Prinsens Orkester: I 508 Farver (2003)
The most intriguing aspects of I 508 Farver lie in its lush melodies, all written by leader Michael Nielsen. Despite being a studio affair, the disc offers an opporunity for this newly formed Danish troupe to evoke strong joyous sentiments during each tune along the way.
At the core of the group lies a working trio consisting of pianist Marco Martinovic, bassist Kristor Brodsgaard, and drummer Janus Templeton. Prinsens Orkester has great potential in attracting new listeners to its jam-based breed of jazz. "Sang, Omspunden" puts you in a relaxed trance-like state while always maintaining an edge that keeps you guessing about what's coming next. Martinovic's piano solo is especially funky.
After a lush Caribbean-influenced melodic statement on "Marabi-Tern," the group sets into a Latin vamp with freeish improvisation, enriched by strong musical comments from trombonist Vincent Nilsson (of the famed Danish Radio Big Band). At the same time, "Lys, Levende" seems straight out of the African-American gospel tradition. "Velosopede" starts as a modern incarnation of the art song or aria for alto saxophone and then shifts directions with a hip-hop driven beat from Templeton and Ghanaian percussionist Ayi Solomon, here on congas.
The disc's downside lies in the Michael Nielsen's unsure tone (except on "Velosopede" and "Kap Feli," where he shines). The leader's sound on alto and soprano saxophones just doesn't compare to Morten Carlsen's inspired tenor or Nilsson's rich trombone. He is unfairly matched, but he should be lauded for bringing this group of musicians together and for providing with such beautiful material.
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Track Listing: 1. Vals P.; 2. Marabi-tern; 3. Sang, Omspunden; 4. Syv-nul; 5. Lys, Levende; 6. Velosopede; 7. Roux; 8. Kap Feli
Personnel: Michael Nielsen - alto, soprano saxes (leader); Morten Carlsen - tenor sax; Vincent Nilsson - trombone, baritone horn; Marco Martinovic - piano; Kristor Brodsgaard - bass; Janus Templeton - drums; Ayi Solomon - percussion.