Typologies of the North: Mediating ‘Northerness’ in Jazz in Scandinavia





Jan Garbarek, Scandinacian Jazz, Northerness, The Nordic tone


In this article I examine some of the ways that accounts of jazz in Scandinavia have been focusing on a taxonomy of features most often associated with folk music and the remote geography of the north. I focus on specific musicians and collaborations from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden in the second half of the twentieth century, to explore issues of folklorism and landscape, questioning the degree to which perceptions of ‘northerness’ in jazz have been paired with notions of nationalism. I conclude by looking at the extent to which elements of neo-traditionalism were at play in diverse forms of cultural practice in the late twentieth century, examining the inward-looking folklorism often associated with ‘the Nordic tone’.

Author Biography

Alexander Gagatsis, University of Manchester

Alexander Gagatsis is lecturer in music at the University of Manchester where he teaches courses in jazz historiography, improvisation, theory and analysis. He holds master's degrees from Trinity College of Music and King’s College London, an Artist Diploma from the State University of New York, and a PhD from the University of Nottingham, where he held the Vice-Chancellor Award for Research Excellence and the Leventis Foundation doctoral scholarship. He was recently awarded the Berger-Berger-Carter Research Fellowship at the Institute of Jazz Studies in the US and the Leverhulme Early Carreer Fellowship with the University of Cambridge in the UK. 



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How to Cite

Gagatsis, Alexander. 2020. “Typologies of the North: Mediating ‘Northerness’ in Jazz in Scandinavia”. Nordlit, no. 46 (December):263–284. https://doi.org/10.7557/13.5454.