This handsome two–disc set celebrates the long and distinguished career of Danish bandleader / composer Ib Glindemann who formed his first band while studying at the Royal Danish Conservatory and has been one of his country’s most eminent maestros ever since. Disc 1, recorded in concert at the Esbjerg Koncerthus in December ’01 with Glindemann’s present orchestra, is evenly divided between instrumentals and vocals by guest artist Gitte Haenning who is much better at interpreting American popular songs than many other European singers we’ve heard. The band itself is moored securely in the middle of the road, performing themes associated with Woody Herman (“Four Brothers”), Glenn Miller (“Red Wing,” “Tuxedo Junction”), Gene Krupa (“Leave Us Leap”), Ellington (“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”) and Kenton (Bill Holman’s definitive arrangement of “Stompin’ at the Savoy”) while German–born Haenning sings a pair of standards (“Bewitched,” “Stormy Weather”), Neal Hefti’s “Li’l Darlin’,” J. Wood’s “My Kinda World,” her father Otto Haenning’s “What Is Life without Music?” and a medley of her delightful “hits,” mostly Danish but including Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein’s “I’ve Told Every Little Star” and Nat Russel’s “I’m Not Too Young to Sing the Blues.” Tenors Mads Ole, Jesper Løvdal, Ole Olsen and baritone Jan Harbeck are the soloists on “Four Brothers,” while others heard to good advantage along the way include trumpeters Henrik Bolberg (“Russian Lullaby,” “Li’l Darlin’,” “Leave Us Leap,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Savoy”), trombonist Flemming Sjølund (“Red Wing,” “Leave Us Leap”), tenors Olsen (“Russian Lullaby,” “Leave Us Leap”) and Løvdal (“Red Wing,” “Leave Us Leap,” “Savoy,” “Don’t Get Around Much”). The disc has a definite “concert–hall” sound with broad reverb but it’s not so pronounced as to be unsettling. As the more generously timed Disc 2 surveys Glindemann’s career from 1952–2002, a few words about that seem in order. After graduating from the RDC in 1956 as a trumpet player / composer he was engaged by theatre director Stig Lommer to lead a sixteen–piece band at the National Scala Theatre in Copenhagen, marking his debut as a professional bandleader. Also that year Glindemann began composing music for films, ballet and the theatre including a new version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest
that had its premiere in Dallas, Texas. He has also written a trumpet concerto (the second and third movements of which are heard on Disc 2) and a symphony. From 1964–68 Glindemann served as director of the Danish Radio’s New Dance Orchestra, which later became the Danish Radio Big Band (and is now the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra), and for the next twenty–six years wrote music for films while traveling around the world before returning to the big–band scene in 1994 and forming his present orchestra, which has been hugely successful playing music from the books of such legendary bands as Basie, Ellington, Kenton, Herman, Goodman, Dorsey, Krupa, Shaw and others. Disc 2 is mainly instrumental but does include four vocals, by Monica Zetterlund (Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” with its seldom–heard introductory verse), Otto Brandenburg (“Er Det Mon Sandt?”), Irina Stranger (“Shiny Stockings”) and Dicte and Claus Hempler (“You’re the Boss”). The disc’s twenty–three tracks were obviously recorded at various times but if the dates are provided in the booklet they are in Danish, so we’ll let that pass. [Trombonist Sjølund wrote to let us know about a number of booklet errors but (aside from the omission on Disc 1 of drummer Ole Givsgaard!) they are negligible and don’t affect the music.] The second disc boasts a handful of well–known guest soloists — trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, tenor Ben Webster and baritone Sahib Shihab (“All on Board,” obviously recorded in the late ’50s, as it features the New Radio Orchestra), tenor Stan Getz (“Cherokee”) — and some home–grown artists whose names were not unknown to us including Bolberg, Løvdal, Sjølund, trumpeter Allan Botschinsky, alto saxophonist Rolf Billberg, tenor Jesper Thilo and trombonist Vincent Nilsson. Three selections (“Miss April,” “Adams Theme,” “Gosh”) appeared first on movie soundtracks. As was Glindemann’s style, much of the rest is an inspired blend of Jazz and dance music with the latter predominating on “Holiday Romance,” “Siesta Serenade,” “Tea at the Ritz,” “Bolberg in Blue” and Ray Heindorf’s “Melancholy Rhapsody.” The Jazz is more prominent on Glindemann’s compositions “Afternoon Amble,” “All on Board,” “Billy’s in Town,” “Little Brown Les,” “Coast to Coast,” “Flemming’s at the Bone” (spotlighting Sjølund’s muted trombone) and “Swing Shoes,” as well as on Ray Noble’s “Cherokee,” which is driven by Getz’s cyclonic tenor but sounds like it was recorded in a phone booth. Gorm Hovaldt is showcased on the second (andante) movement of Glindemann’s concerto for trumpet and orchestra, Knud Hovaltd on the faster, Latin–influenced third movement. While not everything on this anthology can be described as “classic,” much of the music is interesting and some of it is outstanding. Best of all, it gives one a chance to get to know — through his music — one of Denmark’s most renowned bandleaders, the remarkable and multi–talented Ib Glindemann.
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