Ever since his career began, Norwegian jazz trumpeter Arve Henriksen has been on a mission to reinvent the jazz trumpet. Arve’s raison d’etre has been to push musical boundaries and challenge musical norms. He’s taken the jazz trumpet to destinations its previously never dared visit. That’s why twenty-two years after his first featured on Bjorn Alterhaug’s Constellations, Arve has established a reputation as a world class and innovative trumpeter. That’s why he’s the go-to-guy for anyone looking for an inventive, imaginative and innovative trumpeter. 

Over the past twenty-two years, Arve has featured on over one-hundred albums. No wonder. He’s determined to innovate and create groundbreaking music. To do this, Arve isn’t afraid to use a whole host of effects and electronics. That’s why David Sylvian, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Ian Ballamy’s Food, Terje Rypdal and Jon Balke have Arve’s phone number. Away from guest appearances and session work, Arve’s a songwriter, producer and musician. 

Arve’s also a longtime member of Norwegian jazz group Supersilent. Since they were formed in 1997, Supersilent have released eleven albums between 1998 and 2010. Then there’s Arve’s solo career. 

Somehow, in between session work, guest appearances and releasing eleven albums with Supersilent, Arve Henriksen has found time to release a quartet of solo albums. That quartet will become a quintet on 21st October 2013, when Places Of Worship will be released on Rune Grammofon. Just like his four previous albums, Arve Henriksen is determined to push musical boundaries and take his music in another direction. Before I tell you which direction that is, I’ll tell you about Arve’s solo career.

By the time Arve Henriksen released his 2001 debut album, Sakuteiki, he was already an experienced and innovative musician. He’d spent ten years playing on other people’s albums, plus had released five albums with Supersilent. Sakuteiki was an innovative, groundbreaking combination of classical, experimental and jazz, which was released on Rune Grammofon. This brought Arve Henriksen to the attention of a much wider audience. 

It wasn’t until 2004 that Arve Henriksen released his sophomore album Chiaroscuro. The reason for this delay was Arve’s schedule. He seemed to be working nonstop. This included working with John Balke, Wunderkammer, Food and Sinikka Langeland. Then there was Supersilent sixth album, 6, which was released in 2003. Chiaroscuro was worth the wait. Released on Rune Grammofon, and was a genre-melting album, where influences and genres became one. With every solo album, Arve’s reputation grew.

After another three year gap, Arve returned with his third solo album Strjon in 2007. Futuristic and experimental, Arve Henriksen continued to release music that was ahead of the musical curve. Arve couldn’t have been on a better label than Rune Grammofon. They embraced adventurous and avant garde music.

Proof of this was Solidification, a box set of Arve’s music. It featured his first three albums plus his a new album Chron. Released on Rune Grammofon in December 2012, this meant Arve had released just four albums in eleven years. Hardly prolific you might say. Well, things seem to be changing for Arve Henriksen. 

Just eleven months after the release of Solidification, Arve Henriksen returns with his fifth album Places Of Worship. It’ll be released on Rune Grammofon, on 21st October 2013. Described as: “a series of tone poems and mood pieces,” Places Of Worship is reflective of Norwegian geology. It reflects the countryside and environment, especially the religious buildings and ruins that can be found throughout Norway. The music reflects this. Understated, ethereal, haunting, reflective, sacred and fearful, Places Of Worship sees Arve continue to create innovative music.

Places Of Worship features ten tracks. Of these ten tracks, Arve Henriksen, Jan Bang and Erik Honore cowrote six tracks, Adhan, Saraswati, Le Cimetière Marin, The Sacristan, Portal and Bayon. The trio penned Alhambra with Eivind Aarset. Arve Henriksen and Erik Honor cowrote Lament, while Arve and Jan Bang penned Abandoned Cathedral. Erik Honore contributed Shelter From The Storm, which closes Places Of Worship. These ten tracks became Places Of Worship.

Recording of Places Of Worship took place at Punkt Studio, Kristiansand. Jan Bang and Erik Honore produced Places Of Worship. Arve played trumpet, while Jan Bang took charge of samples and Erik Honore looked after synths, drum programming and samples. Other musicians included guitarist Eivind Aarset, double bassist Lars Danielsson and pianist Jon Balke. These musicians played their part in the ten-song, forty-one minutes musical journey that is Places Of Worship.

Adhan, which opens Places Of Worship, has an almost spiritual, Eastern sound. As the days dawns, a call to worship and birdsong provide the backdrop to the new day. Then with synths providing a meandering accompaniment to his hauntingly beautiful trumpet solo, plays with feeling, tenderness and emotion. Floating in and out of the arrangement are spiritual, ethereal harmonies. They’re the finishing touch to this haunting and spiritual track where classical, ambient, jazz and electronica combine seamlessly.

Saraswati is driven along by a bass while the rest of the arrangement is a meandering, bubbling mix of synths and samples. Sitting proudly atop the arrangement in Arve’s rasping trumpet solo. He’s like the keeper of Miles Davis’ flame, picking up where Miles left off. In Arve’s hands, the trumpet takes on a life of its own. Behind him, an atmospheric and evocative backdrop unfolds. It paints cinematic pictures that are emotive, moving and melancholy.

There’s a dark, pensive sound to Le Cimetière Marin. Just synths and sample provide the understated, thoughtful backdrop to his trumpet. Probing and questioning, Arve looks for answers, answers he doesn’t find. Neither does anyone else. Question are left unanswered. Meanwhile, the arrangement in understated and spacious, sometimes, taking on a futuristic, space-age, sci-fi sound. Having said that, there’s an ethereal beauty and a hint of mystery to the track.

Spacious, melancholy and mysterious, The Sacristan is a soul-searching track. From the opening bars, when an acoustic guitar and piano are joined by Arve’s tender, rasping horns musical genres unite. Everything from jazz, classical music, ambient and electronica influence this track. Washes of synths and a wistful horn tug at your heartstrings.

Waves of celestial beauty unfold as Lament reveals its secrets and subtleties. Subtle describes the arrangement. It allows the ethereal and spiritual beauty of Arve’s vocal to take centre-stage. Angelic harmonies float in and out, while a tender, heartfelt horn almost matches the ethereal and spiritual beauty of Arve’s vocal. Almost but not quite. After all, Arve’s Lament seems to come from on high.

Portal describes what Arve becomes on Portal. He’s a means of allowing this haunting, delicate and mesmeric music to be heard. It flows through him, using him as its egress. Lush strings and a pulsating bass join percussion and a myriad of eerie samples. Sometimes, the track takes on an Eastern sound. Other times, classical and cinematic describes this compelling, haunting soundscape.

Slowly, Alhambra reveals its subtle secrets. You listen intently, for fear you might miss something. It’s not unlike a city awaking. A series, of variously subtle, delicate, fragile and discordant sounds escapes from the arrangement. Crystalline guitars, percussion, rasping trumpet and piano join woodwind. Together, they create an atmospheric, evocative and multilayered backdrop. Sometimes there’s an Eastern sound, other times, unsurprisingly, there’s a Spanish sound to a track whose mysterious sound and myriad of influences is compelling, spellbinding and melancholy.

On Bayon, swathes of strings join Arve’s tender, thoughtful horn. Then a broody, synth bass adds a sense of foreboding. You sense something isn’t quite right. It dominates everything. It’s like a harbinger of doom. Arve’s horn seems to be a messenger, bringing a warning of what’s about to happen. Gradually, washes of dramatic, moody music envelop the rest of the arrangement. Despite the protestations of Arve’s horn, there’s nothing he can do but surrender. Sensing resistance is futile, he’s engulfed, as the track reaches its wistful, pensive crescendo.

Waves of atmospheric music open Abandoned Cathedral. As it reaches a dramatic, discordant peak, you can picture it high on a desolate hillside. Painting this picture is the haunting, ethereal beauty of Arve’s trumpet. Just a few notes are the equivalent to a thousand words. Like a picture, he paints pictures with music. Using broad and confident brushstrokes, the Abandoned Cathedral unfolds. You can picture its rugged beauty, a sanctuary from the outside world which few people know exists. Those that do, are the lucky, and chosen few.

Shelter From The Storm closes Places Of Worship. It has a pastoral sound. Just piano, trumpet and then Arve’s tender, thoughtful vocal. Slowly, tenderly and with emotion, he delivers each word with care. Behind him, piano and fleeting bursts of woodwind play supporting roles on this heartfelt paean to this Shelter From The Storm.

Although ostensibly a jazz album, Places Of Worship is much more than that. Arve Henriksen fuses contemporary jazz with classical, ambient and electronic music. Samples, synths and drum machines are every bit as important as what most people would consider “jazz instruments.” Without the synths, samples and drum machines, the double bass and Arve’s trumpet wouldn’t get the opportunity to shine. On Places Of Worship, Arve Henriksen combines the old and new. In doing so, he creates the music of the future. 

Having called Places Of Worship the music of the future, it’s not futuristic. No.Despite that, it’s inventive, innovative and imaginative. It’s also understated, subtle and thoughtful. Melancholy and wistful, Places Of Worship is very much cerebral, mood music. The ten tracks are a thoughtful musical journey. You think about the music and what it means. Pictures are painted and you can imagine the pictures Arve Henriksen is painting. They’re variously calm, minimalistic, pastoral, ethereal, bleak and beautiful. This has allowed Arve Henriksen to continue on his journey to make inventive, imaginative and innovative music. 

The ten tone poems and mood pieces on Places Of Worship are of the quality of music we’ve come to expect from Arve Henriksen. He’s not just one of the top trumpeters in Norway, but the world. A world class and innovative musician, Arve Henriksen’s raison d’etre is to push musical boundaries and challenge musical norms. He’s done that on Places Of Worship…and much more. So much so, that on Places Of Worship Arve Henriksen,  the keeper of Miles Davis’ flame, takes jazz music to destinations its previously never dared visit before. Standout Tracks: Adhan, Lament, Portal and Abandoned Cathedral.


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