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Take Five With...

Take Five With Thomas Winther Andersen

By Published: July 2, 2013
While having a long holiday in Norway I ran into my friend Frode at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival. He mentioned that he was going to Amsterdam for a few days and would then travel further. I offered him the opportunity to borrow my apartment and gave him my keys. He said he was coming back to Norway long before my holiday was over. I forgot all about it until the day before my plane was leaving for Amsterdam. I had not heard from him! I called every hour and left messages on his answering machines. This was before cell phones, email, and the Internet had become common. I got no response.

The next day, I went to the airport carrying my bass all the way to the gate. Before 9/11, I could bring it directly to the luggage crew at the gate for safe handling. I was a bit early for the flight and still angry and also worried about how I would get into my apartment after arrival in Amsterdam. Right next to the gate where I was waiting, a plane arrived from Rome. Automatically, I glanced at the passengers as they left the plane; suddenly I spotted my friend among them. I shouted "Frode!" and we connected. He had the keys in his hand luggage. Although I was still irritated, from that point on I could only laugh and feel relieved. What were the chances of meeting like that? If we had tried to plan it that way, the chance of succeeding would have been very slim. This was pure luck. It was a very uplifting experience and I almost became superstitious! I still laugh when I think about it.

Favorite venue:

Bimhuis, Amsterdam.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Throughout my recordings there are different qualities in tunes and tracks that I like. To mention a few: the song "Insinuation," in Robert Rook Trio's Hymn For Fall has a flow that I like. I also like the way the trio moves in and out of double-time feel. The tune has a nice, open structure that appeals to me. Hearing Robert play so well on my tune makes me happy. On my album, Too Much Bass?, I think "Giant Steps" and "Waltz for Debby" are technically and musically difficult arrangements for the bass. I enjoy how easily drummer Chander Sardjoe renders the complicated rhythm on "Giant Steps." I think the tune survives well with the instrumentation being bass and drums.

"Counter Action," from Out From a Cool Storage, builds up with melodic ideas, with an increasing density of canons and layers of lines and drums. The whole tune is anchored to a short sequence of chords and a bass line. The song "Oktober," on Winther-Storm's Spinnaker, is a sophisticated tune with nice melodic lines and chords. I like being featured on this one.

"Psalm" from Hagen, Halperin, Andersen's East of the Sun is an almost impressionistic melody on top of a jazz standard chord sequence. I like the string arrangement and the intricate harmonic line composed by Jimmy Halperin. Somehow I am able to capture the mood of the tune and character of the line when soloing on this track.

Listening back through 15 years of CD recordings, I hear that my music and playing differ in various settings and slowly change over the years. Looking back at the results, I feel proud to have taken part in them. I think that the music I did with Jimmy Halperin stands out and my recordings with Robert Rook are special. My latest project, Winther-Storm, with my longtime friend and collaborator Hakon Storm, feels fresh and creative. I hope I will play more live with this group in the near future.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Speak with a Single Voice, by the Hal Galper
Hal Galper
Hal Galper
Quintet; The Touch of Your Lips by Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Doug Raney
Doug Raney
Doug Raney
; and Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
1951 - 1987
bass, electric
' Jaco.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

This is a very tough one to answer. Maybe it should be a standard question along with asking yourself why you want to become a professional musician in the first place. For me it feels like asking any specialist in any field, a scientist, politician, or worker: What is your contribution to mankind? From the musical situations I work in, there are a few elements that I consider my strong points. I believe some of my achievement has to do with my work ethic. I keep a natural interest in music by practicing and have a long-term sense of development. I feel very fortunate and enriched by musicians I work with and all the great music that I have been exposed to so far serves as endless source of inspiration.

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Download jazz mp3 “Oktober” by Thomas Winther Andersen
  • Oktober
  • Thomas Winther Andersen
  • Spinnaker