A superb follow-up to his well-received Inspirations, Vol. 1 (Rosa, 2010) ensemble excursion, veteran trombonist, band leader, and award-winning Norwegian composer/arranger, Jens Wendelboe unleashes a little Fresh Heat from The Jens Wendleboe Big Band. The disc features contemporary interpretations of classic compositions by trumpeter Clifford Brown, saxophonist Joe Henderson, and bassist Steve Swallow, along with several originals. Wendelboe--who grew up listening to the energetic sounds of the pop group Blood, Sweat & Tears (of which he is now a member), Chicago, and Tower of Power--became a convert to the brassy side of music, a sensibility influencing his arrangements and producing ...read more
Whenever Norwegian-born trombonist, composer, and arranger Jens Wendelboe starts working with his Big Crazy Energy New York Band, there's a rock-solid guarantee that it won't be boring. With uncompromising energy and an impeccable flair for picking tunes that will make his band swing like mad cats on the prowl, Wendelboe serves up his very own funkified version of contemporary big band jazz on Inspirations, Vol. 1. Billy Cobham's Pleasant Pheasant" is an invitation to the dance floor with its fat brass attack, including a line-up of no less than four trombones, complemented by tight, electric bass lines ...read more
Norwegian trombonist Jens Wendelboe, who loves to “get crazy” by exploring various Jazz formats and sounds from swing to funk, Jazz–rock to fusion, motors straight down the middle of the road on the first of these two discs by his Crazy Energy Quartet, playing, for the most part, songs from the archives of popular and Jazz standards in a sinuously fluent manner that comes closest, perhaps, among his contemporaries to Carl Fontana (or a lower–voiced Bill Watrous, one of whose compositions, the fiery “La Zorra,” is among the tastier items on the menu). After flexing their collective chops on tunes ...read more
These releases by Norwegian trombonist Jens Wendelboe’s appropriately named Big Crazy Energy Band date from 1991–92, and they show again that while Wendelboe is an excellent Jazz composer/arranger, he is never one to take himself or the music too seriously, sprucing up his works with all manner of modern contrivances and conferring on them such highly descriptive names as “Fanfare and Punk (for the Monkey and the Monk).” There is some overlap, as Elisabeth Moberg sings “We Need Us All” on Volumes 1 and 2 (she’s also heard on “Take the Chance,” Vol. 1, and “Seasons Wander,” Vol. 2). Each ...read more
These discs could well be subtitled “Jens Wendelboe: The Early Years,” as both were recorded in the mid–’80s, the second as the (still relatively youthful) Norwegian–based trombonist/composer was completing work on a master’s degree in composition from the Manhattan School of Music. They may have been intended as LPs (the digital revolution was then in its embryonic stage) which would explain the relatively brief playing times (40:02, 48:36). Wendelboe’s compositions (he wrote and arranged everything on both discs) are good–humored and energetic, and he has a penchant for such “modern” contrivances as synthesizer and “electrified” instruments. Lest that be construed ...read more
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