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Paul Weeden was an American gutarist who played with Wes Montgomery, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Jimi Hendrix, Coleman Hawkins and many more. He was also guitarist in The Count Basie Orchestra. In 1971 he moved to Norway, to become a key figure in jazz music in the country. In 2011 he lived in the small town of Flekkefjord, playing with a local jazz group that embraced his compositions, and who played them so well together with with him, that Nedland Kultur decided to make an album with the best of their inspired repertoire.

Paul Weeden with Grønnes Bad & Jazzforsyning, a jazz band from the small Norwegian town Flekkefjord who suddenly discovered they had an american guitar legend living in their midst. They invited him to join them, developed a repertoire of his compositions and created something unique.

Paul Weeden, born in Indianapolis, USA in 1923, grew up playing with his buddy Wes Montgomery. Their neighbors complained that they made too much noise, and Weeden explains that this led Wes to develop his soft playing style, using his thumb instead of a plectrum. Whether totally true or not, this illustrates both Paul Weeden’s abundance of stories about jazz giants, and his experience playing with many of them. Always totally dedicated to the music itself, he was just as happy playing with totally unknown musicians as with the stars. He invested a lot of time and engergy in teaching and coaching hopeful Norwegian blues and jazz guitarists during his several years long “residency” at the famous Club 7 in Oslo.

Paul Weeden at Club 7

The CD “Nice But Easy” was recorded at the NRK Studios in Kristiansand. Producer Sigbjørn Nedland realized that Kristiansand had the perfect visual backdrop for these recordings: The largest collection of American beat art outside USA. Dr. Wennesland, a doctor from Kristiansand working in San Francisco from the 1950s onwards, donated a large collection of beat art to his old college, Kristiansand Katedralskole and the University of Agder. These  paintings – and in particular “Jazz Concert” by Michael Dachmundt reflected exactly the feeling and atmosphere of the music of Paul Weeden and Grønnes Bad & Jazzforsyning. Amazingly, Nedland Kultur was allowed to take the paintings down from the walls of the schools, and install them in the studio for the whole recording period, as a beautiful inspiration to the musicians. The paintings also provided the basis for the artwork for the CD.

The CD cover, with the painting “Jazz Concert” by Michael Dachmundt.

Hilde Hefte, guest vocalist on 4 tracks on the album.