The folks who comprise the “Copenhagen Art Ensemble” are among the top modern jazz players in Denmark these days. And while many of the members veer off into splinter groups, such as “The Crossover Ensemble”, “When Granny Sleeps” and others, these musicians consistently turn in above par efforts regardless of the format or genre. With their latest release titled, Angels’ Share the band utilizes a phrase derived from the maturation process of Scotch whiskey, as the music and overall concept is befitting of an unfolding saga that persists within the often enterprising Danish jazz scene.
A twelve piece unit that deceptively sounds like a full scale big band, “CAE” treads mainstream waters yet often inject modern jazz style diversions into climactic horn charts, contrasting themes and slightly raucous interplay, witnessed on the opening track, “A Fantastic Story” and elsewhere. Throughout, the listener will be treated to poised arrangements amid spirited choruses, multilayered tonalities and quaint doses of dissonant motifs, which are characteristics that are prominently evident on the piece, “Twisted Song”. And just when we become complacent with the band’s intriguing modus operandi, they launch into a sprightly Bop-ish swing motif atop complex phrasings and abrupt shifts in tempo on “Three Faces of Intimate Game”. Here mercurial soloing abounds while Angels’ Share represents yet another admirable achievement by this truly exciting consortium of musicians who continually fabricate novel ways and means of expressing their collective talents. * * * * (Out of * * * * *) ( dacapo records )
Track Listing: 1) A Fantastic Story 2) Seven Secrets 3) Chorale 4) Twisted Song 5) Echoes of Memory 6) Three Faces of Intimate Game 7) Angels
Personnel: Conducted by Ture Larsen: Jesper Riis; trumpet: Jesper Sveidahl; trumpet: Kasper Tranberg; cornet: peter Fuglsang; alto sax, clarinet, alto clarinet: Lotte Anker; tenor, soprano sax: Thomas Agergaard; tenor sax, flute, alto flute: Pelle Fridell; baritone sax, bass clarinet, flute: Jakob Riis; trombone: Klaus Lohrer; bass trombone, tuba: Thomas Clausen; piano, mini-moog: Nils Davidsen; bass: Anders Mogensen; drums
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.