Follow my beating heart
Home is where the heart is. And Hilde Louise Asbjørnsen's heart has always beaten for Swing. Accordingly, this project with the KABA Orchestra, one of Europe's most exciting Swing bands, was not just another collaboration. It was a passion and an urge and as natural as breathing. These renditions of hand-picked songs from her catalogue aren't just “alternative versions” – this is the way they were always meant to be heard.
A Swing of its Own took Hilde Louise back to the beginning, to a time when she was falling in love with jazz and spinning her mother's old jazz records on a turntable. And yet, nostalgia is notably absent here. Of course, the era of Swing, which first swept the USA and then the rest of the world and created one of the biggest revolutions in the entire history of music, is long gone. The sheer energy and irresistible pull of this music, however, will never die.
Bringing it back to the stage has been a prime concern for both Asbjørnsen and KABA's artistic founders Erik Eilertsen and Kristoffer Kompen. Their connection goes back to 2016, when they teamed up at the Oslo Jazz Festival. And it was refreshed in 2020 for another live gig, focused entirely on some of Asbjørnsen's greatest songs from her decades-spanning career. The latter is the one captured on this CD and it “gathers all the threads of inspiration through my years as a songwriter and jazz singer.”
If you know the “originals”, the effect is similar to watching the same movie on a TV screen versus seeing it in the cinema. And yet, the soul of these tunes, their intimacy and relatability, has remained intact. Which can easily be explained by the fact that her entire backing band, which accompanied her on her previous recordings and in concert, are also members of KABA – like a small energy cell within a larger organism. Nothing gets lost here, it just gets elevated to a higher level.
Hilde Louise explains it best when she describes her feelings about the mesmerising title track: “I wrote it for our 2016 collaboration with KABA. It is a tribute to the beat of the city and the syncopated rhythm pulsating through everybody’s veins. On this album, I feel like it has found its place.” The same goes for all the songs here which add up to a sweeping and yet personal performance.
Hilde Louise's career has been a long and winding journey, but now, she feels, she has “finally come home”. And to those willing to open up to this music - your heart is sure to follow her to that place, too.