If there ever was a rhythm section that doesn’t need much introduction then it’s these two – drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten have in the last 30 years been two of the leading forces in Norwegian jazz (using the term in the broadest possible sense). Through countless projects, hundreds of recordings and thousands of concerts the two have left a mark that will define this era of music. They both started out as students at the Trondheim Conservatory of Music in the 1990s, approximately at the same time, and quickly started to collaborate. It was clearly a good match. This meeting of minds lead to a series of projects over the years: Element, San, School Days, Scorch Trio – and best known: The Thing and Atomic. Now all of these projects are a thing of the past, but the wish to create music isn’t, so when the Trondheim Jazz festival in 2019 asked the two to do something to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Trondheim Conservatory of Music’s jazz section it was decided that they should put together a new band. The result was an octet of musicians they had been working with and/or wanted to work with for the last years: Isabelle Dutoit, Hanne De Backer, Signe Emmeluth, Magnus Broo, Alexander Hawkins, and Johan Holmegaard. The 2019 project for various reasons didn’t happen, and was further delayed by Covid-lockdown, but in 2022 they all got together, played four gigs and recorded what is now a new CD, co-released by Nilssen-Love’s PNL and Håker-Flaten’s Transmissions Records labels. “Guts and Skins” offers no looking back on their previous collaborations. This is no time for nostalgia. The music needs to go forward. But what the band benefits from is two artists who clearly knows and trusts each other, who are are not afraid to push themselves into new areas, and taking chances. The music is written by the pair together, but clearly trust the musicians they’ve picked for the project to bring their own qualities. And in that sense “Guts and Skins” is a trademark Nilssen-Love/Håker Flaten product: unpredictable, creative and high energy.