Driving Miles

A special meeting between two people in Molde has been given a very special after-story, which has become Henning Mankell's musical monologue "Driving Miles"

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Molde city and the jazz festival has been important for each other for sixty years. The festival has undoubtedly made the city bigger and the world smaller a few days in July every year.

A jazz festival is first and foremost about jazz and music, but there will be no real festival without human encounters. Meetings between musicians and the audience. Meetings in the festival street. Meetings between artists and volunteers. A meeting between two people in Molde has a very special after-story. Henning Mankell's musical monologue based on the friendship between Moldejazz driver Svein Åge Johansen and the legend Miles Davis turns ten years old this year in the festival's anniversary year. The play was originally a gift from Teatret Vårt to Moldejazz for the 50th anniversary in 2010 and has since been performed in several places in Europe in addition to the performances at Moldejazz in 2015 and 2016. It is therefore completely natural and in line with many wishes that the piece is now set up again!

Petter Petterson writes about the background of the play:

Early Thursday morning, the Molde Jazzfestival received a phone call from Paris, Miles was not on the plane to Norway, he had food poisoning and was not able to get to the concert. Miles Davis had at that point been inactive for several years. But now he was back again, with a new band and new music, he was still a man who sat the agenda. He had not been to Norway since 1971. In the jazz context, this was an event in line with the Lillehammer Olympics ten years later. As most people know, it went well. Miles came, played - six hours late after scheduled time - and won. The fifteen hundred listeners who after the concert left Idrettens Hus that morning felt they had taken part in a historic session.

When Miles landed at Årø Airport an hour before midnight, he was first handed a bouquet of roses, and was then interviewed by Dagsrevyen's Ragnar Auglænd. Then the festival's transport manager Svein Åge Johansen and his white Cadillac took over. It is quiet for a while in the car, while Miles takes in the scenario on the way to the city center. After a while - pointing to a picture perfect blue and white Moldefjord in the dim light of summer night - he asks: "Is that all ice?" Svein Åge explains that he is not that far north. The next question is: "Do you like my music?" Svein Åge is bottled up with folk and rock music and knows little about modern jazz, and is also an honest man, so he answers: "Nope", but immediately thinks that in this case he should maybe told a little lie, he had heard of Miles temperament. But Miles laughs out loud, slaps Svein Åge on the shoulder, and says: "Let's be friends." It was the start of a special friendship between driving instructor Johansen from Molde and jazz musician Davis from New York.

The story of this relationship forms the backdrop for the play "Driving Miles", written for the regional theater in Møre og Romsdal Teatret Vårt by the famous Swedish author Henning Mankell. The play is performed by three musicians and an actor, and contains, in addition to the story of the two main characters, also Miles-related music.

Text: Henning Mankell

Crew: Per Egil Aske - actor, Ole Jørn Myklebust - trumpet, Jørn Øien - piano and Jens Fossum - double bass.