Desert Island Jazz
Bodil Niska (2011)

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Bodil Niska is an impressive tenor-saxophone player born in the little Arctic town of Hammerfest—about as far north as it's possible to go in Norway, and Europe's candidate for "World's Northernmost Town".

Bodil's father, Axel, an engineer by profession and a painter and accordionist by avocation, introduced to jazz via Ben Webster and Stan Getz. The accordion has a lot of buttons, and she confesses to a fascination with things with buttons: this, combined with the influence of Ben and Stan, meant that the tenor saxophone was a natural choice.

Bodil became something of a musical legend in her home town, and then moved down to the capital, Oslo, about 20 years ago, blending seamlessly into that urban jazz scene. Encouraged by friends, she formed her first band, and all-girl group, "Girl Talk", and later released her first recording, appropriately entitled "First Song".

Bodil has a big sound on tenor saxophone, not only because of the influence of Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon, but because of the particular one she plays, a Selmer Mark VII. When not performing with that big sound, she runs the all-jazz music store and café, "Bare Jazz" (Norwegian for "Only Jazz"). Their web address is As she herself says, "You can send an e-mail, I'll call you up, we can have a chat, and find out what you need."
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Abbey Lincoln You Gotta Pay the Band Bird Alone Verve Gitanes
# 2 Hank Mobley Workout The Best Things in Life Are Free Blue Note
# 3 Dexter Gordon Doin' Allright You've Changed Blue Note
# 4 Dr John In a Sentimental Mood Candy Warner Bros
# 5 Fred Astaire The Fred Astaire Songbook Isn't It a Lovely Day? Verve
# 6 Art Tatum Complete Group Masterpieces Gone with the Wind Pablo
# 7 Patti Austin For Ella Miss Otis Regrets Playboy Jazz
# 8 Larry Vuckovich High Wall: Real Life Film Noir View from Telegraph Hill Tetrachord
Book The Real Book
Luxury Item "My saxophone" (a Selmer Mark VII)
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