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Jaga Jazzist brings experimental vibes to the Troubadour

June 20, 2011 |  1:45 pm

The idea of a nine-piece Norwegian avant jazz band sounds a bit overwhelming on paper. And it should, especially considering the manner in which the members of Jaga Jazzist send their electro-inflected prog sounds exploding in all directions.

The sound, combined with their inherent Viking mystique (how could we not slip that in there?) is what they'll be unpacking Monday night at the Troubadour on the opening date of their North American tour. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Since their beginning 15 years ago, the experimental nonet has been an unrivaled creative force in the world of European jazz. Theirs is a long, convoluted history that starts with the acclaimed contorted compositions of their 1994 debut, "Livingroom Hush," and weaves its way to their most recent Ninja Tune release, "One-Armed Bandit," in 2010. It's a sound that comes slathered with the vibrant brush strokes of Mahavishnu Orchestra, polyrhythmic madness via Fela Kuti and the icy timing of electro demigod Aphex Twin.

Aside from hefty lodging and airfare bills, Jaga's nine-piece structure, complete with a full horn section, allows them to put on a compelling, untethered live show that fills the stage and most likely the area directly in front of it. 

Spearheaded by founding member and tenor sax player Lars Horntveth, the band's latest tour also includes a chain of stops right up to Canada. Though the Troubadour is nowhere near as palatial as T√łnsberg Domkirke, a church in southern Norway, we thought the above video of their performance there might help illustrate their proclivity to take a lofty sound filled with spacey, rhythmic quirks and transform it into a borderline religious experience.


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