Filling the Jazz Happens Bar with Excess Luggage…

It’s always been Enlightened Planet’s goal to bring interesting musicians from around the world to perform in Asia in general, and in Thailand in particular. For seven years now we’ve tried to establish connections to make it easy to get things done when the chances arise.

So, when a Norwegian keyboard player that I know through Australian expat friends in Shanghai and who’s recorded with friends in New York called me on Skype when I was sitting in Sydney and says he needed a gig in Bangkok in two weeks… I just sent a few emails to my Thai promoter and venue owner friends and hoped it would work out. And, in this case, it did…

On November 20th at 9:00pm, Enlightened Planet joins together with Jazz Happens Bar to present Excess Luggage!

Excess Luggage is three highly-regarded Norwegian jazz musicians who pooled their talents together to create a trio based on Hammond B3 organ, piano, and drums. To say this is an “uncommon lineup” is perhaps an understatement… but once they tried it out they discovered that they loved the combination of the “groovy feel of the organ trio with the harmonic and melodic style of the piano trio”, and they wondered why it wasn’t a lineup that was used more often in contemporary jazz.

Of course, the resulting group name says everything about an organ, piano, and drums trio: who’d want to travel with that much “Excess Luggage”?

The organist, Steinar Nickelsen, was elected “Young Norwegian Jazz Musician of the Year” in 2002 with the trio “SOLID!”, which also won the Getxo competition in Spain in 2003. He toured with Trondheim Jazzorchestra and Pat Metheny in 2003. His 2007 CD Nickelsen Trio “Mis en Bouteille au New York” featured Lage Lund and Ari Hoenig.

Vigleik Storaas is one of the most important piano players in Norway. He has received two Norwegian Grammys for his releases with his own trio. He also works as a composer with commissions for the Vossajazz and Trondheim festivals. He has played on more than 20 other jazz records as a sideman with, among others, Karin Krog, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Terje Rypdal, Warne Marsh and John Surman.

Håkon Mjåset Johansen started early to establish himself as one of the leading Norwegian drummers. The trio “Urban  Connection”  was elected “Young Norwegian Jazz Musician of the Year” in 1998. They won a Grammy for their debut “Urban Connection” and were nominated for their second called“French Only”. Håkon has toured with Chick Corea and Trondheim Jazzorchestra in 2000-01, and played quartet with Michael Brecker on the Molde festival in 2003. He has also played with “Motif”, “Solid!” and “Come Shine”.

Their 2011 CD entitled Hand Luggage Only received excellent reviews. “Given this Norwegian trio’s two keyboards-plus-drums instrumentation, there may be the expectation of something avant-garde, or perhaps something reminiscent of ’70s-era prog rock. However, Excess Luggage’s core values are firmly oriented towards aggressive, swinging modern jazz… The playing is first rate, the compositions are strong, and the whole concept just works.” Dave Wayne,

Check out the unique sounds of Excess Luggage at 9:00pm on Tuesday, November 20th, at Jazz Happens Bar in Bangkok, Thailand. Admission is free! Please call for reservations on 02-2829934 or 084-4500505.

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