Oslo Jazz Circle Presents Portrait of a Norwegian Jazz Artist
Gemini Records GMO 95014/15
Bjarne Nerem in Sweden, Small Band Sessions
1. SEPTEMBER SONG (Weill, Anderson) 4'00
Simon Brehm Orchestra
Leppe Sundevall (tp), Åke Persson (tb), Bjarne Nerem, Claes Rosendahl (ts), Johnny Ekh (bs), Åke Ejemoh (p), Simon Brehm (b), Sven Bollhem (dr), Gösta
Stockholm Concert Hall, April 25, 1955
2. SOPHISTICATED LADY (Ellington, Mills, Parish) 4'23
3. TICKLE TOE (Young) 3'39
Arne Domnérus' Orchestra
Bengt-Arne Wallin (tp), Arne Domnérus (as), Bjarne Nerem (ts), Rune Falk (bs), Jan
Johansson (p), Rune Gustafsson (g), Arne Wilhelmsson (b), Egil Johansen (dr).
4. LAURA (Raksin, Mercer) 4'19
5. ZING! WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART (Hanley) 4'09
6. SOON (Gershwin, Gershwin) 4'17
Jan Johansson Trio with Bjarne Nerem
Bjarne Nerem (ts), Jan Johansson (p), Georg Riedel (b), Egil Johansen (dr).
Kristianstad, spring 1964.
7. Interlude by Dizzy Gillespie 1'40
8. BLUES (trad.) 7'13
10. I'M GETTING SENTIMENTAL OVER YOU
(Washington, Bassman) 7'38
11. STARS FELL ON
12. LOVER COME BACK TO ME Romberg) 7'42
Bjarne Nerem with Knud Jörgensen Trio
Bjarne Nerem (ts), Knud Jörgensen (org), Sture Nordin (b), Egil Johansen (dr), Dizzy Gillespie (tp track 10, introduction track 7).
2. HEMLAGAD SAMBA (Riedel) 3'25
3. C'EST SI BON (Betti, Hornez) 2'52
Georg Riedel's Ensemble
Including George Vernon (b), Rolf Blomquist (fl), Arne Domnérus (cl), Bjarne
Nerem (ts), Knud Jörgensen (p), Rune Gustafsson (g), Georg
Riedel (b, arr.), Bosse Skoglund (dr). Broadcast April 7 (1) and 21, 1964.
4. I LET A SONG GO OUT OF MY HEART (Mills, Nemo, Redmond, Ellington) 5'35
5. MOONLIGHT IN
6. SOON (Gershwin, Gershwin) 5'08
7. BJARNE'S BLUES (Nerem) 6'05
8. BUT NOT FOR ME (Gershwin, Gershwin) 5'19
9. STARDUST (Parish, Carmichael) 4'54
10. LESTER LEAPS IN (Young) 5'39
Bjarne Nerem Quartet
Bjarne Nerem (ts), Lars Sjösten (p), Sture Nordin (b), Rolf Svensson (dr).
12. EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME (Adair, Dennis) 7'16
13. HAVE YOU MET MISS JONES (Rodgers, Hart) 6'49
Bjarne Nerem & Kenny Drew Trio
Bjarne Nerem (ts), Kenny Drew (p), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (b), Alex
Kristianstad, July 8, 1976
Liner notes by Lars Westin
When Bjarne Arnulf Nerem left
Although Brehm was heavily involved with the Karusell record company, which he had co-founded in 1952, his orchestra rarely appeared on record, and, if so, provided music with few if any jazz qualities. The opener of this album, recorded at a Charlie Parker memorial concert, is a rare example of his orchestra playing within a jazz context. Even the reporter of the jazz magazine Orkester Journalen, being the main arranger of the event, found it a “surprise what a fine and homogenous ensemble” Brehm presented and pointed at the solos of trombonist Åke Persson and Nerem in “September Song” as highlights of the performance.
A few days after this concert, Nerem joined
American trumpeter Ernie Englund's new band. He remained until the spring of
From the summer of 1958, Nerem worked with the
Almstedt-Lind Sextet, the singer Ruth Linn, and in the bands of Åke Persson and
Anders Burman before re-joining Englund in
With Domnérus, however, Nerem was heavily featured. This is reflected by radio material preserved from the period, of which two tracks from a live midnight-broadcast are included here. Duke Ellington's “Sophisticated Lady” is a duet with guitarist Rune Gustafsson, and Lester Young's “Tickle Toe” is, of course, a feature for Bjarne's “Lesterish” tenor.
Pianist Jan Johansson's trio, a “band within
the band”, made a series of weekly morning radio shows, “Schoolways”, playing
to teenaged audiences at various schools around
Along with Johansson and trumpeter Bengt-Arne
Wallin, bassist Georg Riedel contributed most of the arrangements for the
Domnérus band and also to the
When Domnérus left Nalen due to the advent of “rock” and ”pop” as the young generations' music of the day, Nerem fell into obscurity, as did many of his peers. Some left the music biz altogether, some chose to become teachers at the municipal music schools established all over Sweden, and some, like Bjarne Nerem, moved into other areas of music. From 1967 and on, he played with the pop orchestra that had been formed already in 1962 by a dejected Carl-Henrik Norin, the tenor saxophone star and band-leader at Nalen, who explicitly succumbed to the changes in popular taste. Following Norin's death in 1967, Nerem was brought in on tenor saxophone, playing a repertoire of watered-down dance music with no connections to jazz, and ”doubling” on organ and background vocals.
In 1968, the “jazz-pub” Stampen opened in
A few days later, Nerem joined organist Knud Jörgensen's trio at the opening concert of The Stockholm Jazz Days at Folkets Hus. This memorable three-day festival was hosted by Dizzy Gillespie, who introduced the bands and played musical interludes. Although his presentations occasionally got somewhat confused, he managed to set a good mood for the musicians as well as the attentive listeners that filled the Congress Hall. Listening to Nerem, many must have asked themselves: where has this excellent jazz soloist been hiding?
In October, 1970, the Norin “ghost band” worked at a hotel in Umeå at the time of the jazz festival there. Among its top attractions were the Clarke Boland Big Band including Åke Persson, Benny Bailey, Jimmy Woode Jr. and Sahib Shihab, with whom Nerem had worked and recorded in studios and as a jazz soloist earlier in life. Many of them stayed at the hotel and must have encountered Bjarne, who didn't perform at the festival at all nor was invited to any of the festivities surrounding the event.
By this time Ove Lind and record producer Gunnar Lindqvist had already talked about making an LP presentation of Bjarne. Studio dates were set for January, 1971, and Lind contributed arrangements. The title of the album “How long has this been going on?” was derived from a Gershwin tune included, but also an adequate question: how come this great player had escaped fame for so many years? Bjarne was eventually awarded jazz magazine Orkester Journalen's prestigious Golden Disc Award for making the best Swedish jazz album of the year (re-issued on CD with additional material as Gemini GMCD 72).
Now Nerem started to appear as a front-man (and occasionally side-man) at Stampen and other venues. Included here is a live-recording for a radio show with pianist Lars Sjösten, whose impeccably rhythmic, delicate touch, and sensitive and witty playing comes to the fore in several solos, the ever-swinging bassist Sture Nordin, and the energetic drummer Rolf “Slangen” Svensson. Nerem plays some of his favourite “evergreens” and also “Bjarne's blues”, an on-the-spot composition in which he quotes from the opening tune “I let a song go out of my heart” as well as touches upon Wardell Gray's 1949 classic “Twisted”.
After moving back to his native Oslo in 1973
and until his death in 1991, Bjarne Nerem made many returns to Sweden for
concerts, broadcasts, and recordings, often playing in the company of Lars
Sjösten and Sture Nordin, who occasionally also joined him in Oslo. The closing
set here, however, captures him in the company of the American pianist Kenny
Drew and his
A star he was, indeed!