Jaga Jazzist

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Live at Molde International Jazz Festival, 2009.
"I think you can hear with many Norwegian acts that they're from Norway, especially in the jazz scene, that they have some kind of melodic, Nordic thing going on. With Jaga I try to steer away from it, but I grew up with ECM Records and all that stuff so it's in our system. And here in Norway it's really hard to get on the radio without being really nostalgic. Everything has to be kind of depressing to be popular."
Lars Hornthveth, in an interview with The Quietus

Jaga Jazzist is a band from Norway whose style defies categorization beyond the vague label of Nujazz. They began as a mix of big-band Jazz and trip-hop (on Grete Stitz), then they added drum-n-bass and other electronic influences (on A Livingroom Hush and The Stix). Then they added Post Rock (on What We Must), then prog- and math-rock (on One-Armed Bandit).



  • Lars Horntveth: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet, flute, guitar, piano, Mellotron, Roland SH-2 keyboards, programming, lap steel guitar, glockenspiel, tamboura, e-bow banjo, vocals
  • Line Horntveth: tuba, flute, melodica, percussion, vocals
  • Martin Horntveth: drums, percussion, synth-drums, drum machines, programming, keyboards, bulbul tarang, marxophone, mandolin harp, psaltery, bells, temple blocks, spike piano
  • Andreas Mjøs: guitar, percussion, glockenspiel, marimba, vibraphone, drums, keyboards, Korg MS10, omnichord, crotales, percussion
  • Even Ormestad (since 1995): bass, percussion, glockenspiel, keyboards
  • Mathias Eick (since 1998): trumpet, french horn, keyboards, upright bass, salina strings, vocals
  • Erik Johannessen (since 2005): trombone, marxophone, percussion
  • Øystein Moen (since 2008): synthesizers, piano, organ, percussion
  • Marcus Forsgren (since 2009): guitar, effects


  • Harald Frøland (1994–2007): guitar, synths, effects
  • Ivar Christian Johansen (1994–2001): trumpet, vocals, keyboards
  • Jonas Bendiksen (1994–1997): keyboards
  • Lars Wabø (1994–2005): trombone, euphonium
  • Mads Jansen (1994): trombone
  • Marius Hesby (1994): trombone
  • Thomas Viken (1994) tenor saxophone
  • Lars Erik Myran (1994): bass
  • Jørgen Munkeby (1995–2002): flute, alto flute, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, harmonica, glockenspiel, keyboards
  • Håvard Myklebust (1996): trombone
  • Torgeir Audunson (1996–1997): trumpet
  • Bjørn Strand (1997): tenor saxophone
  • Sjur Miljeteig (1997): trumpet
  • Morten Qvenild (2001): synthesizer, piano, cassette tape-recorder
  • Ketil Einarsen (2002–2005): flute, alto flute, toy saxophone, wind controller keyboards, percussion
  • Andreas Hessen Schei (2002–2007): synthesizers, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, piano, Mellotron, vocals
  • Nils Martin Larsen (2005): keyboards
  • Anders Hana (2005): guitar, effects
  • Stian Westerhus (2008–2009): electric guitar, baritone guitar, 12-string guitar, harp, effects, percussion

  • Jævla Jazzist Grete Stitz (1996; not released outside Norway)
    • Magazine EP (1998 in Norway; 2004 internationally)
  • A Livingroom Hush (2001 in Norway; 2002 internationally)
    • Airborne / Going Down EP (2001 in Norway)
  • The Stix (2002 in Norway; 2003 internationally)
    • Day EP (2002 in Norway; 2004 internationally, with additional remixes and live tracks)
    • Animal Chin EP (2003)
    • In the Fishtank 10 (2003) A collaboration between Motorpsycho and Lars Horntveth, Mathias Eick, and Jørgen Munkeby (credited as Jaga Jazzist Horns).
  • What We Must (2005)
  • One-Armed Bandit (2010)
    • Bananfleur Overalt EP (2010)

Jaga Jazzist provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: The protagonist of the "Airborne" video opens a celebratory bottle of champagne, completely unaware that a gunman is taking aim at him. The cork flies off the bottle and hits the gunman.
  • ASCII Art: For the Norwegian release of The Stix, the back cover has the album credits formatted in the shape of a mountain range.
  • Animated Music Video: "Animal Chin", "Day", and "Two Things".
  • Band of Relatives: Martin, Lars, and Line are siblings--and nearly the only members who've been with the band since the beginning.
  • Epic Rocking: Many. Their longest proper song is "Toccata" (9 minutes), while their longest track is "Out of Reach (or Switched Off)" (28 minutes, but see Leave the Camera Running, below).
  • Excited Show Title!: "Music! Dance! Drama!"
  • Flying Car: Used in the "Animal Chin" music video.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Jævla Jazzist Grete Stitz is a parody of this--their debut album is a retrospective of their (non-existent) prior career.
  • Growing the Beard: Martin Horntveth, in an interview with Prog-Sphere, cited A Livingroom Hush as the album that changed JJ, and which they consider their true debut.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The song portion of "Out of Reach (or Switched Off)" is about six minutes long. It's followed by 22 minutes of what sounds like a TV show host discussing the album.
  • Man in White / Woman in White: The "Day" music video has the entire band wearing identical white suits. The suits begin glowing when the band gains the power of flight.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly
  • Old Shame: In the aforementioned interview, M. Hornthveth described Grete Stitz as "fun, but still a bit embarrassing."
  • Order Versus Chaos: The "Day" music video, at least according to the director:

An industrious group of Jazzists maintains the universal equilibrium by means of knobs and levers. As harmony seems secured their chaotic counterparts get going.

  • Performance Video: "All I Know Is Tonight" has the band playing in a cabin in the middle of a dark forest, while a bunch of taxidermied animals watch them.
  • Scatting: "Swedenborgske Rom" features an a cappella, lyricless interlude. "All I Know Is Tonight" has lyricless singing in unison with the epic horn riff.
  • Stop Motion: Both the "Animal Chin" and "Day" music videos animated cutouts from photographs and magazines (although "Day" also used some vector graphics).
  • Surreal Music Video: "Animal Chin" is so odd that the characters themselves get weirded-out by the proceedings and promptly leave.
  • Tap on the Head: In the "Airborne" music video, the assassin is incapacitated by a popped champagne cork.