Norwegian saxophonist and composer Trygve Seim is best known to English-speaking audiences for his recordings as a sideman and leader on the ECM label. In Europe and Asia his catalog is far more extensive and he is a nearly ubiquitous presence on the jazz festival circuit in both roles.
Seim was born in Norway in 1971 and began playing saxophone in 1985 after hearing Jan Garbarek's Eventyr album. He studied at the famed Trondheim Musikkonservatorium with Edward Vesala and Terje Bjørklund in the early '90s. In 1991, he and Christian Wallumrød (a fellow student) formed the quartet Airamero with bassist Johannes Eick and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen. The saxophonist also joined Jon Balke's large band Oslo 13 in 1992. Eventually, he became one of its co-leaders. Airamero issued a lone self-titled album in 1994. Through the rest of the '90s, Seim played on records by Motorpsycho, Jacob Young, Squid, and Odd Nordstoga, to name a few. He also co-founded the Source with Johansen, Øyvind Brække, and Mats Eilertsen, an ongoing concern.
The saxophonist issued his ECM leader debut Different Rivers in 2001, followed by The Source with Different Cikadas (with Brække and Johansen) and Wallumrød's Sofienberg Variations and Balke's Magnetic North Orchestra on Kyanos in 2002. Sangam, his next album as a leader, was issued in 2004. In 2006, the Source issued its self-titled album. Seim joined Sinnika Langeland's "Starflowers" group that year -- as did Arve Henriksen and Anders Jormin. Her 2007 album of the same name marked the initial collaboration of a band that has continued to tour and record. Seim followed with two more collaborative, co-headline albums: Yeraz with accordionist Frodi Haltli was released in 2008, and Purcor with Andreas Utnem in 2010. Over the next five years he recorded with the Source, and appeared on albums by Manu Katche and Arild Andersen, among others.
2016 proved prolific for Seim: He contributed to Iro Haarla's Ante Lucem, Eilertsen's Rubicon, and Langeland's The Magical Forest. In addition, his own Rumi Songs appeared in September. It offered recordings of his musical settings of works by the 13th century poet and mystic sung by mezzo-soprano Tora Augestad. The saxophonist, Haltli, and violin-cellist Svante Henryson provided accompaniment. ~ Thom Jurek