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Jens Jefsen & Martin Schack: Dust Shines

Mark Sullivan By

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A wide variety of classic melodies are dusted off and given a fresh shine by the Danish duo of Jens Jefsen (acoustic bass) and Martin Schack (piano). Jefsen's previous album A Secret Sigh (Gateway Music, 2016) featured his bass playing, composing and arranging in the company of several supporting musicians. Here he and his partner present popular music—much of it not usually associated with jazz performance—in straightforward acoustic arrangements.

"Can't Help Falling In Love With You" has a solo piano introduction, while "Danny Boy" goes straight in to the tune. But it's played by the bass: the players take turns in that role. "Somewhere Beyond The Sea" reverses the roles, featuring a solo bass introduction with the piano playing the melody. All of the tracks are fairly brief, most in the four to five minute range. So the song is never far away, but both players take concise solos. "Love Me Tender" offers Schack the space for a more expansive piano solo.

Of course since these are jazz players, things are not completely straightforward. Bert Kaemfert's "L-O-V-E" opens the set with a very conversational, almost free opening before the song begins. And George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" concludes the program with an unexpected contrapuntal introduction, before launching into a lovely rendition of the tune, with the bass taking the melody. But there are no radical reharmonizations or metrical changes: just two jazz players performing songs they love. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

Track Listing: L-O-V-E; Can't Help Falling in Love with You; Danny Boy (Londonderry Air); Lilli Marleen; Love Letters Straight from Your Heart; Mona Lisa; Love Me Tender; Somewhere Beyond the Sea (La Mer); My Way; Pretend; Smile; O Tannenbaum; Pick Yourself Up; While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Personnel: Jens Jefsen: acoustic bass; Martin Schack: piano.

Title: Dust Shines | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Gateway Music

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