Alto saxophonist Carl Magnus Neumann (b.1944) have been around for decades on the Norwegian jazz scene, known for his expressive and honest, yet gentle lyrical sound. After talking to dozens of musicians over the last five years, it is no exaggeration when I call Calle your favorite musicians, favorite musician - few have left such an impression in both audience and fellow musicians.
To summarize Calle career in these few lines is impossible, but some short words. Calle started playing the flute, before picking up the clarinet, playing in different trad. bands in the late fifties. He then left Oslo for a few years, working as a sailor, traveling from China to Latin America and back again. The first thing he did when he returned to Oslo was to buy a brand new saxophone and a brand new suit, and after just a few years, Calle was a household name on the scene. Over the years he played R'n'B, soul and blues with The Sapphires, Arild Wikstrøm, Public Enemies, Webster Lewis, The Band No Name and jazz with Roy Hellvin, Christian Reim, Terje Rypdal, Dizzy Gillespie, Fred Nøddelund, Arild Boman, Mal Waldron, Jimmy Hopps, Karin Krog, Svein Finnerud Trio, Helge Hurum, Kråbøl and AHA- just to name a few.
But this release documents Calle's own compositions and constellations during the 70s and as festival composer for the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in 1981. The two sessions from 70' and 74' was recorded for the Norwegian Broadcasting Bureau and aired in the programs Norske Jazzprofiler and Norsk Jazzkveld. In these sessions Calle recorded allot of his own compositions with a group of excellent musicians that he played with regularly over the years.
In 1981 the Kongsberg Jazz Festival commissioned Neumann to be the festival composer, which resulted in what have been called Calle's “comeback” concert, after a few years of musical hiatus. On the 27th of June 1981, Neumann together with pianist Ola Calmeyer, bass player Kay Hartvigsen and drummer Tom Olstad stood on the stage in a fully packed Kongsberg Kino. With them were 4 cellists, directed by Fred Nøddelund, an original lineup chosen after Calle's own request. The audience was amazed by what they heard and instead of the music going into oblivion, some cheeky NRK technicians had rigged up microphones that the band didn’t know of, therefore the recordings exists today.
Last autumn I visited Calle, close to Risør in the south of Norway, where he and his partner have made a new home. Calle was as warm and impulsive as ever and was working hard everyday writing new music, which he recorded in his newly built studio. I’m looking forward to hearing the new sounds.