André Roligheten - saxophones/clarinets
Kristoffer Alberts - saxophones
Niklas Barnö - trumpet
Mats Äleklint - trombone
Matthias Ståhl - vibraphone
Ola Høyer - double bass
Tollef Østvang - drums
The title of their debut album “Bells, Ghosts and other Saints says it all: here is music conceived under the influence of Albert Ayler, author of seminal free jazz pieces like “Bells” and “Ghosts” and one of the most celebrated interpreters of a gospel hymn specially cared by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino, “When the Saints Go Marching In”. The name of the band (The Way Ahead) has the same referential weight: the way to go is in front of us, and you’ll find it while walking, as the poet (Federico Garcia Lorca) wrote. On the back there is history, and beyond you have the unknown. Each direction feeds from the other. The procedure could describe the respect that the present day American jazz has regarding its past, but this septet is Scandinavian, reuniting some of the best musicians active in Norway and Sweden. This explains why “Bells, Ghosts and Other Saints” seems simultaneously so familiar and so strange: the connection to the American jazz tradition is solid, but it comes without a cultural vinculation. As Europeans, Roligheten, Alberts, Barnö, Äleklint, Ståhl, Høyer and Østvang don’t feel the obligation to reproduce the exact parameters of the chosen materials, preferring it´s re-creation. The free jazz paradigm is free from itself, not to refuse it on the process, but to face it with fresh ears. The results are as much intriguing as they’re astonishing.
The band members are all established musicians on the international jazz scene and can be heard in bands like Angles 9, Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit, Universal Indians, Cortex and Je Suis.