Although he is still quite young in years, Håvard Wiik ranks among the uppermost and most widely acclaimed jazz pianists in Norway, with talents that have brought him all around the world. He made his first major appearance on the scene in 1995, with Element, but for the last 10 years he has been a key player in many groups, such as Atomic, Free Fall, Atomic Schooldays, a duo with Håkon Kornstad, a new project with Axel Dörner and Fredrik Ljungqvist, among others. He has been an obvious choice as collaborator with giants in jazz, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano representing the old school, and Ken Vandermark being a soul mate from the here and now.
Håvard Wiik originally made his mark alongside colleagues and buddies Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, still being the power and the glory in Atomic. But he definitely has his own way too, and displays a keen sensibility of his craft, both in avant garde and more traditional approaches. This all-round ability, among other deep qualities, made him artist in residence at the 2004-edition of Molde International Jazz Festival. And in 2006, at Kongsberg Jazz Festival, he received the Vital prize, bringing him money and fame, but more importantly the opportunity to perform solo again, as he will do this year, and as the listener can inspect more closely on the recent release Palinode. But, lest we forget, he also has a group of his own, in that most glorious of jazz formats: the trio. He released Postures on Jazzland records in 2003, chock full of his intricate yet instantly pleasurable compositions. He closed down the trio, but now, in 2007, Håvard Wiik Trio is back with The Arcades Project. The album was recorded at Bugges Room, January of 2007. In this new installment of the trio we find the fierce stickeree of Håkon Mjåset Johansen on drums, and the contact-high youngster Ole Morten Vågan on bass. They originally met when Håvard Wiik did a stint as super stand-in in their group Motif. The two have also individually been involved with groups such as Urban Connection, Come Shine, Bugge Wesseltofts New Conception of Jazz, and are exponents of a new generation of Norwegian jazz players. And they bring to Håvard Wiiks trio, in his own words: After I disbanded my last trio in 2004, I have used the last couple of years to try to develop a fresh view on the classic piano trio format, both in regards of interplay and composition. I feel this trio, and this recording, is an excellent document of my and the trios efforts towards those goals.
Truly, The Arcades Project presents Håvard Wiik on the top of his game, as composer, pianist and bandleader.