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Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Håkon Kornstad

Livereview All About Jazz

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten & Håkon Kornstad Ingebrigt Håker Flaten & Håkon Kornstad Monkeytown Brooklyn April 10, 2009 It was fitting that the US debut of bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and saxophonist Håkon Kornstad's exquisite Elise project—Flaten's arrangements of traditional Norwegian hymns sung by his grandmother—took place on Good Friday (April 10th).

The setting, Williamsburg's Monkeytown, at first might have seemed less than devout but became its own little cathedral under the influence of the visiting Scandinavians. Facing each other, Flaten and Kornstad (tenor sax and fluteonette), gave more of a recital than a performance, the dynamics and textures demanding absolute silence. Monkeytown's layout has the performers in the center of the high-ceilinged room, playing inside four video screens. The visuals were provided by Norwegian artist Marius Watz and either bathed the duo in bright geometric light or consumed them in total darkness, only the glow from two candles illuminating them. This effect heightened the mysterious qualities of the music, beautiful melodies sparsely undertaken, Flaten avoiding the more boisterous adornment for which he is better known. Kornstad, who has previously engaged in elegant duo explorations with pianist Håvard Wiik, was an ideal partner, aesthetically as well as culturally. Elise was one of the most sublime albums of 2008 and lost little of its impact live. The only wish would be for a performance in an actual house of worship or perhaps the open air, allowing the spacious music room to expand further.

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If I communicated I could thank you engouh for this, I'd be lying.

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