Meet the golden boy of jazz who's headlining the 10th Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival

Norwegian musician Marius Neset plays the Grand Theatre, Clitheroe, on The Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival, May 2- May 6. (s)
Norwegian musician Marius Neset plays the Grand Theatre, Clitheroe, on The Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival, May 2- May 6. (s)

This cold land, much of which lies in the Arctic Circle, has provided the latest Norwegian jazz export to the world.

Marius Neset was a remarkably gifted youth, who learned drums, guitar, bass guitar and piano before picking up a saxophone on his eighth birthday.

“I love being in the mountains, and silence is music as well,” said Marius from his base in Oslo, the Norwegian capital.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m from Norway I feel this.

“I grew up in a musical household, and that was the very precious gift my parents gave me.”

The release of his debut album – Golden Xplosion – saw Marius emerge as one of the most talked about newcomers on the European Jazz scene.

“Music is a lifelong thing, but the more I see and feel, the less I know,” he added as he prepares for a headline slot at next month’s Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival.

“My music is complex, but I also need to have that instinctive feel too and to be free in music.

“What’s very important is that you always try and find new ways of expressing yourself, constantly re-inventing your sound.”

Neset, in live performance, has the uncanny ability of making one saxophone sound like two or three.

“What I love most is the white heat shows, the magic gigs, and I got that vibe when I played at the festival (Ribble Valley) a few years ago.

“It was a very beautiful place, and they were amazing people.

“It is the show I’m most looking forward to this year.”

One of the greatest formative experiences for Neset was working with English pianist Djanjo Bates when he moved to Copenhagen to study at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory where Bates became his mentor.

“Sometimes you get that slice of fortune in life, and I was very lucky to be in Copenhagen at the same time as Django.

“I had always been a big fan of his music and it was a huge influence on me when I played in the big band with him.

“He had a lot of stuff going on in his music – it was amazing what he did with ideas.

“You can make music with a lot of different vibes.

“Now I love to have things moving around, a lot of colours, things changing all the time and I saw that in Django.”

A student of his art, and a musician with a powerful work ethic, Marius admits: “Yeah, I was always very driven, always more focused on what I was doing than the other kids, whether it was skiing or music.

“Most of all, I really like jazz players who integrate composing and improvising, and I’ve so many influences: Frank Zappa, Bach, Stravinsky and Joe Zawinul, especially the Weather

Report albums.

“Really there’s no limit to the things I want to put in my music.”

Marius Neset plays the Grand Theatre, Clitheroe, on The Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival, May 2- May 6.