Mette Henriette (ECM)
The mystery, melancholy and minimalist magic of Mette Henriette Martedatter Rølvåg’s music stems in part from her family origins in the Sámi, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. The young Norwegian tenor saxophonist and composer shares qualities of Nordic cool and daring that have brought attention to such established ECM artists as Jan Garbarek and Ketil Bjørnstad. The first CD of her debut album for the label presents her with cellist Katrine Schiott and pianist Johan Lindvall in pieces approaching pure impressionism. At first, she keeps her saxophone in a minor role. When it emerges, her quiet authority on the instrument commands attention. The second disc finds Ms. Rølvåg with a 13-piece ensemble in which she establishes a significant composition and arranging talent. In a piece like “Wind on Rocks,” her playing and the entwined subtlety of her writing make her doubly impressive.