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Christian Wallumrod Ensemble

Pianist and composer Christian Wallumrød was born in 1971 in Kongsberg, Norway. He began playing piano at the age of 12 and by 15 he had fallen under the pull of jazz, and made it the center of his studies while attending the music conservatory in Trondheim. Wallumrød began playing piano professionally with guitarist Jon Eberson in 1993, but after 1997 he began to be increasingly involved in his own projects, attracting the attention of Manfred Eicher of ECM Records, who released an album, No Birch, attributed to the Christian Wallumrød Trio, on the label in 1998. Sofienberg Variations appeared on ECM in 2003, this time under the group name the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble -- aside from Wallumrød, the ensemble included Nils Økland on violin, Arve Henriksen on trumpet, and Per Oddvar Johansen on drums, as well as Trygve Seim, who contributed tenor sax on a couple of the tracks. By 2005, when A Year from Easter was released by ECM, Gjermund Larsen had replaced Økland on violin, and Tanja Orning on cello and harpist Giovanna Pessi had also been brought on board. The ensemble specialized in a kind of beautiful and downbeat ambient pop-jazz with classical overtones and a healthy dose of John Cage-like experimentation (Wallumrød gets more mileage out of toy pianos than any musician in recent memory) that flirts with new age without actually going there. A third ECM album, The Zoo Is Far, appeared in 2007. Wallumrød also works as part of the trio Close Erase with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and the Wallumrød Ensemble's Johansen as well as playing in an additional trio with singer Elin Rosseland and bassist Johannes Eick. Wallumrød has also been playing with Sidsel Endresen since 2002, releasing an album, Merriwinkle, with the singer in 2004. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi
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