240

Globe Unity: Denmark

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count








Jesper Løvdal
Free Fall
Ilk
2008


Thunderstrucks
Thunderstrucks
Blackout
2008


Jonas Westergaard
Helgoland
Sundance Music
2008




Denmark has nurtured an active jazz scene since the '20s and Copenhagen has been home to expatriate musicians since the '50s. Today, Danish artists like Jesper Lovdal, Jonas Westergaard, Jonas Struck and Kasper Tranberg are making themselves heard on this side of the Atlantic.

Løvdal's Free Fall includes fellow Dane Westergaard on bass, pianist Sam Yahel and drummer Jeff Ballard on a mostly original set. The leader's tenor sax is husky and lithe, his soprano sinuous and lyrical, artfully dodging around the key on "Roots." Yahel's judicious use of space, carefully constructed melodies and diverse textures are best exemplified on "Apollo Voyage Suite." On "Still Good," soprano and piano juggle soloing chores back and forth several times, with supple encouragement from bass and drums; "Two Not One" ends with an empathetic tenor/drum duet.

Thunderstrucks is Struck (guitar), Tranberg (trumpet/cornet), Anders Christensen (bass) and Kresten Osgood (drums), a highly accessible project with rock overtones. Like Free Fall, the band achieves a balanced, close-knit sound. The compositions, all by Struck (with a little help from his friends), are of a piece, many of them polymodal, pitched in guitar-friendly keys and employing contrasting major and minor thirds. The group generates affecting ambiance: a snug trumpet/drums link-up on "Soundcheck"; subtle shifts of mood and mode during "Goin' Up the Country"; slow-rising gestures and fragmented swing in "Movements" and a kaleidoscopic play of colors on "Motives/Chinese Lover," the episodic centerpiece anchored by Osgood's pliant rhythms.

Westergaard leads his own date on Helgoland, a little-big band outing highlighting his compositional and arranging acumen. The charts exhibit scope and variety: the title track and "Until It's Time" are voiced with lush, swelling chords; "One Over the Hill" has intricate counterpoint between the brass and reeds and "Red River" and ..."and they'll take what you got" utilize the five-horn frontline as variant voices on a theme, exploiting different combinations in unison to create subtle gradations of tone. The melodies blend mainstream jazz ideas with folksy flavors. Alto saxophonist Jesper Zeuthen exudes cool passion on the opening cut, building to a shrieking peak, only to land softly, then takes another fine turn on the final track. Guitarist Jakob Bro and pianist Soren Kjaergaard play together like twin brothers: their tandem soloing on "One Over the Hill" is seamlessly collaborative and their bell-like blend on the intro to "Levitated" is delicately imbricated. Jakob Høyer's drums mesh well with the leader's bass to weave the whole fabric together.


Tracks & Personnel

Free Fall

Tracks: Free Fall; Reedman Redman; Flowers; Roots; Other Roots; Apollo Voyage Suite; Still Good; Two Not One.

Personnel: Jesper Løvdal: tenor & soprano saxophone; Sam Yahel: piano; Jonas Westergaard: bass; Jeff Ballard: drums & percussion.

Thunderstrucks

Tracks: Prelude; Doris Day; Soundcheck; Dark Prague; Motives/Chinese Lover; Psalm; Thunder Revue; Goin' Up the Country/Burlesque with Betty; Movements; Stilstandstilstand.

Personnel: Kasper Tranberg: trumpet & cornet; Jonas Struck: guitars; Anders Christensen: acoustic & electric bass; Kresten Osgood: drums & percussion.

Helgoland

Tracks: Helgoland; Dream; One Over the Hill; Red River; ...and they'll take what you got; Levitated; Until It's Time.

Personnel: Jonas Westergaard: bass; Peter Fuglsang: clarinet, bass clarinet, flute; Jesper Zeuthen: alto saxophone; Niels Vincentz: tenor saxophone, flute; Kasper Tranberg: trumpet; Mads Hyhne: trombone; Jakob Bro: guitar; Søren Kjærgaard: piano, Fender Rhodes, celeste; Jakob Høyer: drums.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Blues Deluxe 2 Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Clouds and Stormy Nights: A New Pair from QFTF" Multiple Reviews Clouds and Stormy Nights: A New Pair from QFTF
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon" Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Blues Spotlight: Robert Finley / Donald Jay Johnson And Gas Blues Band / The King Brothers" Multiple Reviews Blues Spotlight: Robert Finley / Donald Jay Johnson And Gas...
by James Nadal
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on Losen Records" Multiple Reviews Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 7, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.