The exploration of sound is a natural part of Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess' music. Since graduating from the Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen, he has worked in a wide range of contexts and played with artists as varied as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and singer Sissel Vera Pettersen. With Pettersen he made an enchanting duo album, By This River (Music For Dreams, 2006).
Hess is also part of a musical dynasty, which includes his brothers, the saxophonist Emil Hess and the drummer Mikkel Hess. Together they have become an institution in Danish jazz comparable to the famous Heath Brothers in the US. ...read more
Any kind of duet, whether jazz, classical or rock, presents its own particular set of challenges. It's paramount that the playrs involved come equipped with some kind of simpatico, or build it up quickly. Tenor player Marc Mommaas and pianist Nikolaj Hess tackle this task on Balance. Funny Bones Jones begins slowly, then opens up into an up-tempo tableau of melodic and harmonic exploration. Hess uses Mommaas' shriek-punctuated flights of fancy as a springboard for his own clever melodic left hand riffs and abrupt, hard bop-flavored chords. Mommaas races along with a comparatively light tone on these ...read more
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