Plastic Strip and Jazzagression Records are proud to present the exclusive re-release of the Guttorm Guttormsen Quartet two rare albums, Soturnudi (1975) and Albufeira (1979) on CD and a limited edition pressed vinyl (500 copies only).
Both albums are highly sought after items amongst record collectors in Scandinavia and is regarded as the hidden gems of the Scandinavian 70s jazz scene, partly because of the killer tracks Ny Latin, Sol Fa and I ro og mak. Both albums is colored by an original home made aesthetic that disregarded allot of highbrow jazz traditions- you can hear spiritual jazz, Latin jazz, folk music inspiration- but most of all there is an Norwegian lyrical quality to it.
Guttorm Guttormsen was born on the 28th of June 1950 into a musical family in the town of Mo I Rana, situated in the North of Norway. At an early age Guttormsen began playing flute, clarinet and saxophone and 19 years old, Guttormsen enrolled in His Majesty’s Guard Band in Oslo to serve his military service and got in contact with Oslos jazzscene. But the defining moment in his musical career came when he went to the little town of Skien. What was supposed to be a teaching stint, resulted in running a jazz club, founding his own quintet/big band and working as a musical director for the Theatre Ibsen up until this day.
Early 1974 the drummer Espen Rud and bass player Carl Morten Iversen was looking for musicians to form a quartet. Both were prominent figures on the Norwegian jazz scene; Rud had played amongst others with Svein Finnerud Trio and singer Karin Krog and Iversen had worked with several famous protest singers and jazz acts. The duo quickly realized that the most talented musicians in Oslo were occupied, so they traveled to Skien to hunt down Guttormsen, who accepted the offer on the spot. The last member of the quartet became the young pianist Brynjulf Blix who at the time played in the fusion outfit Moose Loose and Terje Rypdal's Odyssey.
In July 1975 the group recorded their first LP Soturnudi. (pressed in 1000 copies).The LP was released the same year by MAI who was a part of the Nordic scene of progressive left side labels. The record was well received and the group toured all over Norway from Lindesnes in the south to Kirkenes near the Russian border.
When the quartet was ready to record their second LP Albufeira (pressed in 500 copies) the line up had changed extensively. Rud decided to quit and was replaced first by Tom Olstad and then by Jørgen Næss; a hip young drummer on the Oslo scene. Blix was first replaced by Jon Balke, then by Lars Jansson and Erling Aksdal, before fellow Skien resident Rune Klakegg joined the quartet. This time Klakegg and Iversen joined in to write more of the groups material with Guttormsen, including Klakegg's I ro og mak one of the most serene ballads ever recorded in Norway. The summer of 79' the quartet went into the small home basement studio BEL and recorded straight to a two-track Ampex recorder. The result was released the same year on the small label OCTAVE, an obscure label mainly releasing psychedelic children records. The group again toured and received critical acclaim, but soon dismantled as the members focused on other projects.
The Guttorm Guttormsen Quartet story is one of many groups who never ended up as jazz superstars, but shows the amazing wealth of creativity and quality output during the first golden era of Norwegian jazz.