Collectors of rare Danish jazz are in much better position in 2020 than they once were. Little labels like Centrifuga and Frederiksberg Records are dedicated to digging out lost pearls and the big Danish jazz labels are following suit. Not long ago, Storyville brought the classic album Sentiments
(Storyville, 1972) by saxophonist Sahib Shihab
back into circulation and now Stunt Records has reissued an ultra-rare album of modern Danish jazz that will whet the appetite of even the most seasoned collectors. The signature of saxophonist Carsten Meinert
certainly raise expectations.
Meinert has already secured his place in Danish jazz history with the album To You
(M.S. Records, 1968), a beautiful Danish translation of John Coltrane
's modal innovations that was reissued on Frederiksberg Records in 2015. Now follows a perhaps even rarer Meinert record that sees him seeking new paths in the company of fifteen musicians, including one of his close collaborators, pianist and arranger Ole Matthiessen
Matthiessen is also involved in the 50th Anniversary Edition of the album. The vinyl version comes as a replica of the original, but the CD adds three extra takes of "San Sebastian," "Before Sunrise" and "C.M. Music Train." Matthiessen has written notes in Danish and English and helped bring the sound up to date together with Julian van Kranendonk and Jørgen Vad. The result is as sparkling and vital as the music is.
The opener "San Sebastian" is a strange kind of flamenco free-jazz (flamenco's nods to the Arabian connection in Spain), making the music an enchanting Aladdin's cave of sound with vibraphone, barbed wire guitar and blowing horns. "Before Sunrise" gives a nod to Pharoah Sanders
' deep spiritual jazz while "C.M. Music Train" rides along with energetic rock rhythms, starting out with a skeletal Velvet Underground-guitar, courtesy of Danish avant-garde-and world music-maestro, Pierre Dorge
, before moving into a solid groove with a free flowing organ solo, funky drum-breaks, punchy brass and restless percussion.
The travel theme continues on the very short (34 seconds) sketch "I'm Going To Valby By The Railroad Track," a folk-blues acoustic ditty that is prefaced by another epic exploration, "This Time," which revisits modal jazz with Meinert breaking out into throaty solos on his electric Varitone sax while Lee Schipper once again takes it away on the vibraphone. The three extra takes are a welcome bonus that show how much the musicians were "on." The whole recording sparkles with energy, curiosity and playfulness as the group finds new challenges in the blueprint of Miles Davis
' Bitches Brew
(Columbia, 1970), jazz-rock, spiritual free jazz and modal music.
This music train is going full speed ahead without looking back. Today, the music is still fresh and deserves to reach a wider audience than the lucky few who heard it the first time around. Thanks to Stunt Records the opportunity is here now.
San Sebastian; Before Sunrise; C.M. Music Train; This Time I’m Going To
Valby By The Railroad Track; San Sebastian take 1; Before Sunrise take 1; C.M. Music Train take 4