REVIEW: Hanna Paulsberg Concept at the 2019 Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Hanna Paulsberg
Photo credit and © John Watson/ jazzcamera.co.uk
Hanna Paulsberg Concept
(Parabola Arts Centre, 4 May 2019. Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Review by Peter Slavid)

Hanna Paulsberg was part of the very first Trondheim Jazz Exchange that brought students from Norway to partner with students from Birmingham and perform at the festival. Her bass and piano players were also part of the programme. Returning here after 10 years with her quartet, dubbed the Hanna Paulsberg Concept, may have been nostalgic for the musicians, but this was no vanity project. In the intervening time, Paulsberg has become a multiple award-winner and a successful touring musician and leads a more poppy group Gurls, as well as this fine quartet including other graduates of the exchange scheme.

The music is melodic chamber jazz, and at times seems very delicate and atmospheric. But Paulsberg has an interesting technique that starts gently, building from short staccato phrases and gradually developing into longer full blown improvisations with echos of Coltrane and Shorter. As the concert progressed the music became more powerful, and the solos more intricate. The band provided good support with Oscar Gronberg's spiky piano improvisations adding some sharpness.

I enjoyed Paulsberg's excellent recent album Daughter of the Sun, but that was a collaboration with Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo, and he did tend to dominate. Here this was very much Paulsberg's show.

She has an engaging personality that delighted the audience, and it was clear from the sparkling calypso Catalan Boy, for a prospective Spanish boyfriend, and another nice tune, for a well known Swedish saxophone player, that she has a penchant for tunes about people she has met. More importantly, Paulsberg is clearly developing as a talented composer and that will be worth keeping an eye on in the future.

Peter Slavid broadcasts European Modern Jazz on the internet (LINK)

Hanna Paulsberg, tenor saxophone
Oscar Grönberg, piano
Trygve Waldemar Fiske, bass
Erik Nylander,  drums

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