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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hans Ulrik / Benjamin Koppel / Jon Balke / Palle Danielsson / Alex Riel: The Adventures of a Polar Expedition

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The exploration of arctic landscapes has always fascinated mankind, and both paintings and literature testify to man's longings for the icy unknown. However, few musicians have tried to translate the adventures of the arctic explorers into sound. Danish saxophonist Benjamin Koppel's ambitious The Adventure of a Polar Expedition sets out to right that wrong. Divided into four suites that each portrays a polar explorer and his journey, suite one, “Time and Ice Suite," sets the general mood for the album with an homage to the life and work of Knud Rasmussen. The opening “Nothing but Ice" is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Benjamin Koppel featuring Phil Woods and the Alex Riel Trio: Pass the Bebop

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Even though Phil Woods jokes at every opportunity that, “Emphysema is nature's way of telling you that you're playing too fast, the alto saxophonist still brings a special touch to any recording date, as he remains one of the most inventive improvisers on his instrument with a sound that is always recognizable within a few seconds. Woods is also no stranger to playing in small groups with a second altoist, having recorded a number of sessions with Gene Quill and Lee Konitz, taking part in various alto summit recordings with several fellow players and appearing on Bud Shank's Bouncing with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Benjamin Koppel: Hammond Street

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With the popularity of Hammond B-3 organ-based recordings, it's becoming hard to differentiate one from another. Ever since the patriarchal organ sounds of Jimmy Smith's hot greased soul and Larry Young's smooth sophistication, the organ combo has flourished. Copenhagen alto saxophonist Benjamin Koppel offers his spin on the idiom with Hammond Street. Koppel is a versatile and gifted player who has led ensembles in jazz, crossover and classical music. He's an alto stylist with a tone similar to Phil Woods and Greg Osby; his horn is quick and lyrical. And when you add these attributes to the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Benjamin Koppel featuring Phil Woods: Pass The Bebop

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Danish alto saxophonist Benjamin Koppel has always been inspired by the bebop masters. When altoist Phil Woods was in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2005, Koppel invited the American legend to join him and the Alex Riel Trio in a recording session. Koppel supplied seven original bebop tunes, while Woods selected two standards, “How High The Moon" and “Autumn Leaves," for the session.

Woods just celebrated his 75th birthday. He could very well be the hardest working jazz musician in that age group, and he's certainly still providing the quality recordings that have been his trademark over the past fifty ...



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