Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music


KROG, Karin

(b 15 May 1937, Olso, Norway) Singer. Began as a teenager, working with local musicians at the Penguin Club in Oslo; hired by pianist Kjell Karlsen '55, sang at the Humlen Restaurant in Oslo '57, voted best female jazz singer in the annual poll of Norway's weekly paper Verdensrevyen '59. Began fronting her own groups early '60s, touring Scandinavia with Jan Garbarek and Arild Andersen; performed at the first Molde Jazz Festival with Karlsen's quartet. She studied with Anne Brown '62-9 (the first Bess in Porgy And Bess), then with Ivo Knecevic until '72. She performed at Antibes '64 and made her first recording, By Myself on Philips with the Egil Kapstad Trio, the first Norwegian LP by a solo artist. Don Ellis met Karin in Oslo '62 and wanted to collaborate with her; it didn't happen until '67 when she went to California: the one session yielded 'In Your Arms' and 'Lady Night', released as a single on Brave; they wanted to do more but never got around to it (Ellis died suddenly in '78).

She was named Artist Deserving Wider Recognition in down beat '67, leading to a European tour '69 and recording with the European All Stars (Albert Mangelsdorff, John Surman, Francy Boland, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Daniel Humair), followed by a Japanese tour with down beat poll winners '70. Her second album was Jazz Moments '66 on Sonet; then Some Other Spring '70 on Sonet/Storyville, with Dexter Gordon, Kenny Drew, NHØP, etc including an impromptu vocal track from Dexter on 'Jelly Jelly', which happened after he began imitating Billy Eckstine (his former boss) during the studio rehearsal. (She had known Dexter since '63 when they shared a bill at the Neptune Jazz Club in Bergen.) You Must Believe In Spring '74 on Polydor included songs of Michel Legrand, arranged and conducted by Palle Mikkelborg. George Gershwin + Karin Krog on Meantime and We Could Be Flying on Polydor (with the Steve Kuhn trio) both came out '74; As You Are on RCA with Nils Lindberg and Hi-Fly on Compendium (reissued on Meantime) with Archie Shepp both '76: Karin put words to Carla Bley's 'Sing Me Softly Of The Blues'. Shepp's pianist Beaver Harris had brought Karin to Archie's attention and suggested they work together; then by chance she ran into Shepp and Harris at the Oslo train station, booked a studio for that evening, and between 1 and 7 a.m. they made what was regarded as one of her best. A Song For You on Phontastic with Bengt Hallberg (b 13 September 1932; d 2 July 2013), Three's A Crowd on Bluebell with Red Mitchell and Cloud Line Blue on Polydor with John Surman all appeared '77. With Malice Towards None '80 on Bluebell is a duet with Nils Lindberg on organ. I Remember You '80 on Spotlite included Warne Marsh and Red Mitchell. Two of A Kind '82 on Four Leaf Clover is a duet with Hallberg, one of her most rewarding in terms of simplicity, with good tunes from Mercer, Frishberg and Gershwin to Ray Charles. Freestyle '85 on Odin is a duet with longtime companion John Surman, a departure for Krog, implementing synthesizers, bells, modulators etc. Something Borrowed, Something Blue '89 on Meantime included Kenny Drew and NHØP. Jubilee: The Best Of 30 Years '96 on Verve is a two-CD compilation of hand-picked tracks spanning '64-91. She started her own Meantime Records '87 to reissue some of her own work; One On One compiled '77-80 tracks, duos with Mitchell, Hallberg and Lindberg.