Jan Gunnar Hoff - LIVING
LIVING is Jan Gunnar Hoff's first solo piano album. His personal blend of different styles and influences is presented in its purest form - simply music. Some of Hoff's pieces are meditative and expressive, while others have a strong rhythmic nerve, creating contrast and variation in the programme.
Jan Gunnar Hoff has worked extensively as a bandleader and jazz artist since 1992, developing a distinctive musical style. His band with a.o. Audun Kleive and Bjørn Kjellemyr had its breakthrough at Vossa Jazz 1995 and later played at the London Jazzfestival, Molde Int. Jazzfestival and several major festivals and venues in Scandinavia.
Hoff's jazzcompositions have been performed in collaborations with Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Alex Acuña, Maria João, Mathias Eick and many others. He has made a number of albums in his own name and has composed 180 works for different ensembles. Hoff is also teaching as a professor at the Universities of Tromsø and Kristiansand.
As a sideman Hoff has contributed to numerous recordings in different genres. He was the arranger and ensemble leader of Quiet Winter Night, Grammy-nominated for Best Surround Sound in 2013, an album where he successfully merges elements of jazz, folk and popular music.
Hoff's collaboration with 2L and Morten Lindberg is continued on LIVING. This is a solo piano journey that carries Hoff's artistic identity further into his own musical terrain, enhanced by the crystal clear recording from Sofienberg Church in Oslo.
"Hoff's writing and playing possesses an almost pop-like clarity and concision, but with a far richer vernacular." John Kelman, AllAboutJazz.com
I started playing the piano at the age of 10. Early on I began improvising on the classical pieces that my piano teacher gave me. I made minor variations in the melodies and learnt a lot of music by ear. A few years later I listened to artists like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rick Wakeman, Deep Purple, Ketil Bjørnstad, Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett and Weather Report. Edvard Grieg was also a major influence. I have always felt as being part of a crossover tradition somewhere between jazz, classical and popular music. The melody for me is the strongest part of music.
I spend a lot of time searching for thematic substance and try to develop this into tunes or larger compositions. In order to make the melodies "come alive" I seek to express emotion and passion in the performance itself. There is also a strong link between improvisation and composition. Many of my pieces emerge from improvising on the piano or are captured from a sequencer session. I start writing a lot of small sketches, then choose which ideas to develop further. Jan Gunnar Hoff, 2013