Daniel Herskedal, Voyage

by Sylvannia Garutch

Daniel Herskedal began his journey as a young lad on the French horn, during his studies he later took up what would be his primary instrument, the tuba. His formal training began at the Storyville jazz club where he  attended the music program at Molde videregående skole. He receives his bachelor’s degree in jazz at Trondheim Musikkonsevatorium (2002–06), where he started the trio Listen! with Espen Berg (piano) and Bendik Giske (saxophone). In 2008, he earned a master’s degree in jazz tuba at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. His thesis was on joik and jazz.

Herskedal plays in several bands, such as City Stories, Listen, including Bendik Giske (saxophone) and Espen Berg piano (established in 2002), Magic Pocket, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, and Jens Carelius. In the trio Kaktusch he plays with Anton Eger (drums) and Marius Neset (saxophone). In Quintus Big Band (established in 2007) he collaborated with Bendik Giske (saxophone), Kristoffer Lo (tuba), Ingrid Bergene Fosaa (horn), Morten Schrøder and Bjørn Erik Heggli (trumpet), Frode Fjellheim and Stian Lundberg (percussion), and Elisabeth Fossan (trombone). The quartet Bat Band includes Hayden Powell (trumpet), Steinar Nickelsen (organ) and Lasse Ehn (drums). With Stefan Ringive (trombone) and Anders Bast (saxophone) and Lasse Ehn (drums), he performs in the quartet BrassBoost. With Hayden Powell (trumpet), Erik Johannessen (trombone) and Erik Nylander (drums) he formed the quartet Magic Pocket that appeared at Nattjazz and Moldejazz (2004).

His leader discography includes: 2010: City Stories (NorCD); 2013: Dagane (NorCD);  2015: Slow Eastbound Train (Edition); 2017: The Roc (Edition) and his latest recording in 2019: Voyage (Edition).  The core line-up of Herskedal on Tuba and bass trumpet, pianist Eyolf Dale, percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken and more recently violist Bergmund Waal Skaslien deepens with each release.  Songs like “Batten Down the Hatches,” offer a richly hued melodic sensibility with exotic percussion propelling the track to a deeply felt edge. While “Chatham Dockyards,” offers a somber elongated emotive that stirs the senses.

“The Gulls Are Tossed Paper in The Wind,” prominently features violinist Skaslien with a buoyant timbre that dances on top the melody with elegance.  “Molly’s Hunt Seagulls” is a playful swirling piece that highlights Herskedal’s warm and soothing tone.  The closing tune “The Lighthouse,” offers an introspective closing with an orchestral appeal.  The players each put forth a respectful reading of this gorgeous piece.  Creating a calming end to a varied listen.

Voyage is a befitting title, as each track offers its own unique voice and character.  A highly recommended listen from a poignant group.  Herskedal once again has synthesized a stunning album.  Highly recommended!

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