20th anniversary: Norwegian experimental jazz band Jaga Jazzist. (Photo: Dagbladet)
The story of Jaga Jazzist started at the 1994 Norwegian Championships in Janissary in Trondheim.
During the long bus trip back from band camp, 17-year-old Martin Horntveth and Ivar Christian Johansen talked about playing in a marching band versus making their own music.
– We had an idea that we were tired of band music, and concluded that we would start our own band, Martin tells NRK.no.
The next thing that happened was that some people from the community gathered at Martin, Lars and Line Horntveth’s home where they started a kind of jazz club where they were watching jazz movies and eating cake.
– It was an alternative to the local jazz club Urijazz in Tønsberg.
From “Jævla” to Jaga
During this period, Martin wrote a song called “Jævla Jazzist” (“jævla” means damn). It lasted about two minutes, and those who were present that night all played the song.
It was the start of the band and the title became their name. However, only a few weeks later they changed it.
The rest is history. Jaga Jazzist have many fans worldwide and are still going strong. Except in one area, Martin adds.
– Half of the band have their own family, so we do not do very long tours anymore. It is not easy to spend up to 7 weeks inside a tour bus. Aside from that, we have not changed.
Ever since the debut in 1994, Jaga Jazzist is described as an experimental band with a focus on several genres. They mix jazz, rock and electronic music with delicate balance, and capture their audience with great musical constellations. The band has always been keen to push their musical limits and spent their last album to capture the music in live format.
In June 2015, Jaga Jazzist release a 20th anniversary music box containing several goodies, according to Martin Horntveth.
– It will contain a lot of new material, a new version from the “A Livingroom Hush” recordings, some unreleased material as well as a large, 24-page booklet with interviews, flashbacks and images.
Text modified by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews