The Avatar Sessions

Peter Erskine & Norrbotten Big Band

led by Tim Hagans

Peter Erskine

The amazing Norrbotten Big Band!

An expression coined by Tim Hagans and now representing a quality stamp of world class.

The successes of Norrbotten Big Band mark a giant leap in the Swedish music world. 20 years ago, who could even imagine that the province of Norrbotten would become synonymous with big band jazz?

New season - new ideas

Now, the time has come to take the next step: to secure NBB's position in the international scene. This is what 2010 is about. A CD recorded in New York in May 2009 is a part of the strategy. This CD is the very starting point for a season full of fresh ideas.

The music on the CD is written by Tim Hagans and dedicated to Peter Erskine, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker and Rufus Reid. Also, there is music for the NBB's own soloists, like Håkan Broström, Karl-Martin Almqvist, Peter Dahlgren, Dan Johansson et al, not to mention Tim Hagans himself, a world class trumpet player.

Also on the album is George Garzone, replacing Joe Lovano, whose record company Blue Note didn't allow him to participate. The album is released in November 2009, on the drummer Peter Erskine's label Fuzzy Music, just like last year's success "Worth the Wait."

Still more cooperations

The release will not take place in Norrbotten but in Hamburg, with two concerts in the beginning of December 2009. The Hamburg concerts will be recorded by NDR, North German Radio. After this, the NBB will tour Sweden and Europe together with Peter Erskine.

For promoters who so desire, other soloists from the album might also participate.

TOUR DATES: Contact Producer Åsa Lundgren for details.

Click to download a high quality photo


The Rolling Stones ProjectTim Ries

Tim Ries, saxophone, Bernard Fowler, vocals, and Norrbotten Big Band led by Tim Hagans

Norrbotten Big Band and the Rolling Stones might sound like blasphemy, but only almost. First of all, the Stones are basically a blues band and blues has always suited the NBB. Also, this isn't the first time that NBB goes "outside the box." They have done this before, with hip-hoppers, metal musicians, folk musicians, yoik chanters, and even with symphony orchestra.

When the time has come for the Rolling Stones, this is done together with sax player Tim Ries and singer Bernard Fowler, who both have a long and special relationship with the Stones. The singer Bernard Fowler from New York is a highly respected soul singer, songwriter and producer, who has played and sung on every Stones tour since 1989. Bernard Fowler also has worked as a studio musician on more than 30 albums with musicians like the Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Robert Plant and Pearl Jam.

Tim Ries has played with the Stones for more than ten years, but he is still rather anonymous, a musician's musician. He is prolific both on record and as a composer. Since the middle of the 90's, Tim has recorded more than 30 albums and has won Grammys both with the Joe Henderson Big Band and the Maria Schneider Big Band. He also has done things that orthodox jazz lovers say are forbidden. Like Michael Brecker, he has played with Paul Simon, and he has been a guest in the White House to play for another sax player, Bill Clinton. However, he might be best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, e.g. during their "The Licks" tour. That meant becoming both known and acknowledged with the wrong audience. Other talked about selling out. Not Tim Ries! He's actually quite happy about it.


The years with the Stones made their mark and in 2004 he created "The Stones Project." This was put on record in 2005, after a big world tour that also landed at Stockholm Jazz Festival in 2004. On the album, the Stones themselves contributed, woven into Tim Ries' arrangements. Stones guitar player Keith Richard extolled Tim Ries' Stones project to the skies for its beautiful sound. In 2008 there was a follow-up, The Rolling Stones Project II. "There has never been a band like the Rolling Stones," Tim Ries says. "Playing with them is a dream come true. A great experience!" The only thing that might top this would be if Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea called - or Miles Davis, if he was alive.

This was before Tim Hagans called and suggested that Tim play the Rolling Stones with Norrbotten Big Band. And in spring 2010, a new chapter is written:  "Tim Ries, Bernard Fowler and Norrbotten Big Band plays The Rolling Stones Project".

Video clips from the concert in Oulu



A magic Swedish voice in a new musical orbit Jeanette Lindström & Norrbotten Big Band led by Tim Hagans


Jeanette L

Jeanette Lindström is one of the "Magic Nordic Voices" that were recently introduced on a CD by the German record company ACT. But she's more than a magic voice.

Jeanette Lindström looks for challenges and renewal and abhors routine. Now, once again, she tours with Norrbotten Big Band - both in Norrbotten and the rest of Sweden. This is a much longed-for comeback.

"Perfection! 360 degrees of soul and science in the same person. My kind of musician!"

"An old soul in a young body ... She's really understood what jazz is all about!"

- said by Quincy Jones, after hearing Jeanette for the first time.

Jeanette isn't just one of Sweden's most distinguished jazz voices. She also has tried quite different expressions. Last year, she did the first performance of a piece for voice, live electronics and symphony orchestra by Per Mårtensson and the poet Lars Mikael Raattamaa. The vocal part was dedicated to Jeanette. Furthermore, she has allowed King Britt to remix her song Leaf from the album "In the Middle of this Riddle" (2005).

In the autumn of 2009, Jeanette releases a new album at her new company, Diesel Music. It's her tenth record and may well be the most unique. The producer is Magnus Öström, previously in e.s.t. (Esbjörn Svensson Trio), who also plays drums on the album. The music as usual is Jeanette's own. Writing her own music has always been important to her, although she also feels very much at home with the standard repertoire.

Now, the audience has the chance to hear her in a completely different context, with "The Amazing Norrbotten Big Band."


TOUR DATES: October 20-31
Contact Producer Åsa Lundgren for details.


New boundless music

the pianist Uri Caine & Norrbotten Big Band led by Örjan Fahlström

Uri cane

The composer Örjan Fahlström was the first artistic director of Norrbotten Big Band. In 1996, he left this position to Tim Hagans. In 2010, Örjan returns to Norrbotten Big Band for a very exciting project, involving the piano player Uri Caine as soloist.

Örjan will write new music for this, a shared commission from NBB and Hessian Radio.

Since his years with Norrbotten Big Band, Örjan Fahlström has had an intense career as a guesting conductor and composer around Europe. Since 2005, he is Professor in Jazz Composing at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, as well as head for the Composition and Conducting department. Furthermore, in 2008 he was appointed Musical Director of the Hessian Radio Big Band in Frankfurt.

The pianist Uri Caine is a quite unique musician. There might be certain similarities between him and another man named Uri. But the spoon-bending illusions of Uri Geller can hardly hold a candle to Uri Caine's more tangible power over musical matter. NBB is moldable matter, as Örjan Fahlström knows. NBB and Uri Caine should be a quite boundless musical adventure. Uri Caine is a great piano player, earthy and powerful, swinging and brilliant. He also is a musical adventurer, known for refusing to paint himself into a corner.

Or maybe that's exactly what he keeps doing. Maybe he just loves to find his way out from more or less hopeless musical situations. To find solutions where others see problems. He seems to constantly think "outside the box." He has done this with music by, among others, Gustaf Mahler, Mozart, Wagner, and with Bach's Goldberg Variations, which are a potpourri of dances and songs. Frozen in their time. Uri Caine thawed the manuscripts out, and added dances and songs that Bach had no idea about, but that he may have liked if he had been alive now.

Uri Caine's Goldberg Variations became a mind-expanding musical journey in time.

"You might take any musical form and transform it by improvising," Uri Caine says. "But you have to accept it and respect it for what it is. I never want to generalize. I like the specifics. The details!"

Big band music is both form and genre. What Örjan Fahlström, who has always questioned and expanded big band music, and Uri Caine might achieve with Norrbotten Big Band is an intriguing question. This should be music outside the ordinary. Fasten seat belts!


TOUR DATES: November 17-21
Contact Producer Åsa Lundgren for details.






Check out the movie from the recording of
"The Avatar Sessions"



Norrbotten Big Band Logotype