Norwegian saxophonist and composer Trygve Seim is best known to English-speaking audiences for his recordings as a sideman and leader on the ECM label. But in his native Norway, he is considered a prolific recording artist, collaborator, and curator of sound. In Europe and Asia where his catalog is far more extensive, he is a nearly ubiquitous presence on the festival circuit as a soloist, bandleader, featured composer, and sideman. His membership in guitarist Jacob Young's quintet has spread his reputation to the U.K. and U.S. as well. Seim's 2004 date Sangam was widely celebrated for its fusion of jazz, international pop, and modernist styles, while 2010's Purcor: Songs for Saxophone and Piano, paired him with pianist Andreas Utnem, a longtime associate to duet on various original and traditional compositions. Choosing from a mix of liturgical compositions for mass and some original pieces, Utnem played in his own classical- and jazz-based style while Seim improvised around him. The result was a critically regarded hybrid of classical, jazz, and folk styles.
Seim was born in Norway in 1971 and began playing saxophone in 1985 after hearing Jan Garbarek's Eventyr album. That tone has followed him down through the decades, but Seim's approach is warmer and sparser than his great influence's. He studied at the famed Trondheim Musikkonservatorium with Edward Vesala and Terje Bjørklund in the early '90s. In 1991, he and Christian Wallumrød (a fellow student) formed the quartet Airamero with bassist Johannes Eick and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen. The saxophonist also joined Jon Balke's large band Oslo 13 in 1992. Eventually, he became one of its co-leaders. Airamero issued a lone self-titled album in 1994. Through the rest of the '90s, Seim played on records by Motorpsycho, Jacob Young, Squid, and Odd Nordstoga, to name a few. He also co-founded the Source with Johansen, Øyvind Brække, and Mats Eilertsen, an ongoing concern.