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Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2013

Henning Bolte By

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During the festival, ILK ran 48 concerts with 95 musicians, also celebrating its own 10th anniversary. The program consisted of local and global bands with internationally acknowledged performers including Koichi Makigami (JP), Thomas Morgan (US), Gerald Cleaver (US), Marc Lohr (LU), Beppe Scardino (IT), Liudas Mockunas (LT), Phil Minton (UK), Herman Müntzing (SE), Anders Lindsjö (SE), Ceci Quinteros (AR), Lars Andreas Haug (NO), Ned Ferm (US), Mikko Innanen (FIN), Butch Lacy (US/DK), Johannes Bauer (G), and Axel Dorner (G). The ILK catalog and ILK concerts demonstrated plenty of regularly and recurrent international collaborations over the years with artists including Jon Balke, Jeff Ballard, Han Bennink, Paul Bley, Gerald Cleaver, Andrew Cyrille, Henry Grimes, Evan Parker, Chris Speed, Craig Taborn, John Tchicai and Cuong Vu.

ILK is a forerunner which has triggered the foundation of new collectives and labels. During the past ten years a distinctive artistic profile of openness and diversity has been created, liberated from various kinds of patterns, postulates and prescriptions and dedicated to explorative risk-taking, intuition and consciousness of form serving the creation of firm new expression.

Day 2: Sunday, July 13

The second day began with an interview with drummer/pianist Emanuele Maniscalco, originally from Brescia, in Northern Italy. For the past year he has been studying at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen to deepen his piano capabilities. Denmark has a tradition of musical education where classically notated music and rhythmic music are distinguished on all levels of schooling, hence the name of the conservatory. Together with Swiss guitarist Roberto Pianca, from Lugano, and Swiss saxophonist/clarinetist Nicolas Masson, from Geneva, Maniscalco forms Third Reel, where he plays drums, the trio's self-titled debut released earlier this year on ECM.

Maniscalo gave some insight into the recording of Third Reel at the Lugano Studio. Issues such as the balancing of body and mind in music-making were touched upon, as well as the minimal means principle, the importance of early memory as a source in music and slowing things down.

The first concert of the day took place in the Frederiksberg district. Frederiksberg is a fashionable, green area in the western part of Copenhagen, with the oasis of Frederiksberg Gardens. It is more posh than Nørrebro and Vesterbro, and the people living here are usually older and more established. The main street through Frederiksberg is Gammel Kongevej: shopping, sushi restaurants, cafes and delis. The same is true for Værnedamsvej Street, which is both cozy and cool.

Pianist Nikolaj Hess was playing in a duo with singer Caroline Henderson at Bartof Café, Ndr. Fasanenvej. Henderson, a well-known figure from the Danish scene, subbed for Dutch saxophonist Marc Momaas, from New York, who could not make it. Both are regular musical partners with Hess and a good indication of his musical and geographical range, the pianist dividing his time between New York and Copenhagen.



I decided to take a bike to get to different venues spread around the city. Copenhagen is a biker-friendly city, as popular as Amsterdam, even, and the bike paths were perfect, even though it took more than double the time to Fasanenvej, which meant more than 50 minutes. The next destination was back in the center of town at Kødbye, and then back to the northeastern part to Statens Museum for Kunst. After half a day crossing the city, some useful reference points were revealed and some good routes so that the next and final day, it went both more smoothly and quickly by bike.

Nikolaj Hess was probably the busiest musician in town during the festival. He did at least three concerts per day—very often, even six. Finally meeting him for a talk on Sunday, before a trio concert with his two brothers, saxophonist Emil and drummer Mikkel, he had played the night before until 4 o'clock in the morning at Hess Spacelab, then took the early train to Aarhus in the northwestern part of Denmark for a festival gig, returned to play the trio gig and then, again, did the late night Hess Spacelab. The Spacelab was a regular jam spot in the center of the town, where festival artists like Joe Lovano came to sit in. Still, Hess took the time for a relaxed talk about his last album, Trio (Gateway, 2013), which he recorded last year in Brooklyn with Tony Scherr as bassist and Kenny Wollesen on drums.

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