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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: Wah-Wah

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Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff's sixth album as a leader is a collection of elegant, subtle and intensely melodic compositions that simultaneously sound innovative and accessible. Wah-Wah is also his first without a saxophonist, leaving him alone in the frontline. His, long and satisfying solos are often tinted in muted colors as his intricate improvisations remain within the melodies' frameworks. His tasteful, complex and intimate sound on the opener, “Circle and Up," showcases his virtuosity without flaunting it. Pianist Gary Versace's sparse and contemplative playing enhances Waldorff's lyricism endowing the tune with a laidback, suave feel.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: Wah-Wah

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Danish-born, Sweden-based guitarist Torben Waldorff takes the leading role on Wah-Wah as main soloist, putting his melodic integrity, and a natural leadership that stresses tight group interplay, up front. All his original compositions feature the guitarist's gift for structuring engaging melodies with rich and sophisticated harmonic patterns and tasteful and economic solos, all varied in moods and colors but never indulging in excess. Waldroff's American quartet, featured on this album, toured with these tunes right before heading to the recording studio. Waldorff's compositions are built on strong and clear melodic lines, enabling the quartet to communicate with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: Wah-Wah

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Guitarist/composer Torben Waldorff has released a number of penetrating recordings, including 2008's Afterburn and 2010's American Rock Beauty , both on the musician-driven ArtistShare label. They are shaded with top-notch musicianship, fresh perspectives, and one elusive quality: the art of being copacetic, where the music evokes a sense of cool that's not just defined by chops or technological devices but, more so, with a vibe that feels relevant and evocative. Wah-Wah is further proof of the Sweden-based guitarist's abilities. Waldorff expresses composure and lyricism in the vein of Kurt Rosenwinkel, one that's less concerned about blistering runs ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Torben Waldorff

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Meet Torben Waldorff: Born and raised in Denmark. Went to Berklee for four years. Have two CDs out on Swedish label LJ-Records. Signed with ArtistShare in New York 2006, with three CDs out--Brilliance, Afterburn and American Rock Beauty, all with saxophonist Donny McCaslin, a friend from the Berklee days, plus drummer Jon Wikan and bassist Matt Clohesy. Sam Yahel is also on Afterburn, while Jon Cowherd plays on American Rock Beauty. Recent performances include JazzBaltica, Rochester Jazzfestival, Aarhus International Jazzfestival and a long list of clubs in Canada, US, Scandinavia etc. 55Bar, Cornelia Street Café, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: American Rock Beauty

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On his second release for ArtistShare, Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff has chosen to test the rare telepathic interplay among his quintet members on songs that were sketched intuitively in a matter of minutes. This unique approach has resulted in some very infectious tunes with strong, beautiful melodies, though it does feel as though this gifted quintet could have risen to higher challenges. Joining Waldorff are tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon Wikan--all of whom played on Waldorff's previous release, Afterburn (ArtistShare, 2008)--along with new recruit, keyboardist Jon Cowherd. The close and tight understanding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: American Rock Beauty

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Danish composer/guitarist Torben Waldorff has crafted a plainly titled but memorable album in American Rock Beauty. Waldorff is an articulate and lyrical musician, which counts for a lot on an instrument that is prone to be used with effects that mask its organic beauty. American Rock Beauty is a sophisticated blend of American and European streams of music, from rollicking folk dance to the swing and swagger of jazz melded with burnished impressionism. Throughout, Waldorff shows himself to be a virtuoso guitarist with a great sensitivity for image, emotion and expression, all of which take precedence over his technique. His ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: American Rock Beauty

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It's interesting to watch musicians approach the comfort zone. Some see it as something sacrosanct, a precious relic to be protected and preserved like antique china; others treat it like the family handball, never hesitating to pick it up and hurl it against the wall with all possible force. Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff takes a third route on American Rock Beauty, slipping inside the comfort zone and expanding it from within.

There's nothing initially threatening or offensive about any of the pieces on Beauty, and that's usually a bad thing, because it means the artist didn't even try ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: American Rock Beauty

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Guitarist Torben Waldorff does not shy away from a challenge. He channels the unknown for germane ideas that he plumbs with resolute imagination. And it does not matter if inspiration comes on the path to invention or flies from the written note.

Waldorff's wrote the music for this CD with his band in mind. Having played together, he knew just where they could take the written note. Their communication is fertile and the end result is persuasive in its logic and resolution.

Donny McCaslin and Waldorff are often the complement, and the foil, to each other. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: American Rock Beauty

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Capitalizing on the continued formula of a cohesive unit and compositions, centered not only around progressive musicianship but also melodic identity, American Rock Beauty further illuminates the dynamism of guitarist Torben Waldorff. Expanding on 2008's well-received Afterburn (ArtistShare), Waldorff confines himself to a stereotypical jazz idiom; his compositional ventures explore American rock, hard-hitting fusion, and poignant lyricism. His potent group continues to feature the pliant rhythm section of bassist Matt Clohesy, drummer Jon Wikan and formidable saxophonist Donny McCaslin, while also adding keyboardist Jon Cowherd, a member of Brian Blade Fellowship. Though edgy, the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: American Rock Beauty

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A record's title can be useful in giving a hint of the kind of music that can be found on the album. In the case of guitarist Torben Waldorff, American Rock Beauty reveals itself as a title that brings forth an entire musical poetic conversation. If the album is like a river flowing in many different directions, the water is the aesthetic and approach of rock. Even though there's no doubt that Waldorff is a jazz guitarist, capable of crafting impressive melodic solos on the spur of the moment, the heart of album isn't in the improvisations, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: Afterburn

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Over the course of his recordings, Torben Waldorff has shown his skills as a composer in addition to his undoubted accomplishments as a guitarist. Waldorff wrote six of the tunes here, in addition to one each from composer/arranger Maria Schneider, drummer Jon Wikan and saxophonist Joel Miller.

Waldorff and tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin work particularly well together. But the other musicians make compelling contributions also, and it is in that overall ambit that the CD comes up trumps as the band digs into each tune and brings out its richness.

Waldorff's compositions are varied in their ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: Afterburn

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For his sophomore effort, Danish guitarist/composer Torben Waldorff unleashes a strong album which gives his listeners more of the same and then some. Waldorff, who is now based out of Malmo, Sweden, had previously enjoyed a well-received album of a live performance, Brilliance (ArtistShare, 2007). On this studio-made album, Waldorff stays with the same formula but turns the heat up quite a bit.

The most influential catalysts on this session are provided by saxophonist Donny McCaslin (returning from Brilliance), and keyboardist Sam Yahel, whose work on Hammond B-3 organ, Fender Rhodes and piano give Afterburn a distinctive edginess. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: Afterburn

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Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff follows up his Artist Share debut, Brilliance: Live at the 55 Bar (2006) with Afterburn, a studio session featuring the same core group of New Yorkers featured on his previous release. Based in Denmark and Sweden, but educated in the States, Waldorff is a shining example of today's vibrant international jazz scene.

A reunion of sorts, Donny McCaslin (tenor) Matt Clohesy (bass) and Jon Wikan (drums) are joined by keyboardist Sam Yahel on a stirring set of original tunes. With all but three pieces written by the leader, the quintet explores Waldorff's sophisticated harmonies ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Waldorff: Afterburn

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Danish guitarist/composer Torben Waldorff's fourth release, Afterburn, manages to unite European sensibilities with American post-bop vibes. Throughout this impressive recording Waldorff--now based in Malmo, Sweden--delivers sophisticated harmonies and an elaborate compositional architecture with a distinctive guitar sound owing more to Metheny, circa his ECM days of more than twenty years ago, than to Scofield. But Waldorff also saves enough room for his musicians to open up these compositions, to explore and even to err while doing so. Waldorff defines this process as “beautiful mistakes."

As with other ArtistShare releases, Waldorff knows how to use the interactive format, and ...



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