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Biografi

 (Norsk biografi kommer ...) 

Norwegian Bodil Niska is one of the few female tenor saxophone artists around to work in the tradition of jazz legends such as Ben Webster, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims or Coleman Hawkins. Her tone is soft, yet powerful and soulfully expressive. Her musical approach takes the legacy from the golden years of jazz into the 21st. century.


Bodil was born in the arctic town of Hammerfest, located in northern Norway where she grew up playing in the school marching band.

Her first musical memory is sitting on her father's lap while he played Misty for her. Aksel Niska, an accomplished engineer, painter and accordion player also introduced her to the saxophone sounds of Ben Webster and Stan Getz.

 

When the school band managed to aquire their first saxophone, Bodil had to physically fight off the boys in the band to get her hands on the instrument. She won - and she never looked back.

Bodil quickly devloped her interest for jazz to the point that she became something of a jazz icon in her small home town. She played in numerous jazz band configurations, wrote jazz articles for the local newspaper, arranged concerts and festivals and managed the jazz club on her spare time.

After moving to the nation's capital Oslo in 1990, Bodil Niska effortlessly blended into the urban jazz scene, Mostly due to her mentor / jazz personality / journalist / photographer Randi Hultin. The fabulous Randi introduced Bodil to a veritable who's-who in national and international jazz. She sent private recordings of Bodil to many of her legendary jazz friends, including Sonny Rollins who promptly wrote back: "Damn! The woman can PLAY!"

Encouraged by her friends and colleagues, Bodil formed all-girl group, aptly named Girl Talk in 1992. In addition to Bodil, this group consisted of Elizabeth Walker on piano and Tine Asmundsen on bass. The group recorded their acclaimed album Talkin' Jazz in 1996.

In 1998 Bodil embarked on a solo career with the help and support of jazz legend / piano player / composer / arranger Egil Kapstad. With the incredible bass player Bjørn Alterhaug and Swedish drummer par excellence Pelle Hultén their longtime musical friendship was instrumental in producing Bodil's first solo album First Song in 2000.

First Song went on to became the best selling jazz album in its genre in 2000. The cover for First Song was inspired by Dexter Gordon's famous cover on Ballads and is a tribute to him, his music and his inspiration.

Blue (2004) was a labour of love and took a long time to plan and put together. In her liner notes she says:

"In jazz, the melody is often used only as a tool for improvisation and invention. Freeing yourself from the the confines of the melody is sometimes considered to be the very essence of jazz.

Personally, I am always touched by a good melodic line, phrase or mood. So on this album I have tried to stay as true to the melody as I could, to clear away some of the musical dust - to find my way back."

Night Time (2008) puts Bodil in a different musical context. The introduction of the brilliant Claes Crona Trio from Sweden, and swedish born norwegian resident guitarist / composer / arranger Staffan William-Olsson as well as a horn section makes for a more playful, swingier musical approach.

In putting more emphasis on the melody, she expects to receive more than her share of critizism from the "jazz police" who seem to favor inprovisation and technique over musical sincerety.

Between musical engagements Bodil Niska owns and runs the all-jazz music store and café Bare Jazz (norwegian for Only Jazz) in Oslo. She is often used by the media used as a spokesperson for the art of jazz. In 2000, she presented the Norwegian version of the jazz Grammy awards, and she has appeared in numerous national and international radio- and TV shows.