Silje Nergaard (7pm eastern) + Ketil Bjørnstad, solo (8pm eastern)
Tuesday, November 24

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 jazz singer Silje Nergaard — who performs a stripped-down set of her biggest hits with pianist Espen Berg; followed by the polymathic pianist Ketil Bjørnstad who performs compositions from across his 50 year career.

Multi-award-winning Norwegian jazz singer, Silje Nergaard, is a well-established artist with the world as her playground. She has released 16 albums since her debut in 1990. Her musical career got off to a flying start when, at only 16, Nergaard got up on stage in an impromptu jam session with Jaco Pastorius’ Band at Molde International Jazz Festival. The legendary jazz music critic, Randi Hultin, was in the audience — and the next-day the newspaper reviews announced Norway’s new big jazz discovery.

Silje’s debut single ‘Tell me Where You’re Going’ — recorded with guitar legend, Pat Metheny — was released in 1990 and instantly became an international success. It went straight to the top of the Japanese charts. Her album, At First Light (2001), is the best-selling jazz album of all time in Norway — it sold more than 140,000 copies and spent 17 weeks on the charts. The single, ‘Be Still My Heart’,  became Silje’s signature hit and from then on, she has been a household name on the international jazz scene. In 2008, she recorded the album, A Thousand True Stories, with the Metropole Orchest in Holland, under the baton of Grammy Award-winning composer, Vince Mendoza. The title track received a Grammy Nomination in the US.

Silje is a pioneering artist in the international jazz scene and has developed her own unique sound and style — both as a singer and a composer. She has toured worldwide with her music, performing and collaborating with the likes of Al Jarreau, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Kurt Elling, Toots Thielmans, and a-ha’s Morten Harket. Manhattan Transfer is one of many acts that have covered Silje’s music. Alongside composing, Silje frequently tours both domestic and internationally. In 2020, Silje Nergaard celebrates her 30-year anniversary as an artist by releasing two new albums.

In this concert, Silje brings on piano player, Espen Berg, to perform a stripped-down set including her biggest hits.

Personnel: Silje Nergaard (vocals), Espen Berg (piano)

— Ketil Bjørnstad (born 25 April 1952 in Oslo, Norway) is a pianist, composer, and author. Initially trained as a classical pianist, Bjørnstad discovered jazz at an early age and has embraced the emergence of the European jazz scene. He is an artist on the ECM label and has collaborated with other ECM artists, including cellists Svante Henryson and David Darling, drummer Jon Christensen, and guitarist Terje Rypdal.

Bjørnstad showed great talent at a young age, and won the title of ‘Youth Piano Master’ in 1966 and 1968. When he was 16, he made his debut as a concert pianist with Béla Bartók’s third piano concerto. He subsequently turned towards jazz and rock, in close cooperation with guitarist Terje Rypdal, bassist Arild Andersen, drummer Jon Christensen, and the American cellist David Darling. He is the most recorded artist in Norway with more than 70 albums under his name. He has also written around 50 books. Most of his records were made in Rainbow Studio with the late Norwegian sound technician extraordinaire, Jan Erik Kongshaug.

On ECM, Bjørnstad has released the albums Water Stories (1993) The Sea (1995), The River (1996), The Sea II (1998), Epigraphs (2000), Life in Leipzig (2008), Remembrance (2009), Night Song (2011), La Notte (2013),  SunriseA Cantata on Texts by Edvard Munch (2013), A Passion for John Donne (2014), and A Suite Of Poems (2018). In 2014, Bjørnstad played for more than 50,000 people, outdoor at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in Korea, with Terje Rypdal.

In this concert, Bjørnstad improvises over songs from more than 50 years as a recording artist.

Personnel: Ketil Bjørnstad (piano)


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 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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