Anders Blichfeldt & Danish Radio Big Band: Born To Be Blue (2005)
What do you get when you put a Danish rock star in front of a 21-piece big band ensemble and throw in some jazz/blues melodies? The answer? Born To Be Blue. The Danish Radio Big Band serves up a tasteful blend of jazz and blues, played in styles from swing to funk. Singer Anders Blichfeldt, leader of the Danish rock band Big Fat Snake, who grew up listening to big band music, realized a dream come true when he was presented with the opportunity to sing with the world-renowned DRBB under the direction of Nikolaj Bentzon. The personnel list also includes trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist Robben Ford in guest appearances.
These eleven tracks in various styles range from jazz to blues, funk/rock, and even a chorus of Latin jazz. There are four original Blichfeldt songs: "Raining On My Parade," "Born Lucky," "Circle The Wagons," and "One of Us Is Wrong." Also of interest are two Bob Dylan tunes. The opening "Let The Good Times Roll" is a fiery big band piece with a heavy bluesy beat that Blichfeldt accompanies with a few well-placed screams and laughs. "Raining On My Parade" is a straight-ahead jazz tune and another ensemble arrangement where the singer leads the band. There's a change of pace in the third song, "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," as Blichfeldt tones down a real mellow number. Blichfeldt's "Born Lucky" has the big band swinging from the start, and the title song, "Born To Be Blue," is a gem of a blues number that the singer delivers with emotion.
Another no-nonsense jazzy treat with no real bluesy slant is "Circle The Wagon." "Cottage For Sale," a Larry Conley composition, is the singer's only love ballad on this record. And ah! the Dylan song "Highway 61"I think the lyrics tell it best:
...God said to Abraham, kill me a son. Abe said to God, man you must be puttin' me on...Abe said to God, where do you want this killin' done. God said to Abe, out on Highway 61...
Such words can only be sung in the folk/blues/rock style of the great Bob Dylan. The piece also features the rock guitar riffs of Robben Ford. In getting back to sanity, "Upper Eastside Blues" is a blues-based cut with a guest appearance by trumpeter Randy Brecker. "One Of Us Is Wrong," the last Blichfeldt song, contains some beautiful lyrics. The album ends with another Dylan number, "The Times Are A-Changin'," a much saner and blue-tinged mid-tempo song.
With the songs averaging between three to four minutes in duration, the recording is only 42 minutes long. Yet the music is diverse, bold and entertaining. Blichfeldt does a marvelous job singing the blues, harmonizing the jazz, and belting a funk-infused rock tune with equal force and emotion. On this successful joint venture, Blichfeldt and the band deliver a unique musical challenge to those who love jazz, have a fondess for the blues, and still have a place for traditional rock in their heart.
Track Listing: Let The Good Times Roll; Raining On My Parade; Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word; Born Lucky; Born To Be Blue; Circle The Wagon; Cottage For Sale; Highway 61; Upper Eastside Blues; One Of Us Is Wrong; The Times Are A-Changin' (42:00).
Personnel: Anders Blichfeldt: vocals; Nikolaj Bentzon: conductor; Anders Gustafsson, Christer Gustafsson, Michael Molhede, Thomas Kjaergaard, Henrik Bolderg, Thomas Fryland: trumpets and flugelhorn; Vincent Nilsson, Steen N. Hansen, Peter Jensen, Lea Nielsen, Axel Windfield: trombones; Nicholai Schultz, Peter Fuglsang: alto saxophone; Uffe Markussen, Lars Moller: tenor saxophone; Pelle Fridell: clarinet; Anders Gaardmand: baritone saxophone; Henrik Gunde: piano; Anders Chico Lindvall: guitar; Kasper Vadsholt: bass; Soren Frost: drums.