Beyond trumpeter and composer, Molvær is also a seasoned bandleader with an aptitude for choosing the finest musicians to make up his many musical teams, and providing them with just the right mix of framework and flexibility that enhances each of their individual skills as well as the project’s overall vision. For Stitches the trumpeter collaborates with drummer Erland Dahlen, bassist Jo Berger Myhre and guitarist Johan Lindstrøm, first in-person at Ocean Sound Recordings on the island of Giske, in his native Norway, and later, when the pandemic broke out, the conversations and musical exchanges had to be transposed online. Despite the sudden shift in their mode of interaction, the material on Stitches suffered no harm with spontaneity and fluidity continuing to be at the heart of the compositions – such is the four musician’s musical intimacy and synergy. Stitches was later sewn together and mixed by Jon Marius Aareskjold and Molvær himself at Kysten Studio in Tromsø.
Dahlen, Myhre and Lindstrøm were given full artistic freedom by Molvær when it came to adding their particular and special imprint on the tracks. The result is a breathtaking journey that spans different moods and inspires reflection, meditation and deep insights. From the poetic and tender «Median» via the dramatic «A Sudden Rash» to the three extremely powerful pieces taken from «Frameworks» – Molvær’s commissioned work for the 2021 Kongsberg Jazz Festival – the album showcases the trumpeter’s distinct musical language that constantly innovates while keeping the fragility of the trumpet at the heart of every movement. It’s exactly this fine balance between pure tenderness and avant-garde sensibilities that has made Molvær’s sound known and appreciated by listeners worldwide. Despite the album’s darker moments, with track title’s that reference disorder and disease, Stitches comes across as a cathartic experience, a necessary journey that provides both listener and composer with a sense of cleansing and renewal. Stitches’ closing track, a heartwarming version of Radiohead’s «True Love Waits», feels both hopeful and prophetic – after turbulent times, the wounds will heal.