The title is an excerpt from the poem «Birches» by the American poet Robert Frost, a title that encompass a child´s dream of climbing the treetops and swinging birch branches. It could be read as a reflection over the conflict between the free play in nature and the boundaries of adult life awaiting on the ground… But maybe the ground can wait? Just join the sheer joy of climbing the trees and the careful balance that is needed not to fall and be at one with the flexibility of nature. After several season-related albums, like The Source: of Christmas and The Source: of Summer it is now a pure quartet display out in the tube, only based on original music. The pieces are all signed by the quartet members and covers a vast register; raga, shuffle, swing, lyrical spots, improv and even a rough trombone/drum outing and more.
In the beginning, our playing style was characterized by alternating collective horn solos/haunted by an energetic pulse from the rhythm section. The band initially played short anecdotal pieces influenced by the early Ornette Coleman quartet´s style, but also influenced by other giants of 60-ties´ jazz; like the Miles Davis quintet, David Murray, Albert Ayler, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Roswell Rudd`s various quartet line-ups with saxophonists John Tchicai or Steve Lacy . We also added a little Steve Coleman-esque funk and John Zorn- angularity to the mix.The band´s first release was «Olemann´s Kornett» in 1994 (Curling Legs Prod). A vast concert tour of 40 concerts follows in all of Scandinavia and Germany . Highlights was the concert at Leverkusener Jazz Tage,and later, in the summer, the performance at the Getxo Jazz Festival, also earning us a second prize in a jazz band competition there. In 1995, we released our first Christmas record: «The Source: of Christmas» (Curling Legs Prod). In 2000, a live recording from Kongsberg Jazz Festival 1995 «The MotorSource Massacre» was released: on Stickman Records from a meeting with the Norwegian prog rock band Motorpsycho. This was a summit in a year of a series of performance-like and surrealistic concerts in the wake of the band´s growing reputation for its free jazz approach of the time.
Our longtime cooperation with various string quartets got it`s peak in 2002 on a recording for ECM: “The Source and Different Cikadas” which included the Cikada String Quartet along with Frode Haltli, on accordion, Christian Wallumrød on piano and Arve Henriksen on trumpet. The live performances of this show were produced like a performance with visuals by Trondheim artist Silje Sagjæra, named «Den Pluralistiske sitron» , including kilos of lemons mounted on huge metal sticks like an «accustic yellow light». In September 2000, we even collaborated with Sagfjæra on a concert inside an ice hockey hall, as the Source with bassist Ingebrigt Flaten and Arve Henriksen were free improvising during a match of the teams dressed up in similar pastel outfits! A somewhat surreal «ice hockey-ballet»!
In the years 1996-1998 we had a periode where Arve Henriksen where a «trumpet- bass» when the band lacked a bass player for certain bookings club Jazid in Oslo! In May 1998 we also made a trip to Russia, in a tour where we used Paal Nilsen- Love on drums and Tony Kluften on bass as replacements for two concerts in Akademgorodok and at the Novosibirsk Int. Jazz Festival.
Mats Eilertsen has been constant at the bass chair since 2004, Our first pure quartet recording was released on ECM in 2006: «The Source». This release was followed up by a 7 concerts jazz club tour in Scandinavia and in Europe in 2007.
The Source´ legendary Christmas concert tradition started actually as early as 1995, with the band putting together adventureous Christmas song arrangements partly with the quartet and partly arranged for visiting singers and for a guesting Prime Time Big Band at the club Pigalle in Oslo.These Christmas concerts became a yearly event in mid December.
From 2000 and onwards the band also brought Oriental music to the show. At first we hired the Oslo-based Alghirian singer Cheb Hocine,.but from 2005 we also included invited the Cairo musician Fathy Salama, and his group the Sharkiat. Along with the professional wind band Marinemusikken and singers like Tora Augestad, Anne-Lise Berntsen, Lars Klevstrand, Julius Winger, Marvin Charles and Cheb Hocine, a live recording for our ultimate Christmas album was made: «The Source: of Christmas Live» (released 2007 on Grappa). From 2007, the Indian band Shankara, located in Drammen was also included in those extravagant shows.
This group had tabla player Jay Shankar, his sister Rohini Sahajpal on sitar and their father Shrilal Sahajpal on violin. Indian singer Sunanda Sharma was also flown in from Mumbai to join. Eventually also the Egyptian derwish dancer Raed AbdelGhany was brought in from Paris to make his spesial spinning dance routine. In the years 2005-2008 those shows were touring Norways biggest cities. From 2007 the band also created a summer version of the show; now with only summer hit songs as a basis, but with similar line up. This music was documented in a studio recording for the Grappa label, named «The Source: of Summer» in 2013. Those shows were performed yearly i summertime the years 2007 -2011 in Trondheim, Lillehammer and in the Nathional Theatre or Parkteatret (Oslo). However, since 2012 the band has mostly been associated in Norway with the yearly line of Christmas concerts, which in the last decade only have been performed at Cosmopolite in Oslo over 2 nights. Parallell with those shows, The Source has over the years 2007-2016, been heard on several European Jazz festivals, including Ireland, Scotland and the Cyprus. In 2019 the band came together for two studio projects; the first one was for the soundtrack of the film documentary about the Norwegian poet Jan Erik Vold in June; «Sorry brødre, det ble meg» produced by Elsa Kvamme, recorded at Nrk. The material was a combination of our new songs and new pieces by Trygve Seim. Pianist Helge was featured here. The film got it´s release in October 2019.