Gro-Marthe Dickson | Fornemmelsen Av Hjemland Review
by Stamish Malcuss
Gro-Marthe Dickson is a Norwegian jazz singer with vibrant inventiveness and absolute power in her singing. Dickson is continuously searching for unknown paths to explore and develop in her musical journey. Her main projects are the jazz quartet D-lovely (AMP Music & Records 2019 and 2021) and the vocal improvisation ensemble Oslo14 (Losen Records 2018, NOR CD 2016). Her music blends famous and favorites with lesser-known pearls from Cole Porter’s long and prosperous career. D-lovely presents jazz that is charming, passionate, and has a creative twist that makes a statement through popular music’s greatest composer, Cole Porter. Dickson is now releasing her latest AMP Music & Records album called Fornemmelsen Av Hjemland (The feeling of homeland). Dickson has crafted original Norwegian lyrics to Cole Porter’s melodies, and with those new lyrics, new musical ideas are achieved. The members of D-lovely are Aksel Westlund (guitar), Håkon Norby Bjørgo (bass), and Magnus Sefaniassen Eide (drums).
“Om stolthet” has Dickson singing over a quick brush pattern on the snare. The bass and guitar join to continue this stirring version of Porter’s melody. Dickson’s scatting solo is evident in its harmonic/melodic relation, and her rhythm is in the pocket and hornlike. Bjørgo’s bass solo continues the energy that Dickson created. The quartet’s arrangement of the melody is fresh, and the Norwegian lyrics are an exotic twist for Western ears, making Dickson’s beautiful songbird voice that much more enticing.
“I glimt” is another up-tempo gem on the project. The well-known Porter melody floats through the air with Dickson’s robust tone as the rhythm section percolates with swinging energy. Westlund’s guitar solo charges with raw straight-ahead jazz attitude. The trio will get the adrenaline going on this one.
Fornemmelsen Av Hjemland is eight melodies composed by Cole Porter with a unique set of lyrics and musical arrangements. Each tune has extended the standard vocabulary associated with these selections, including the explosive scatting of Dickson, beautiful Norwegian lyrics, and fine playing from the trio. The atmosphere doesn’t change the melodies’ attitude, but it shines a new light on these gems that is a must-hear. Dickson’s no-holds-barred approach to the Porter songbook is a fascinating journey by a trendsetter in the vocal jazz genre.