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Live Reviews

Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2010

By Published: July 26, 2010
The sound of this all-star group was simply wonderful as the musicians navigated through a program of melodic material, including Koppel's groovy "Hammond Street" and Werner's "Untitled Lament" where the pianist showed a sense of deep lyricism comparable to Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
, developing melodic motifs like pearls on a string that resembled carefully constructed songs within the larger compositional framework. Werner's playing throughout the many sessions was continuously awe-inspiring and close to transcendence.



In many ways, Søren Bebe Trio might be seen as a student of Werner. He certainly belongs to the tradition of lyrical pianists that goes from Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
1921 - 1977
piano
and Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
through Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
. What Bebe adds to the lyrical tradition of the piano is a sense of folk-like simplicity, with mourning melodies blossoming like shy night- flowers. His trio with versatile drummer Anders Mogensen and electric bassist Niels Ryde is capable of the kind of close interaction that spawns magic moments. For the concert at the intimate Spanish bookstore Rayuela, situated in the charming quarters of Nørrebro, the trio went well beyond the melancholic mood that characterises their latest offering, From Out Here (Your Favourite Jazz) and stretched across a wide repertoire, sporting some solid blues-based workouts. Still, the highlights, and what Bebe does best, were the ballads where his lyrical playing really shone, especially in the reading of Ryde's "Heimat" and in his own "Song for Andrea" and "Song for Sophie."

Saxophone Bonanza
Piano-lovers were not alone in being treated to a feast of outmost musical excellence, connoisseurs of the saxophone also had the possibility to enjoy some of the instrument's most idiosyncratic and elegant practitioners. While Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
played with the grand backing of The Danish Radio Big Band, some of the festival's greatest moments arose in more humble, chamber-like settings. The trio Fly, with bassist FLY
FLY
FLY

band/orchestra
, drummer Jeff Ballard
Jeff Ballard
Jeff Ballard
b.1963
drums
and saxophonist Mark Turner
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
b.1965
sax, tenor
, have become one of the most interesting explorers of the saxophone-trio format. Their name is particularly well-chosen, because while the group certainly swings, it does so in a light, almost featherweight way, where the instruments seem to blend into each other. They play upon the pulse, instead of the beat, transferring the principles of Claude Debussy's impressionism to jazz. The concert at Copenhagen Jazzhouse showed a group at the height of their powers, with especially Turner sculpting each phrase into a work of art as the group explored the material from their ECM-album Sky & Country, peppered with a selection of standards and other favourites.



Joshua Redman, another young tenor saxophonist, whose profile has risen in the later years, played a stunning set at the Jazzhouse, introducing his double quartet to an enthusiastic Danish audience. Redman took the bulk of his material from the album Compass (Nonesuch, 2009) and while bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson
Gregory Hutchinson
Gregory Hutchinson
b.1970
drums
, who play on that album, also played at that concert, FLY
FLY
FLY

band/orchestra
(bass) and Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
b.1970
drums
(drums) were replaced by Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
b.1966
drums
(drums) and Matt Penman (bass). This replacement gave an interesting change in the dynamics of the group, with Stewart adding a more hard-hitting, funky feel to the proceedings. Redman- compositions like "Identity Thief" and "Hutchhiker's Guide" were captivating studies in harmony and groove, but it was when the group played Gil Evans' "Barracudas (General Assembly)," in the Wayne Shorter-inspired version found on Etcetera (Blue Note, 1965), and Redman called in Mark Turner as a guest star that the concert changed from being excellent to becoming purely sublime. Here, the two saxophonists acknowledged the debt to the classic Blue Note hard bop recordings of the sixties, while adding a whole new sensibility to the tune, their fiery lines cascading like cathedrals into the air. Both Redman and Turner showed that they have become style-icons in their own right, stepping out of the shadows of their predecessors.

For a brief moment, the unification of Joshua Redman and Mark Turner gave the blueprint for a dream blowing session. However, the idea of an all-star saxophone meeting was fully realised at Prøvehallen in Valby where saxophonist Benjamin Koppel and pianist Kenny Werner had invited Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
and Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
b.1953
sax, alto
to a steaming symposium of sax playing.


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