The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Heading To The West Coast: Susanne Sundfør's 13 Favourite LPs
Michael Hann , September 13th, 2017 08:32

The Norwegian pop star made one of 2015's best albums in Ten Love Songs, but her Baker's Dozen reflects that synthpop was never where her heart lay


Radka Toneff - Fairytales
She's the favourite of most Norwegian musicians. She passed away in 1982, a few months after this album. I don't know much about her life - I don't think she was very happy - but she was an incredible singer. This is her classic album: it's very famous in Norway, and it should be famous everywhere, but for some reason it has never travelled. Most of the songs on the album are jazz standards. My favourite is one she wrote, Wasted, which has incredible piano playing by Steve Dobrogosz. She was at the centre of the jazz scene; maybe if she had survived she would have been an international star. I don't really know why Scandinavia has been such a great place for jazz, but Keith Jarrett formed a trio with some brilliant Norwegian musicians [Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen, and the Swede Palle Danielsson] in the 70s, and maybe that inspired Norwegian musicians. But the scene is pretty big, and the government supports niche music, so there's a lot of funding for the jazz scene. Also, there are a couple of very good jazz academies, with really good teachers. And maybe it's because it went so well in the 70s that jazz became a tradition. I have to say, I think Norwegians are pretty good at listening to alternative forms of music.