Made in the mid-'60s, over a decade before Thad Jones led the Danish Radio Big Band, this gem of an album offers more evidence of the centrality of Denmark to the modern, post-World War II jazz scene. It's also a forceful reminder of the limitations of the "great names" approach to jazz history, where such worthy talents as the late Sahib Shihab (1925-89) are ignored or marginalized. Shihab, a pioneering bebop baritone saxophonist and flutist, continued to develop and innovate in the post-bop years, as these compositions/arrangements with a slightly smaller version of today's Radio Big Band, ably attest.
Shihab's approach to orchestral jazz is decidedly post-Swing era modern (Charles Tolliver's current big band comes to mind), employing novel voicings, contrapuntal and fugal strategies and a highly developed architectonic structure that makes each of the eight instrumental pieces here utterly engrossing: complete and detailed jazz creations that seem much longer than their three-plus to six-plus minute running times. "Dance of the Fakowees" manages to develop three distinct melodic strains and shifting rhythms through four turns by soloists plus a coda featuring dueling wah-wah trumpet and trombone over handclapsall in just four-and-a- quarter minutes. "Tenth Lament" is a three-part (slow-fast-slow) impressionistic concerto-like piece featuring Shihab's muscular baritone over chimed orchestral voicings in the middle sectionclocking in as the longest track at 6'20."
"Mai Ding," a piece with Afro-Latin beats that seem unique to Shihab (he's heard introducing them to the band on cowbell as a prelude to the track) alternating with two- and four-beat rhythms adds extra time layers in the chordal pacing of the low horns (baritone sax and tuba), building tension through interlocking lines. "Da-Di" builds a simple phrase into a full-bodied theme by slowly adding instruments and layers of staccato counterpoint. "Harvey's Tune," a waltz featuring Shihab's hummed-blown flute solo, employs a counter-melody hinting at a round, while "The Cross-Eyed Cat" develops a busy little theme into a fugue.
Shihab's compositions and solos are the stars here, but the band is terrific too, with fine solo contributions from the likes of bassist Niels Henning Orsted-Pedersen, trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, tenor saxophonist Bent Jaedig and numerous others.
Track Listing: Di-Da; Dance Of The Fakowees; Not Yet; Tenth Lament; Mai Ding; Harvey's Tune; No Time For Cries; The Crosseyed Cat; Little French Girl.
Personnel: Sahib Shihab: baritone sax, flute, cowbell, vocal (9); Palle Bolvig, Palle Mikkelborg, Allan Botschinsky: trumpet and flugelhorn; Torolf Molgard: tuba, eufonium; Svend Age Nielsen: trombone, bass trombone; Poul Kjaeldgard: tuba, trombone, bass trombone; Poul Hindberg: alto sax, clarinet; Bent Jaedig: tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Niels Husum: tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Bent Nielsen: baritone sax, flute, clarinet; Ib Renard: baritone sax; Louis Hjulmand: vibes; Fritz Von Bulow: guitar; Bent Axen: piano; Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen: bass; Alex Riel: drums.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.