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Soren Moller: Christian X Variations

Edward Blanco By

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Making a special social statement with his music, Danish-born pianist Soren Moller honors the memory of Danish King Christian X who, during World War II, protected his country's Jews from discrimination and deportation by the Nazis. The effort to protect and unite fellow countrymen served as the inspiration for the compositions on Christian X Variations.

These are five powerful compositions, arranged for both a conventional quartet and a wind quintet, with Moller blending elements of jazz and classical music. Calling upon saxophonist Dick Oatts—whom the pianist has collaborated with several times since 2005—Moller fills out his quartet with Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole and American bassist Josh Ginsburg, performing exclusively on "Kvartet I" and the standout "Kvartet II," which also features Oatts and Moller.

The three "Nonet" pieces exhibit a classical texture with the use of the Kirin Winds, an award-winning woodwind quintet—all members of the Sonderjyllands Symphony Orchestra in Denmark—that incorporates oboe, clarinet, flute, horn and bassoon instruments, with exciting results. Introduced by the wind section, the closing "Nonet III" breaks out in a delicious romp by Moller, with Oatts weighing in with a simmering solo of his own, to close out a very interesting session of modern jazz.

Whether or not Moller succeeds in conveying some sort of historical message in homage to an honorable Danish King, what Christian X Variations does accomplish, in quite compelling fashion, is to lay down a polished set of progressive music, in easy to digest form.

Track Listing: Nonet I; Kvartet I; Nonet II; Kvartet II; Nonet III.

Personnel: Soren Moller: piano; Dick Oatts: saxophones; Josh Ginsburg: bass; Henry Cole: drums; Jorunn Solloes: flute; Sai Kai: oboe; Nicolai Eghorst: clarinet; Jeppe Rasmussen: horn; Catarina Zeh: bassoon.

Title: Christian X Variations | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Audial Records


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