer, caresser. Le groupe crée des matières sonores qu’il sculpte à sa guise pour créer une trame aérienne où vont se greffer les différents espaces acoustiques parfaitement maîtrisés.

Un voyage musical, onirique et élégant. Remarquable.


This acoustic trio reunites modern jazz musicians from Scandinavia. Trumpet, piano and guitar: the unique sound of ‘Bell Rock’ makes you dream of fjords. On the track, “Skagerrak” the opus becomes airy as if Haftor was flying away with his guitar, the musician has a remarkable fluidity and he has a deep understanding for the composition of sound.

This album is an interesting compendium of subtle, sensual and innervate music that instantly grabs your attention. Haftor Medboe has an astute understanding of the band’s temperature. Sometimes the tones are deep, serious, and nothing less than traditional, whilst at the same time introducing a modern polytonality and enunciation.

Haftor’s technique allows him to play what he likes when he likes it; each note instills meaning and spirit. We note also an exceptional way of modelling the sound. The album is rich, highlighting a classical and contemporary training, which does not disturb a magnificent jazz game. Haftor manages to crystallise a precious moment of sound in the way he approaches and embodies the music.

The music presented on the track ‘The Space Between’ is built on what appear to be simple melodies, however it offers complex rhythms: binary, meandering and strident aiming for richness of tone. Thus, ‘Fladen’, a beautiful theme that Haftor’s guitar seems to be touching, caressing. The band is able to sculpt sound out of the air and acoustic spaces are brilliantly controlled.

A music journey, dreamlike and elegant. Remarkable.

Ruby Flower – Mediapart – January 2016


Haftor Medbøe, Espen Eriksen og Gunnar Halle take us on a beautiful and pensive journey.

You would have to know the Norwegian jazz scene extremely well to know who Haftor Medbøe is, and what he has been up to. The fact is that the guitarist, composer and bandleader, who was born and raised in Lærdal county, many years ago went to Scotland, of all places, to become a jazz musician. And that is very definitely what he has become, but he has also become more or less Scottish, and still lives and works in Edinburgh.

Around two years ago he met pianist Espen Eriksen and trumpeter Gunnar Halle in a larger band put together for Edinburgh Jazz Festival. The chemistry was both significant and immediate, and the three of them decided to proceed in a smaller constellation.

No sooner said than done, the three meet here with seven pieces written by Medbøe. The pieces were recorded in Scotland this summer after they had played an enthusiastically received gig at the same festival as two years ago.

What we are served is somber chamber-jazz of the highest quality. Medbøe is clearly a melodist of rank and in such a landscape it would be difficult to find two better travel companions than Eriksen and Halle. We get to know three lyricists who both individually and collectively have a lot to say. The three never get in each others’ way, showing us that they are first and foremost listeners – listeners who create beautiful music, beautiful space and beautiful stillness.

As Miles Davis said in his time, the most important music was that which is left unplayed. Medbøe, Eriksen and Halle have clearly taken this to heart, but, my goodness, how important and beautiful the music they actually play is as well.

Peace has descended – Christmas can come! But, that said, this music is also guaranteed to worth throughout the year and any self respecting promoter should invite Haftor Medbøe home again – ideally with this trio – as soon as possible.

Tor Hammerø – December 2015 (translated from Norwegian – original article available HERE)


Eit radiointervju på NRK og litt nervar har gitt oss eit herleg album.

Sist helg dukka CD-en «The Space Between» opp i redaksjonen. Haftor Medbøe er født i Noreg, men bur nå i Skottland. Etter fleire utgivingar meinte han tida nå var moden for å prøve noko nytt.

Eg blei intervjua på NRK-radio av Espen Eriksen. Me blei etterpå einige om at han skulle komme over til Edinburgh og spele med meg på ein festival. Veit ikkje om det var nervar som gjorde det, men han spurte om det var OK å ha med ein kompis som spelte trompet. Slik kom eg i kontakt med Gunnar Halle, seier Medbøe.
Og desse tilfeldigheitene skulle vise seg å bli grunnlaget for «The Space Between».

Eg lytta til platene dei to hadde spelt inn saman, og komponerte musikk i den same stilen. Eg fekk dei til å vere med på plata, og eg fekk samstundes prøve ut det å vere med i ein trio. Så nå ligg resultatet her, seier Medbøe.

Maritimt – La det vere sagt med ein gong. Dette er jazz i mi gate. Herleg blanding av gitar, piano og trompet. Noko eg faktisk skrifteleg har etterlyst i meldingar av plater gitt ut av grindebuen Espen Eriksen sin trio. Og her dukkar det opp nesten meir Espen Eriksen og Gunnar Halle, enn originalane sjølv.
Dette er ikkje komplisert. Det er fotokunst uttrykt gjennom musikalitet og nydelege små komposisjonar. Det er ingenting i lydbilete som irriterer, eller burde vore tatt vekk. Det er rett og slett ei plate ein set i spelaren og nyt. Samstundes kan eg forstå at det er dei som meiner dette er kjedeleg. Mest fordi det krev at lyttaren kan glede seg over det solide samspelet, den reine og fine lyden og dei flotte bileta som ein ser føre seg i musikken.

Mykje av det er maritimt, noko titlane fortel. «East Pier», «Utsira High», «Skagerrak» og «Fladen» er i alle fall i mitt hovud namn og uttrykk, som er kjent frå både nære havområder, og kart.
Personleg er «Utsira High» ein favoritt. Denne låta kunne lett fått plass på Eriksen/Halle si «Psalm». Dette er tett opp mot ein salme i uttrykksform, og musikk fleire burde tatt seg tid til å lytte til.
Fleire av songane har Gunnar Halle som solist, med Eriksen sitt piano som eit stødig komp. Medbøe sjølv ligg og lurer med sin gitar i bakgrunnen, for plutseleg å dukke opp med ein solo eller nokre spennande riff. Her har ein vertskap som let gjestene få spele hovudrolla.

Plata sluttar med låta «More Viking Than You», kanskje ein hyllest til sine norske røter.
Dette er totalt sett eit eksempel på noko som komponistar i denne musikkstilen er ekstremt flinke til å gjennomføre, og å få gode resultat av. Ein lar seg forføre og inspirere av andre. Ein tør å komponere musikk som ligg tett opp til inspirasjonskjelda, men i staden for at det blir ein kopi eller ein plagiat, blir det eit tillegg. Eit spennande sådan.

Trioen Medbøe, Eriksen og Halle har i det stille levert ei plate som mange burde tatt seg råd til å nyte.

Alf-Einar Kvalavåg – – December 2015


Guitarist Haftor Medbøe has written all the material on this CD, which starts with Gunnar Halle playing trumpet in a way that lures the listener further.

A trio: Haftor Medbøe, guitar; Espen Eriksen, piano and harmonium; Gunnar Halle, trumpet and voice. Three Norwegians who have played in Scotland.

This is delicate music. Slow tones that are left to ring from the guitar and clear piano accompany and provide body, and then a trumpet so soft and beautiful when it makes it appears in the music.

It doesn’t really feel like jazz; more a music that makes you feel good, relaxed. The roots of jazz are there, but they melt into a music that seeks beauty and on the way finds resistance and challenges.

This is stripped-down music played by a trio with an unusual lineup and it works: piano, guitar and trumpet go well together.

Lennart Götesson – Dala-Demokraten – December 2015 (translated from Swedish – original article available HERE)


Three musicians of distinction joining their richly creative musical experiences into a cohesive work of unequaled elegance. The deep connection between Haftor Medbøe the composer of the 7 pieces and a remarkable poet of the guitar with pianist Espen Eriksen and trumpeter Gunnar Halle gives the interplay a noble touch. Could be ambient, jazz or experimental, yet what it counts in the end is the spiritual edge of their effort that brings the listener into a vibrating universe of beauty made of multiple spaces, shadows and sparks of light. Floating in the Northern sky, piano, guitar and trumpet, embrace subtle unpredictable harmonies punctuated by textural electronics, glowing fluidity in the dark. Immerse yourself in the grace of their music and discover the hidden treasures of “The Space Between”.

Stefan Bocioaca – – October 2015


Anneke Kampman is the songwriter behind Conquering Animal Sound, Haftor Medbøe is a celebrated jazz composer and player with his own band. This collaborative union also features the talents of saxophonist Konrad Wisniewski, Richard Kass on percussion, and Andy Jeffcoat on synth. Taking smoky jazz songs and summery indie-pop as a starting point, the album quickly jumps off into the dreamy, fairytale realms of Kampman’s elliptical, impressionistic lyrics, singing sweetly about “strings and cartilage” on opener Palms.

Her voice is sugary, but not in a ‘pop princess’ way – there are hints of the cloying menace of Megan James (Purity Ring); the breathy, experimental phrasings of Bjork; and then there are the more naked, fragile performances, which have a little in common with more traditional jazz vocals. Kampman is a great writer, and the band’s minimal, complex, restrained playing never distracts from her fascinating lyrical excursions. Recorded with crystal clarity and thrilling immediacy, this is a beguiling, darkly charming record.

The Skinny – December 2012


Mmmm….indiepopjazz. Den skotsk baserede guitarist Haftor Medbøe er igen aktuel med en plade med sin gruppe. De bevæger sig ind på et ikke alt for overbetrådt område. De spiller jazz med et umiskendeligt stort præg af vellydende indiepop – og det er vel at mærke af den britiske slags. Beats mm. programmøren Gavin Hislop er kommet med i gruppen og har sat et solidt fodaftryk på pladen. Det samme har sangerinden Anneke Kampman, hvor man både kommer til at tænke på Björk og Cocteau Twins’ sangerinde Elizabeth Fraser. Hun medvirker på 2 af pladens 5 numre. Sansen for en vellydende melodi er en af de bærende kræfter på Medbøes plade. Han er sammen med gruppen også rigtigt god til at fremme mange små detaljer i musikken, uden at det bliver rodet og uoverskueligt. Der sker hele tiden en masse og så svæver der overnover det hele en god popmelodi. Som feks. med nummeret Leaving nothing as we leave, der sagtens burde kunne glide ind på P3’s musikflade. (Her bliver jeg lige i denne parantes nødt til at bemærke, at nummeret indeholder noget så frækt som basun. Det er nok alligevel for stærke sager for P3’s playlisteudvalg, men for alle jer andre er der et godt popnummer, der så er værd at hente på iTunes). Den danske kant på gruppen er bassisten Eva Malling, der herhjemme spiller med sangerinden Anna Kruse og Erling Kroner. Saxofonisten Konrad Wiszniewski og basunisten Chris Greive er med til give gruppen den lyd og kant der løfter gruppen.

English translation

Mmmmm…indiepopjazz. The Scotland based guitarist Haftor Medbøe is again current with his latest group recording. It makes its way into largely untrod territory. They play jazz with a good helping of melodious indie-pop – and of the British kind. Beats etc. programmer Gavin Hislop has been included in the group and makes a solid footprint on the recording. As has singer Anneke Kampman, who makes you think both of Bjork and Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins. She’s on two of the ablum’s five tracks. A sense of melody is one of the carrying forces on Medbøe’s recording. He, along with the rest of the group, is really adept at uncovering the many fine details in the music without making things messy or unfathomable. There’s constantly a lot going on but with a good pop melody gliding over the top of it. As for example is the case with ‘Leaving Nothing As We Leave’ which could easily make it onto the DRK P3 playlist. (Here I should mention that the track includes a cheeky trombone so it’s probably a step too far for P3’s programming department, but for the rest of you a good poptune worth downloading on i-tunes. The Danish element of the group is the bassist, Eva Malling, who when at home plays with the singer Anna Kruse and Erling Kroner. Saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski and trombonist Chris Greive provide the group with sonic lift and edge.

Niels Overgaard – Jazznyt – December 2009


An exciting new release from Haftor Medbøe Group continuing the seductive cinematic atmosphere of their previous albums, this time blending in the smooth hypnotic vocals of Anneke Kampman(for some reason it reminds me of Skye) and tasteful drum programming. The new sonorities bring an interesting futuristic dimension to arrangements, fluidizing, breezing and echoing, yet without distorting the melodic poetry of the music. The album features five songs like a five act play(!) featuring a prologue and an epilogue. A special mention for the final track, “Surfrize”, a meditative synthesis charged with emotion where all the band members excel in beautiful polyphonies, at times at unison or soloing. Trying to label Haftor Medbøe Group as a postmodern jazz fusionists may not be appropriate but it gives an idea of their artistic direction. – February 2010


A while ago I received a pair of releases from a group led by the guitarist Haftor Medboe. Born in Norway Medboe is now based in Edinburgh from where he leads an eclectic group comprised of musicians from various countries and backgrounds, all of them active on a vibrant Scottish music scene.The Medboe group released their first album“Charm” on Fabrikant Records in 2004 before moving on to Linn for “In Perpetuity” which added the strings of the Edinburgh Quartet to the group’s sound together with the electronica of guest Kenny MacDonald.The band returned to the Scottish independent Fabrikant for the two releases under review, 2008’s album length “New:Happy” and the later EP “A Box Of Monkeys” from 2009. The core group on both records consists of Medboe on guitars, Konrad Wiszniewski on saxophones, Chris Grieve on trombone, Eva Malling on acoustic bass and Signy Jakobsdottir on percussion. The EP adds the Bjork like vocals of Anneke Kampman and the programming of Gavin Hislop aka Babyshaker. As can be seen the line up is both international and cross gender and some of this comes out in the charm of the group’s music. It’s not jazz in any conventional sense although it’s a big part of what the group do. There are elements of rock and electronica and if the music has to be categorised then perhaps the term “Nu Jazz” would cover it. In the case of “New:Happy” I just prefer to think of it as high quality contemporary instrumental music. One of the Medboe group’s notable features is the the extraordinary performance of percussionist Jakobsdottir. Icelandic born and classically trained she has worked with the Scottish Ballet and is also an expert in world percussion-African, Indian, Gamelan etc. Consequently she provides not just rhythmic propulsion but also an impressive array of colour and texture to the group’s sound palette. The Medboe group cite many influences, among them E.S.T., The Bad Plus and Bill Frisell. I also discern a touch of Bugge Wesseltoft and and maybe an element of Pat Metheny in the general melodiousness of the music and the way the group mix electronic and acoustic sounds. A scaled down and less aggressive Jaga Jazzist would also be a good reference. On “ New:Happy” the opening title track contrasts the delicacy of Jakobsdottir’s tinkling percussion and Medboe’s tasteful acoustic guitar with the soaring saxophone of Wiszniewski. The latter is perhaps the most jazz orientated player in the group following stints as a member of Paul Towndrow’s various groups including the saxophone quartet Brass Jaw. Medboe is the second featured instrumentalist here, his picked guitar floating almost Metheny like above the sonic backdrop provided by the rest of the group. Jakobsdottir’s charmingly whimsical percussion opens “These Little Things” which goes on to feature the interplay of Greive and Wiszniewski’s horns followed by distinctive solos from both. The opening of “Nothing Gulch” recalls the Americana of Bill Frisell. Medboe’s guitar whines countryishly above Malling’s bass groove before a sudden shift in mood introduces Wiszniewski. But the Medboe group don’t stay still for long. There’s something of a percussion feature before the Americana aspect returns and Medboe’s acoustic is heard in dialogue with the mouth harp of the mysterious Tommy Harmonica. Maybe the supremely talented Tommy Smith also plays the gob iron. Throughout the album the Medboe Group’s themes are strong and none more so than the soaring “Heartrush” which frames solos from Grieve and Wisznieski above Medboe’s taut, vaguely threatening guitar and Jakobsdottir’s intelligent percussion. The elegant “Equilibrium” begins almost as chamber jazz before mutating into something darker courtesy of Greive’s low register trombone. Later there’s a brief bass feature for Malling that moves the music somewhere else again. This is colourful, kaleidoscopic music with a strong pictorial quality, constantly shifting in mood and perspective. At nine minutes plus “Amulet” is the lengthiest track on the album and has an epic quality about it with Wiszniewski in imperious form soloing magnificently against an impressively broad sonic backdrop. There’s epic, soar away electric guitar from Medboe too, clearly showing his rock influences for the first time. Eventually it falls away leaving only the ethereal tinkling of Jakobsdottir’s glockenspiel. Medboe also sticks to the electric for “Fri Bo” duetting with Malling on the atmospheric, effects laden opening. The rest of the track is a little more orthodox featuring Wiszniewski soloing above what sounds like a cajon generated groove from Jakobsdottir. “Tys Tys” is a gently effective closer featuring Medboe’s sensitive guitars, sometimes multi tracked and brief solo cameos from Wiszniewski, Malling and Greive. Mixing jazz, rock and folk sensibilities into ever shifting patterns “New:Happy” is a charming, consistently engaging album. The range of sounds, colours and textures the core quintet produce is hugely impressive and the writing, presumably by Medboe is consistently interesting. The guitarist is happy to be part of the ensemble, indeed Wiszniewski emerges as the dominant soloist, but overall this is a very democratic group working on some colourful material. “New:Happy” is the kind of album that reveals more each listen and behind it’s easy going charm there’s a good deal of musical sophistication. Discovering this album has been a very pleasant surprise.

Ian Mann – – March 2010


Un guitariste, un saxophoniste, un tromboniste, et une percussionniste, s’octroyant le luxe d’inviter des contrebassistes de choix pour les accompagner (Eva Malling, Mario Caribé…). Telle est la composition du Haftor Medboe Group – du nom du compositeur de la bande – qui depuis 2004 ravit nos oreilles d’un jazz délicieux. La formation originaire d’Ecosse évolue entre rock, jazz, musique expérimentale, ballades… Un groupe qui définit lui-même de façon très poétique ses sources d’inspiration comme « la promesse de la neige en hiver » ou « le soleil jaune citron d’un jour de printemps ». Peutêtre ces influences vous seront-elles moins obscures si l’on cite les noms – aussi éloignés soient-ils – des Cocteau Twins (pop écossaise),de Jan Garbarek (jazz norvégien) ou d’Esbjörn Svensson Trio ? Toujours est-il que c’est sans plus tarder que je vous invite à vous ruer sur leur myspace qui saura contenter bon nombre de mélomanes de tous bords!

English translation

A guitarist, a saxophonist, a trombonist, and a percussionist, allowing themselves the luxury to invite double bass players of choice to accompany them (Eva Malling, Mario Caribé). Such is the makeup of the Haftor Medboe Group – taken from the name of the composer of the band – who since 2004 have enraptured our ears with a delightful jazz. Native to Scotland, their music spans rock, jazz, experimental music and ballads A group which defines in a very poetic manner its sources of inspiration such as “the promise of snow in winter” or “the lemon yellow sunshine of a spring day”. Perhaps these influences will become less obscure if we name their musicial heroes – Cocteau Twins (Scottish pop), of Jan Garbarek (Norwegian jazz) or Esbjörn Svensson Trio? The fact remains that it is without hesitation that I invite you to rush to their myspace which will satisfy a good many music lovers of any persuasion!

Le Tapis Volant – April 2009


Tanta maestria ed altrettanta semplicità: questa è l’essenza dell’ultimo lavoro firmato Haftor Medboe. Chitarrista e compositore norvegese, lavora principalmente ad Edimburgo, nel campo del jazz e della classica contemporanea. Si coglie al primo ascolto l’atmosfera leggera, incantata, quasi mistica, ma sempre segnata da un ritmo incessante, con caratteristiche tribali (merito della versatile percussionista islandese Signy Jakobsdottir), che attraversa tutte le tracce del disco, nel corso del quale si giunge a diversi momenti di tensione spasmodica. Tensione che riporta sempre alle origini, alla quiete. Il genere è molto vario, con radici chiaramente jazzistiche (i momenti di improvvisazione sono prevalenti; i brani sono interamente strumentali), ma consapevole delle ultime tendenze musicali. Influenzati quindi da pop, folk, rock e dalla musica leggera in generale, caratteristica che permette anche a chi non è familiare con le sonorità jazz di apprezzare il magnifico sound che si viene a creare in New:Happy. Di grande spessore i soli del sassofonista Konrad Wiszniewski e del trombonista Chris Greve, la forza e al contempo la delicatezza della contrabbassista Eva Malling, senza dimenticare il virtuosismo di Haftor Medboe, sia per la ricchezza delle composizioni, sia per la sua abilità esecutiva non indifferente. Decisamente consigliato.

English translation

Great skill as well as great simplicity: this is the essence of the latest production by Haftor Medboe. He’s a Norwegian guitarist and composer, and works mainly in Edinburgh, in both jazz and contemporary classical contexts. An instant of New:Happy is enough to enter the lightly enchanted, almost mystical atmosphere, underlined by an incessant rhythm with tribal features (thanks to the versatiliy of Signy Jakobsdottir, percussionist from Iceland). All of this follows each track, leading to intense moments of spasmodic tension that always resolve in a return to the origin, tranquility. The genre is hard to define: it’s a very unique crossover, with a strong jazz foundation (the moments of improvisation are dominant), but well aware of the latest developments of popular music. Traces of rock, pop, folk add to this work, and make listeners, less familiar with “pure jazz”, appreciate the magnificent sound these expert musicians manage to create. None of this would be possible without the first class solos by saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski and trombonist Chris Grieve’s, the strenght and finesse in Eva Malling’s double bass, and last but not least, Haftor Medboe’s virtuosity, as a composer and as a skilled musician. Heartily recommended.

Nastro Music Webzine – October 2008


The current line-up of Haftor Medbøe’s group is the strongest yet. The guitarist’s accomplished soloing is supported by powerful contributions from two of the leading horn players on the Scottish scene, saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski and trombonist Chris Greive, while Danish bass player Eva Malling and Icelandic percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir add shimmering colour and rhythmic drive in response to the shifting needs of the music.

The guitarist’s new compositions continue to evolve his exploration of jazz-rooted but pop-aware instrumental forms. His writing pays characteristically careful attention to intricacies of musical texture, timbre and interwoven electronic effects, but the slower moving and more impressionistic elements are balanced by highly energised accelerations that raise both the temperature and momentum of the music. Available as an on-line exclusive from

The List – September 2008


So far in my lifetime of following the music of jazz since growing up with the sounds of the big bands back in the early forties, I’ve seen jazz grow and nurture, lending itself to other cultures from distant lands and becoming an international musical art form.

Haftor Medbøe and his group come to us from Scotland and New: Happy is their latest release on Fabrikant Records.

This group has a haunting, melancholy and mesmerizing sound that draws you deeper into their music. This is music you must listen to several times over in order to understand where they are taking us. The group is able to capture the sounds of brooding while at the same time uplifting our spirits by a deeper meaning of all these original compositions.

While they don’t solo that often or at any great length the strength of this group comes to us in their ensemble playing. Their technical prowess is impeccable. Someplace in my head I keep hearing their charts transposed into a big band format. Someone like Toshiko Akiyoshi could probably arrange some of their charts into a big band venue. That’s only my feeling and may not be in the cards for this group.

Since my first listening to this group on CD I came away with the feeling that they’re on to something new and exciting for international jazz music. I look forward to the future and what they have for us down the road.

Jazzine – August 2008


“New: Happy” could be anything: a surrealistic ballet music, a soundtrack of a mysterious movie, or a timeless collection of jazz poems. The fusion goes multidimensional, from classical to modern, from evocative to exhilarating and dissonant, switching tempos and moods, crossing genres and musical maps. All these compositional incursions don’t break the artistic cohesion of the album crafted in filigree arrangements, remarkable in clarity and balance. leaving enough space for a warm melodic improvisational flow. Every song tells a story about a comedy or drama, there’s a melody, or a surprising contrast you’ll remember later after the music has grown in you. Then you may want to go back and listen again the elegant intros on “New: Happy” , Tys Tys or on Amulet ( Haftor Medboe’s guitar ethereal, atmospheric, Signy Jakobsdottir’s colorful, magical crystal percussion), or the Nordic vibes (guitar, bass(Eva Malling ), percussion) followed by a superb unison sax-trombone(Konrad Wiszniewski and Chris Grieve) on Fri Bo. Although there are other highlights to discover, just to mention the melancholic introspective harmonica solo on Nothing Gulch, and the sax and trombone solos on These Little Things, the album as a whole is a beautiful piece of art. – August 2008


Multilateral jazz. Bandet har base i Skotland, men medlemmerne er fra Norge, Island, Polen, Australien og det senest ankomne medlem er fra Danmark. Deres opfattelse af jazz kender heller ikke rigtig nogen grænser. Bandet ledes af guitaristen Haftor Medbøe, der både skifter mellem elektrisk og akustisk guitar. Derudover består gruppen af Konrad Wiszniewski på sax, Chris Greive på basun, Signy Jakobsdottir på percussion og danskeren Eva Malling på bas. Genremæssigt kommer man på en rundtur udi hvad man kan tillade sig i nutidig melodisk jazz. Diverse kontinenter popper op i hovedet når man hører musikken. Ligefra Asien, Afrika, Amerika til Europa. Hele tiden er der små afstikkere og detaljer i musikken, der i det hele taget fremstår som utroligt gennembearbejdet. Et nummer som Nothing Gulch er et fremragende eksempel på det, med Jakobsdottir’s indisk inspirerede percussion og en mundharpe midt i det hele, der sender et billede af en støvet western-by frem på nethinden.

Det er et band der har en stor integritet og originalitet. Dette er en meget anbefalelsesværdig plade.

English translation

Multilateral jazz. 

The band is based in Scotland but the members are from Norway, Iceland, Poland, Australia with the latest arrival from Denmark. Their take on jazz also knows no borders. The band is led by guitarist, Haftor Medbøe who plays both electric and acoustic guitars. Hereafter the band comprises Konrad Wiszniewski on sax, Chris Greive on trombone, Signy Jakobsdottir on percussion and Danish bassist, Eva Malling. Throughout (the album) you go on a round-trip of what you would call contemporary melodic Jazz. Diverse continents pop into your head when you listen to the music. From Asia, Africa, America to Europe. There are constant markers and details in the music, which is wholly well conceived. The song, Nothing Gulch is a superb example of this (diversity), with Jakobsdottir’s Indian inspired percussion an a mouthorgan (solo) in the middle of everything that imprints the picture of a dusty Wild West town on the iris. This is a band that has colossal integrity and originality. This is a highly recommended CD..

Niels Overgaard – Jazznyt – July 2008


Norwegian guitarist Haftor Medbøe is a well established figure on the music scene in his adopted Scotland. He continues to evolve his exploration of evocative jazz-rooted but pop-aware instrumental forms in this latest outing with his fine group, now featuring Danish bass player Eva Malling.

Medbøe’s new compositions pay characteristically careful attention to intricacies of musical texture and timbre with interwoven electronic effects, but the slower moving and more impressionistic elements are balanced by highly energised accelerations that raise both the temperature and momentum of the music.

The guitarist’s own focused soloing is augmented by powerful contributions from two of the best horn players on the current Scottish jazz scene, Konrad Wiszniewski (sax) and Chris Greive (trombone), while Malling and the Icelandic percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir add both shimmering colour and rhythmic drive according to the shifting demands of the music.

Kenny Mathieson – The Scotsman – 25th July 2008


Guitarist and composer Haftor Medboe delivers with his latest album New: Happy an engaging assortment of Contemporary jazz compositions. Performed with Konrad Wiszniewski, Chris Greive, Eva Malling, Signy Jakobsdottir and guest Tommy Harmonica this album is a startling group work The music shows a great interplay inside the collective. Notable is trombonist Chris Greive, who sets a wonderful groove.

Haftor Medboe Group appeal is hearted within its conjunctive brew to interact heterogeneous styles into a special musical atmosphere that conveys feathered soundscapes. The sextet channels through the eight pleasant pieces via enacted harmonies and nicely sound spaces. The music of this album defines a unique style which blends elements of Contemporary jazz with high energy and artistry. Konrad Wiszniewski and Chris Greive create an exchange of swing while the guitar explores the tunes “New : Happy”, “These Little Things”, “Fri Bo”, “Tys Tys” with a dreamy mood. Brilliant are the voices of Greive on trombone and Wiszniewski playing the saxophones on “Heartrush.” On this, Haftor Medbøe adds a notch of tension.

Haftor Medboe is an artist very active on the Scottish scene, supported by Scottish Arts Council; his voice fits perfectly in wide contexts. This wonderful release New: Happy conveys great music reaching fulfillment and intensity. Highly recommended.

Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez – Jazz – July 2008


Not so much Jazz Centre @ the Lot here as jazz creche as guitarist Haftor Medboe’s Danish guest, double-bassist Eva Malling’s five-year-old daughter slept the sleep of the innocent in the curtained-off section they call the green room. That the youngster didn’t stir says more about her tiredness than her quarters because Medboe’s group, while gentle in parts and never likely to be labelled heavy metal, didn’t exactly hold back when it came to the crunch, in Medboe’s case literally.

The Edinburgh-based Norwegian-rooted guitarist doesn’t hog the limelight. His compositions, often with the strong folk influence of much Nordic jazz, are designed to create a mood and feature the two main voices, Konrad Wiszniewski’s tenor saxophone and Chris Greive’s muscular trombone.

We were four tunes in before Medboe soloed, carefully threading his thoughts together, although in the second half he featured more heavily, working a staccato chord sequence and a jubilant melody into a sampled and layered solo on one piece and using distortion to considerable effect on another.

With Wiszniewski showing the form he’s in these days, it’s little wonder that Medboe, as a composer, finds him inspiring. His tone, out of the Brecker-Garbarek axis but warmer, is magnificent and his solo-building combines thematic understanding with an exuberance that really lifts the music as whole. New:Happy, the title track of Medboe’s latest album with its melody reminiscent of Keith Jarrett’s Scandinavian quartet, featured a particularly notable example of Wiszniewski in spate. Generally, though, this was a group effort, with Malling providing a melodic backbone and percussionist Signy Jacobsdottir adding colour or clout as required.

Rob Adams – Glasgow Herald – 2nd November 2007


On the 3″ CD, Birdsongs, Haftor Medboe and Susan McKenzie wove delicate spells of ambient altered jazz that were soothing, meditative and invigorating. Now expanded to a full group, Haftor’s compositions draw upon a wider palette to bring together jazz, broken electro-funk, vast, sweeping string sections and electronics with little regard for genre or contrivance, and in doing so Medboe avoid a lot of the perceived limits of jazz without sacrificing beauty and melody for freedom, as liberated music is so often forced to.

‘In Perpetuity’ is a perfect showcase for Haftor’s vision. As well as McKenzie’s haunting soprano sax, the band also features Chris Greive on trombone, and the distant almost-calypso drumming of Signy Jakobsdottir which blends in more as important intergral piece of the pie than a mere thumping backbeat.

Also on board helping raise the bar are the Edinburgh Quartet whose strings illuminate the songs in a magnificent manner. It’s a Super Audio CD and absolutely meticulously produced, which is to say, it sounds absolutely fantastic, every element coming through with a sublime clarity that few albums can match.

Haftor’s guitar playing only occasionally touches upon traditional jazz language, moving through spaced out Morricone-esque spaghetti western, noise-surf to gorgeously lumbering rhythms.

But live, he shows himself to be a hugely entertaining performer as well, proving equally adept on electronics, with a rack of effect units stretching halfway across the stage, even playing a dictaphone through his guitar pickups at one point. The fact that he looks like Marc Ribot does little to dissuade comparison.

At The Lot-staged launch gig, Konrad Wiszniewski, stood in on saxophone, and although his playing is breathtakingly virtuosic, he seemed slightly at odds with the group, albeit partly due to the sound mix. Of course, the results of the live mix are difficult to compare to the pristine quality of the SACD.

But Haftor and Signy are a joy to watch, sculpting wondrous aquatic soundscapes equally capable of enthralling and grooving. This is music that truly transcends the genres it might be associated with, and ultimately is, however much purists might scoff, the perfect contemporary jazz.

Ali Maloney – the Skinny – April 2006


Diversity and innovation in music often comes when tender characters are cooking and swinging. Guitarist Haftor Medboe from Norway, mixes up different cultures, bringing into his new release the sundry voices of Scottish saxophonist Susan Mckenzie, Australian trombonist Chris Greive and Icelandic percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir. To this line up he has also added the famous Edinburgh String Quartet and Kenny MacDonald’s electronic knowledge.

In Perpetuity is the second album of the Medboe quartet. Recorded in Scotland (precisely in Edinburgh in 2004), this album fetches a jazzy, electro-funky rhythm coupled with an embroiled string section. Each voice is wonderfully heard and the arrangements are out-inspired.

Haftor Medboe’s release conveys stunning moments of classical and jazz hitched onto Metheny , Frisell and Reich-like influences. Furthermore, the album is sonically produced, outlandish and finicky.

Medboe is without a doubt a gifted guitarist able to paint soundscapes with his many different palettes. His cohort’s input is worth listening to. Susan Mckenzie’s soprano sound’s easy and lurid in whatever water she is testing, as on “Little Auk”, “Charivari” and “Teetotum”s introduction. Chris Greive’s languid trombone is accurate and poignant as on “Little Auk” and “Spor”. His horn is always marshalling with high skill punctuations. On “Little Auk”, Medboe showcases the lofty, well-demeanoured strings, all at the hands of a grounded Signy Jakobsdottir’s percussion. Guitar and percussion endorsements are impressive on “Charivari”.

“Teetotum” comes together in a dialogue, out of which kicks off a rising up upon the string background, providing intensification to this theme. In Perpetuity allows every section to burnish, both in the troupe’s work and being self-assured by Haftor Medboe’s proficient arranging abilities, and for solos, which take on the guitar. The Edinburgh String Quartet and Kenny MacDonald’s endowments are awesome from “Little Auk” to “Maikro”.

A dazzling venture into contemporary jazz!

Dr Ana Isabel Ordonez –


You may call it contemporary music or symphonic jazz fusion or whatever you like but Haftor Medboe Group is much more than a melting pot. Sometimes abstract or melodic, experimental or minimalist, part modern, part classical, their last release, “In perpetuity” can be listened as a musical story about time and spaces, or it may be the music for your next mental movie populated with colours impressions and… memories of Brian Eno or Bill Frisell. Placed between composition and improvisation, strange experimental folkish harmonies alternate with interludes of crystalline Mediterranean melodies, or more aggressive percussion bursts reinventing the balance of opposites of the musical universe.

JazzWorldQuest –


WHERE once jazz musicians were wary about the use of the label for fear of alienating potential customers, the current – and better – tack is to expand the meaning of the term. The group led by Edinburgh-based Norwegian guitarist Medboe, with saxophonist Susan Mckenzie, Australian trombonist Chris Greive, and Icelandic percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir has a global sound to match the line-up. With strings provided by the Edinburgh Quartet, this is a very classy disc indeed and Medboe’s compositions are as genre-defying as the production. This Scottish combo sits happily in the same contemporary bag as the Bad Plus, Bill Frisell, and Esbjorn Svensson – all acts with whom Medboe’s band has shared a stage.

Keith Bruce – Glasgow Herald – 15th April 2006


The Norweigan Haftor Medbøe, now resident in Edinburgh, performs in an international partnership drawn from Britain, Australia and Iceland, here reunited for their second recording with support from the Edinburgh Quartet. At first, his music appears to be ambient jazz, exploring backgrounds and textures, open-aspected and inventive. Soon it becomes more urban and filmic:Alain Delon, smoking his third Gauloise, moving moodily through the rain-swept streets of Paris. In some ways, his music recalls Philip Glass in his use of themes and strong rhythms that develop over time. Written in Edinburgh in 2004, this is performed with skill on a variety of instruments and definitely worth the plunge.

Alexander Bryce – Scotland on Sunday, 2nd April 2006


Lacing electronic Scandinavian “nu jazz” with classical strings and lyrical improvisation, In Perpetuity feels like a set of sound portraits. The meeting between the sinuous strings of the Edinburgh Quartet and Medboe’s musical arrangements turn a corner – the gorgeous “Spor” for example is a sophisticated number, almost trip hop in its moodiness. Trombonist Chris Greive is an excellent soloist although the leader shows off his delicate Metheny colours on the melancholic “Hop Skip”. Medboe’s classical leanings create soundscapes that are alternatively eerie or quirkily romantic… at its best, In Perpetuity weaves a delicate web.

Jazzwise – May 2006


Liberating jazz with classical curtseys and subtle electronic poking is perhaps the most accurate way to describe the music of the Edinburgh based Haftor Medbøe Group. A sugary sax weaves a syrupy trail over well-mannered strings and close to ground percussion on “Little Auk”. The pretty “Spor” receives a pulse from its percussion, which sits contently under flexing guitars and flourishing strings. “In Perpetuity” stretches out, as guitar notes are plucked over a bed of level brass, shining strings and melodica kisses.

John Freer – – January 2006


THIS group’s debut on Linn is a swansong for the former line-up, in which the guitarist Medboe is joined by soprano saxophonist Susan Mckenzie, trombonist Chris Greive and percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir, with additional strings from the Edinburgh Quartet and programming by Kenny MacDonald. Mckenzie’s strength is the purity of her sound, and Medboe’s semi-impressionistic compositions make clever use of the interplay between the instruments.

Kenny Mathieson – The Scotsman – April 2006


Glasgow-based (sic) guitarist Haftor Medbøe makes his recording debut for Linn Records with this disc, although the line-up of the band has changed since it was recorded last year. This recording features soprano saxophonist Susan Mckenzie, who has recently given way to the very different Konrad Wiszniewski.

Her almost classical purity of sound on soprano provides a nice contrast with Chris Greive’s trombone, and the guitarist’s diverse, self-impressionistic compositions make clever use of contrasting shades of instrumental timbre and textures. Percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir completes the band, with guest contributions from the strings of the Edinburgh Quartet and subtle programming by Kenny MacDonald.

Kenny Mathieson – The List – May 2006


[The] opener Little Auk offers a mellow, summery stroll, thoroughly enhanced by expert orchestration and well-levelled strings, percussion and a tenor sax lead which HMG seem to use almost like a lead vocalist. Spor brings more conviction and funk and again demonstrates the real craft of HMG, in particular a splendidly dancing middle section, featuring invitees on strings, The Edinburgh Quartet. Their addition augments the contemporary element of HMG’s music and no doubt increases the possibilities.

TEQ cement their influence on the album with a fantastically sinister string stramash that opens Teetotum, TGR’s favourite track on the album. Clarinet, trumpet, sax, melodica and maybe even flute vie for attention at the forefront of a toothed, disfigured track, invoking feelings of tension, madness and overpowering darkness. The title track follows, conjuring a wispy, almost numb landscape in which to find respite from the previous lunacy. Flowing, dreamy, echoed effects confirm HMG’s passion for production as well as performance.

The Glasgow Reviewer – July 2006


Gitaristen Haftor Medbøe er bosatt i Edinburgh, men som navnet røper, er han nordmann. I bandet sitt har han med Susan McKenzie på sax, Chris Greive på trombone og Signy Jakobsdottir på trommer. I tillegg er en strykekvartett fra Edinburgh med på dette albumet. Kenny Macdonald med sine programmeringer skal heller ikke glemmes.

Sammensetningen av musikere fører til en musikalsk miks som kan virke noe uklar i profilen, Medbøe prøver å skape en syntese mellom elementer fra klassisk musikk. elektronika og mer tradisjonell melodiøs jazz. I mine ører blir dette litt sprikende. Gode prestasjoner og spennende øyeblikk er det nok av, men det er verre å finne et tydelig helhetlig grep.

Likevel er dette en plate som viser at Medbøe tør å satse på å jobbe utradisjonelt med uttrykket sitt. Han er ekperimentell i en litt annen retning enn mange av de mer søkende yngre musikerne vi kjenner til i Norge. Derfor er det grunn til å merke seg gitaristen, komponisten og bandlederen som også er jazz musician in residence ved Napier-universitet i Edinburgh.

English translation

Guitarist Haftor Medbøe lives in Edinburgh, but as the name suggests, he is Norwegian. In his band he has with Susan McKenzie on saxophone, Chris Greive on trombone and Signy Jakobsdottir on drums. In addition, a string quartet from Edinburgh on this album. Kenny Macdonald with their programming should not be forgotten.

The composition of musicians leads to a musical mix that may seem ambiguous in the profile, Medbøe trying to create a synthesis of elements from classical music. electronica and more traditional melodic jazz. In my ears, this is a bit inconsistent. Good performances and exciting moments there are plenty of, but it is difficult to find a clear overall grip.

Yet this is a record that shows that Medbøe dare to try to work with untraditional their expression. He is ekperimentell in a slightly different direction than many of the more inquisitive young musicians we know in Norway. Therefore, there is reason to take note of the guitarist, composer and band leader who also is Jazz Musician in residence at Napier university in Edinburgh.

Olav Gorseth – BergensTidene – January 2007


DEN norske gitaristen Haftor Medbøe har slått seg ned i Edinburgh, der han er «Jazz musician in residence» ved Napier-universitetet. Han har komponert musikk for TV. film og teater, og ikke minst for sin egen kvartett som er i ferd med å få et visst ry. På «In Perpetuity», hans andre album som omsider er klart for norsk utgivelse, består bandet av den skotske saksofonisten Susan Mckenzie, den australske trombonisten Chris Greive og den islandske perkusjonisten Signy Jakobsdottir, og i tillegg bidrar strykekvartetten The Edinburgh Quartet og elektronikamusikeren Kenny MacDonald.

Musikken virker først og fremst melodibasert, gjennomkomponert og omhyggelig arrangert. Komponist/arrangør Medbøe gir likevel romslig plass for solistisk utfoldelse, rom som særlig Mckenzie (sopran og melodika) og Greive fyller på habilt vis. Medbøes gitar opererer lenger tilbake i lydbildet, men er likevel en klanglig viktig brikke i denne musikken der ekko av såvel kammerjazz som funk også inngår i den overveiende rolige, nesten kontemplative stemningen.

English translation

THE Norwegian guitarist Haftor Medbøe has settled in Edinburgh, where he is “Jazz Musician in residence” at Napier University. He has composed music for TV. film and theater, and not least for his own quartet, which is about to get a certain reputation. On “In Perpetuity, ” his second album which finally is ready for Norwegian release, the band consists of Scottish saxophonist Susan Mckenzie, the Australian trombonist Chris Greive and the Icelandic percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir, and in addition, the String Quartet The Edinburgh Quartet and electronica musician Kenny MacDonald .

The music seems primarily based melody, through composed and meticulously arranged. Composer / arranger Medbøe still provides plenty of room for solo expression, rooms especially Mckenzie (soprano and melodica) and Greive prime habilt show. Medbøe guitar operates farther back in the mix, but is still an important piece timbre in this music which echoes as well as chamber jazz funk also included in the predominantly quiet, almost contemplative mood.

Dagbladet – January 2007


Som vikingene fant gitarist og komponist Haftor Medbøe veien til de britiske øyer. Til forskjell fra sine forfedre har Medbøe hatt en mer forsonende og imøtekommende tone. Dette har resultert i flere skotske venner og sammen med disse utgjør han Haftor Medbøe Group. Deres andre plate «in perpetuity» tar med lytteren inn i evigheten, et eksperiment i klangvariasjoner kombinert med folketoner, elektronikk og improvisasjon. Gitaren er hovedinstrumentet, men de to blåserne (Susan Mckenzie – sopransaksofon og Chris Greive –trombone) sammen med strykerne (The Edinburgh Quartet) har fremtredende roller som solister og musikalsk grunnfjell. Man kann nærmest fornemme det skotske landskapet når man hører plata. Høye fjell, frodige mosegrønne daler, åpne landskaper, sjøsprøyt, slott, middelalder og en pittoresk pub med… ja, whiskey. Det er med andre ord melodiøst og forankret i tradisjonelle musikalske uttrykk, men uten at musikken på noen måte kan sammenlignes med tradisjonell pubmusikk. Musikken har mer et kammermusikkpreg, noe The Edinburgh Quartet i stor grad har skylden for. Musikken og gjennomføringen er fri og uten bindinger, men framstår samtidig som strukturert og vell gjennomført.

«In perpetuity»er en absolutt hørverdig plate.

English translation

Like the Vikings, guitarist and composer Haftor Medbøe found his way to the British isles. In contrast to his forefathers, Medbøe has a more approachable tone. This has resulted in his making several Scottish friends and included them in Haftor Medbøe Group. Their second album In Perpetuity takes the the listener into a continuum, an experiment in timbral variations combined with folk-tones, electronics and improvisation. The guitar is the lead instrument but the two horn-players (Susan Mckenzie – soprano saxophone and Chris Greive –trombone) alongside the strings (The Edinburgh QuartetP) have significant roles as soloists and musical foundations. One can almost sense the Scottish landscape when one listens to the album. High mountains, lush moss-green valleys, open landscapes, sea-spray, castles, the middle-ages and a picturesque pub with … yes, whiskey (sic). In other words it is melodic and anchored in traditional musical expression but without it being in any way compared to traditional pub music. The music has more of a chamber music feel, something to a great extent attributable to the Edinburgh Quartet. The music and its performance is free and without restraints but is at the same time structured and well executed.

In Perpetuity is an absolutely listen-worthy record.

Lars Rønn – Jazznyt January 2007