Hedvig Mollestad Trio (7pm eastern) + Eivind Aarset Quartet (8pm eastern)
Tuesday, December 1

Big Ears is proud to be the exclusive North American presenter of the Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival, a series of streaming concerts featuring 15 of the most important acts in Nordic jazz. This concert features a double bill of guitarist, Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, leading a trio that sits at the fertile intersection of jazz and metal; followed by electric guitarist Eivind Aarset, a jazz fusion pioneer, leading a quartet through a dynamic set of original compositions.

— Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen is a Norwegian guitarist, composer, and improviser active in both the hard rock and jazz scenes. She leads her own trio with bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Joe Bjørnstad, and has collaborated with jazz and rock artists. Her sound is comprised of hard rock and heavy metal elements — in particular the influence of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin — and the skronky jazz sounds of improvisers such as Sonny Sharrock, James Blood Ulmer, and Pete Cosey, evidenced by the albums All of Them Witches (2013) and Black Stabat Mater (2016).

Thomassen was born in Ålesund, Møre og Romsdal, Norway in 1982. She began playing guitar at the age of ten on her mother’s nylon-string instrument. While she had no ‘formal’ musical education to speak of, her training ground was her father’s extensive jazz and rock & roll record collection. Still in high school, she translated a biography of Jimi Hendrix for a school project. She immersed herself not only in his groundbreaking work, but also in the guitar styles of everyone from Jimmy Page to Sonny Sharrock, Fred Frith to Pete Cosey, and John McLaughlin to Carlos Santana. Before forming her trio, she collaborated with a wide swath of musical personalities and ensembles including the Bronco Busters, Sweet Potatoes, Vom, and her own early Mollestad Trio. She won the Jazztalentprisen for Young Jazz Talent of the Year at the Molde International Jazz Festival in Norway that same year. She formed the Hedvig Mollestad Trio with Brekken and Bjørnstad immediately after. In early 2018, Mollestad’s trio issued Smells Funny for Rune Grammofon, a reappraisal of hard rock that showcased the guitarist’s growing reputation for original riffs and deep, unwieldy, emotional solos.

Personnel: Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen (guitar), Ellen Brekken (bass), Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (drums)


EIVIND AARSET QUARTET — Eivind Aarset is a guitarist with a unique musical vision that absorbs and reflects all manners of music while retaining an enviable individualism and high quality craftsmanship that can span from quiet intimacy to searing intensity. His debut as a bandleader on Jazzland Recordings was described by the New York Times as “One of the best post-Miles electric jazz albums… ” setting a high benchmark that Aarset has consistently met and exceeded, both in the studio and in live performance.

As one of Norway’s most in-demand guitarists, Eivind Aarset has worked with Jon Hassell, David Sylvian, Bill Laswell, Jan Garbarek, Paolo Fresu, Marilyn Mazur, J.Peter Schwalm, Mike Manieri, Marc Ducret, Michel Benitas Ethics, Martux-M, Stefano Battaglia, Michele Rabbia, Talvin Singh, and Andy Sheppard. He has worked with Nils Petter Molvaer’s band, (appearing on all of Molvaer’s albums, including the breakthrough album Khmer and 2006’s award-winning ER). He also has collaborated with Dhafer Youssef, both live and in the studio.

Personnel: Eivind Aarset (guitar), Audun Erlien (bass), Wetle Holte (drums), Erland Dahlen (drums)


Big Ears stream of the Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival is available only to viewers in North America (USA, Canada, Mexico). The stream will be hosted on Mandolin.com. Tickets are $8 (plus service charges) in advance and $10 day of show. Viewers may also purchase access to the Entire 15-Set Norwegian Jazz Festival via Big Ears for $50. For those unable to watch the initial stream of this presentation, it will be available for replay for 48 hours after the initial stream (note: tickets may only be purchased, however, before or during the initial broadcast).

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