I do not see myself as a jazz musician - interview with Peter Ole Jørgensen

Piotr Wojdat

How the danish scene of jazz and improvised music changed during your career?

Peter Ole Jørgensen: I am not sure, I never felt I was a part of the Danish Jazz scene and rarely performed on the jazz venues.

Since the late 70’s I always had a strong connection to rock venues and independent concert organizers focusing on experimental music in all forms. I do not see myself as a jazz musician.

How have changed your way of thinking of making music during these years?

POJ: I always wanted to make music that no one made before and always aimed that my different groups and co-lab should have different "approach" and "sound" from each other. I all goes back to "Cockpit Music" (1978) and "Global Guaranty Orchestra" (1983) - both groups still existing with the original lineup. So I did not change that much - I am pretty much back to the start, after two long detours, first as a composer fo a lot of performances, film and theater from 1984 to 2000, and starting from mid 90’s to a couple of years ago as improviser. My way back started with the album "Music of the POJ tribe, Nordsjælland" (released under my "oldest artist name" Pere Oliver Jørgens in 2015, followed by the album "Live Free Or Die" in 2017. A duo album with David Thomas from Pere Ubu under the name David Thomas & P.O. Jørgens (my second artist name).

Not only in my opinion polish musicians are important part of the danish scene. What do you think about it?

POJ: The Polish musicians I play with live in Poland, Mikolaj Trzaska, Rafal Mazur and Raphael Roginski.

I know that there is quite a few Polish musicians in Denmark, but the only one I play with from time to time is Tomo Jakobsen (bass). I don't know any other of the polish musicians in Denmark personally, but they have a good reputation on the scene. For me it is VERY important that there is a strong personal connection with the musicians I play with, so mostly I play with musicians after we have become friends. For me, it makes both the music and friendship stronger.

You are working with Mikolaj Trzaska and Rafal Mazur. Do you remember when and how this collaboration began?

POJ: I started to play with Mikolaj Trzaska and Peter Friis Nielsen arround 2005 in the trio Volume.

Over the years we played a lot of concerts and released two albums "Æter" and "Tungt Vand", the last one as quartet with Johannes Bauer. Over the years "Volume" made other quartet formations with among others Frantz Hautzinger and Pat Thomas and as quintet with Lotte Anker and Herb Robertson.

Mikolaj was also "guest" on The 6th album "Fredensborg" with "The Wild Mans Band" (Brötzmann, Nielsen, Jørgensen). In 2015 "Jellyspace" was formed with Rafal Mazur. The LP "Jellyspace", recorded at Alchemia during our 2016 tour was released by Not Two Records in 2017. Between "Volume" and "Jellyspace" Mikolaj and I toured with bass player Adam Pultz Melbye.

How was to work with piano player Witold Oleszak? You've played with him last year on Spontaneous Live Series in Poznan.

POJ: I met Witold several years ago in Poznan, later in Copenhagen where he played at Copenhagen Jazzfestival. So - again - we became friends. So a couple of years ago we played our first concert, a trio with Laura Toxværd at the Copenhagen Jazzfestival, then last year in quartet with Laura and Tomo Jakobsen and later we played as trio (Witold, Tomo and me) in Poland. For me Witold's playing is very inspiring. First of all Witold is a great musician, he is very much a listener, into the music - don't have to show of, but does it in the very right moment - constantly supporting the music as a whole.

You have your own label Ninth World Music. How is to make music and release music at the same time?

POJ: Complicated :-D.

It used to be my label back in the 80s. The first release was the solo album "Songs of the Ninth World" released in 1983 on Cassette under the name Pere Oliver Jørgens. Then followed four LP's with "Cockpit Music" and "Global Guaranty Orchestra". But back then, it was MUCH more complicated to run a label, sending mastertape, communicating with pressing plant - no internet or even fax - so when I got the offer to be released on Olufsen Records I closed Ninth World Music. But that didn't really work so well, so in 1995 I went to VME (now DME) and asked if they would release a new album with Cockpit Music. They said - yes!!!!,  but we do not have a sublevel for your kind of music, so how about we relaunch Ninth World Music. So Ninth World Music is not my label nowadays. It is owned and run by DME - but I am still the artistic director. I regret that the albums released on Olufsen with John Tchicai, "Cockpit Music" and "Global Guaranty Orchestra" isn't on Ninth World Music, but maybe we make rerelease at some point.

You compose music for films and performances. What are your favourite ones and why?

POJ: As I mentioned before this work mainly took place from 1984 to 2000. For this kind of work there is nearly always a overall idear/concept you have to adjust to.

To challenge myself I found a "new" method/style for every new project. It could be the format/instrumentation, way of doing it - Live with group, group recorded in studio, no group only midi instruments, only "tape loops" (real tape loops some of them 50 meter long (distance 25 meter)), Composing for string Quartet (studio recording), live performance with bagpipe and so on. So it was a great way to learn a lot about making different kind of music.

What are your plans for the near future? Any records coming soon?

POJ: Right now everything is completely shut down because of Corona.

But: "Global Guaranty Orchestra" have a commision to compose the score for a Performance by Damir Bartol and Zlatco Buric. It is set to premier in Zagreb, Croatia on December 10th 2020. We tour with the trio with Tim Hodgkinson and Martin Klapper in the beginning of November 2020. Concerts are planned/booked in Germany, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic and hopefully we also play in Poland.

Then I have to make 5 different performances with five different line-up with my soundsculpture project "Strange Sounds/ Strange Visuals", but that is not easy since the two first have been postponed because of Corona. This is an ongoing project started in 2016. Each performance is taking place in a new part of Denmark with local musicians, visual artists and sometime authors.

Tour planned with Cockpit Music in Spain in october. Tour in Norway with Mokuto (Lotte Anker, Peter Friss Nielsen) (moved from March). Artist in residence at Galeria Markina, Pula, Croatia in first week of September (moved from April)


New releases include: Oleszak, Jakobsen,Jørgensen: TBA - live recording from Alchemia, Krakow and Klub Dragon, Poznan. Third album from Tordenkvartetten: TBA - Live from Vinterjazz 2020 (Mats Gustafsson, Per-Åke Holmlander, Peter Friis Nielsen, Peter Ole Jørgensen. P.O. Jørgens: new solo box-album with 4 LP presenting 5 different percussion setup ( from classical percussion to found objects) and 3 different soundsculpture setup.

And I am slowly working on the second duo album with David Thomas (Pere Ubu). I would also very much like to record the trio with Hodgkinson and Klapper and the trio LUBB with Pat Thomas and Adam Pultz Melbye, both of them really great and VERY different in sound and expression.