Frode Haltli: Avant Folk Triptyk
Frode Haltli ‘Avant Folk’ is an all-star cast of Norwegian musicians spanning all ages, generations and genres, an elaboration of Frode Haltli’s work somewhere in the twilight zone between jazz, contemporary and folk music. Jazzland Recordings is proud to present ‘Avant Folk Triptyk’, the third album by this exceptional constellation of musicians led by one of the Norwegian scene’s most unique and innovative band leaders.
The music is an eclectic brew of diverse ingredients, with jazz jostling and bubbling through different permutations among elements of far-flung ethnicity; soundscapes past, present and future; deep space soundtracks and mood music for a mad professor’s laboratory; melodies both primal and hyper-evolved; rhythms that could underpin the most manic free-bop or coolest hip-hop. The whole melange is shot through with the distinct flavours of Haltli’s accordion, and it is this key component that manages to not only bind the music seamlessly but to remove it from any obvious genre or timeframe – the music is strange, yet familiar; it carries a voluminous musical history, yet is timeless.
Frode Haltli founded Avant Folk in 2017, and the ensemble has a distinguished and recognisable sound that blends acoustic and electric instruments, with musical inspiration from past and present.
The debut album ‘Avant Folk’ (2018) received acclaim both in Norway and abroad. ‘A fascinating and darkly lovely experience’ according to Peter Bacon in the London Jazz News. The follow-up ‘Avant Folk II’ (2021) gained further praise, and Martin Longley of Songlines stated that ‘The folk tradition is only part of the narrative, with no shortage of jazz, ambient and new music traits swirling around in the vistas.’
The ensemble has played a number of international festivals, and has earned a reputation as a vital and solid live band. Their televised live show at the main stage of Jazzahead in Bremen, Germany, made way for further international festival invitations, and on their Vossa Jazz Festival appearance in Norway in 2019, Joseph Woodard in All About Jazz stated ‘By my biased account, Haltli’s mesmerizing and newly-commissioned set, for a ten-piece ensemble including Hardanger fiddle player Erlend Apneseth and conventional violin, horns (with saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, also in Haltli’s juicy cool band POING), was the most memorable show of the festival.’
‘Ritualised choral chants and skronky electric guitar add textures and lustre, subverting possible expectations of an album whose principal instrument is the humble accordion. It may be called Avant Folk but it’s so much more than that.’
Sid Smith, Prog Magazine