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Hoob Records: An Open Space For Jazz
Label Feature

Hoob Records: An Open Space For Jazz

Musicmusicmusic is hailed as one of the most important jazz groups of Sweden. Their artist-owned, artist-operated label Hoob Records offers a fresh palette of sounds, expanding on Scandinavia's extremely rich heritage in jazz.

By DannyVeekens
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“I think that classic Swedish folk music is possible to detect in a lot of our music,” says Fabian Kallerdahl, who co-founded Hoob Records together with his fellow band members of jazz trio Musicmusicmusic. “Maybe in a really small amount and disguised behind lots of other stuff. But that soul is often there inside the core. With that said, most of the music on Hoob is really contemporary and progressive in its sound, I would say. There is no outspoken direction that Hoob is aiming towards. We just release what we feel like.”

That road to nowhere is exactly what makes Hoob Records an exciting path for new jazz discoveries. There’s the free improvisation of The Splendor; singer-songwriter and Little Dragon collaborator Agge; field recordings from Mozambique, Morocco & Norway as part of compositions by Nils Berg... And that’s only the tip of the Nordic iceberg.

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In their own forward-thinking way, Hoob Records contributes to the existing rich heritage of jazz music in Scandinavia—and Sweden in particular. It’s as jazz critic Stuart Nicholson rhetorically wondered in his 2005 book, Is Jazz Dead? (Or Has It Moved to Another Address)’, concluding that jazz that matters relocated to the northern region of Europe. Fabian: “I can really agree on and testify that jazz music is very much alive here in Sweden and the northern European countries. It has been so for a long time. But I also feel that interesting things happen globally when it comes to jazz. I have always listened a lot to American jazz which is evolving all the time. I would say that jazz today is—more than ever before—not attached to a single scene or part of the world. Hoob has collaborations in many different parts of the world. Canada, Taiwan, USA, Germany, South Africa…”

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"I have listened to a lot to hip-hop built around sampled jazz phrases and progressions. I've always loved that sound, so it’s great to be a part of that now."

—Fabian Kallerdahl (Hoob Records / Musicmusicmusic)
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Musicmusicmusic with pianist Fabian Kallerdahl on the right (Photo: Kerstin Ehrnlund)
Musicmusicmusic with pianist Fabian Kallerdahl on the right (Photo: Kerstin Ehrnlund)

‘Spaciousness’ and ‘atmosphere’ are often coined terms to describe jazz music from the Nordic countries. As an award-winning jazz pianist himself (most notably the ‘Jazz In Sweden’ prize in 2006, and a nomination for ‘Best Jazz Musician of the Year’ in 2011), it’s also what Fabian puts into his work with Musicmusicmusic. “I really like to use the space and the atmosphere when I play and compose. At the same time, I love it when the music is pumped to the max with just everything. The tension between these worlds is exciting. And the challenge for me is to maintain my personal sound in both worlds. ‘Perfect Nostalgia’ is a nice example of that spaciousness.”

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As far as sampling is concerned, Hoob Records is all for it. I have listened a lot to hip-hop built around sampled jazz phrases and progressions,” says Fabian. “I have always loved that sound, so it’s great to be a part of that now, and that it’s finally done by the book; also with credit to the original composers. Maybe people will be even more inventive and let their ideas go wilder when they have a big library with easy access to music to get inspired and sample legally from.”

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Hoob Recommends

“It’s hard to choose from our big catalog spanning over more than 15 years. But Musicmusicmusic, the piano trio who started the label in 2004 and has put out 9 albums so far, is of course essential to me personally. Also since I play the piano in that group. Our latest release, Oversized, features arrangements for piano trio, viola da gamba, bass clarinet, flute, and violin. That album is my current favorite.”

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