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Blood, Sweat, Drum + Bass with Palle Mikkelborg & David Liebman: In the Spirit of...

Jakob Baekgaard By

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It is not long ago that a lush six-CD box set called A Good Time Was Had By All (Storyville, 2014) was released to celebrate the 50th birthday of The Danish Radio Big Band. The Danish Radio Big Band is indeed an institution in Danish jazz and so much so that it sometimes overshadows two of the other excellent big bands in the country: Aarhus Jazz Orchestra and Blood Sweat Drum + Bass Big Band. The latter has its own box set release coming out, a combined CD/DVD-release that shows the power and invention of the experimental big band led by Jens Christian "Chappe" Jensen.

The album is called In the Spirit of... and includes some prominent guests: trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, saxophonist David Liebman, ney-flautist Moslem Rahal and three oud-players: Maher Mahmoud, Bilal Irshed and Essam Rafea.

Mikkelborg and Liebman join each other on the title track, which is a suite of Mikkelborg's compositions, including three pieces from his famous Aura, the work he wrote for trumpeter Miles Davis. It is deeply atmospheric music where Mikkelborg's horn and Liebman's soprano lines intertwine in a symbiotic dance and the big band create a rhythmic canvas that ranges from a true Götterdämmerung of sound to subtle ambient soundscapes and sensual reggae rhythms and it all concludes with a string movement featuring the Who Killed Bambi String Quartet.

It is ambitious music and a hard act to follow, but the most impressive thing is that "Chappe" and his big band do not lose momentum at all in the following three epic compositions that explore a musical fascination with the Middle East. "Prayer for Syria" is Chappe's epic composition remixed by Søren Lyngsø Knudsen and "Odd Poetry" uses an unusual, but highly effective combination of distorted fuzz-bass, and Moslem Rahel's enchanting ney-flute while trumpeter Rene Damsbak pays his debt to Mikkelborg and shows the link between the old and the new generation.

Past and present, East and West. Opposites meet on a beautiful and eclectic album that is supported by a generous high-quality DVD that brims with more than two hours of material, including a fascinating road movie. The perfect introduction to an adventurous big band that deserves wide recognition.

Track Listing: CD: In the Spirit of....; Prayer for Syria; Odd Poetry; On the Road to Alhambra. DVD: A. Aura excerpts: Intro, Aura (Yellow, Blue, Violet), The Gull; B. BSD+B at JazzAhead Bremen 2014 - Roadmovie by Ida Marie Gedbjerg Sørensen; C. BSD+B at JazzAhead Bremen 2014, the Concert; D. Prayer for Syria; E. Oud Indigo; F. I Return to Damascus; G. The Malinesian Stone glows in the subtle Fire; H. The Beautiful Grey; I. Skyggesværmer; J. Lykkestrejf; Roskilde 2007 Medley.

Personnel: Palle Mikkelborg: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, A, G, H); David Liebman: soprano saxophone & wooden flute (1, A); Helen Davies Mikkelborg: harp (G, H); Moslem Rahal: ney-flute (2, 3, 4, B, C, E, F); Maher Mahmoud: oud (1, A, B, C); Bilal Irshed: oud (3, 4); Essam Rafea: oud (E, F); Jørgen Munkeby: guitar, saxophone (J, K); Gunhild Overegseth: vocals (1, 2, A, B, C, D, F, k); Turid Guldin: vocals (1, 2, A, D, I, K); Anna Brøndsted H: vocals; Ole Visby: reeds (1, 2, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Julie Kjær: reeds (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Nikolai Schneider: reeds (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, G, H, I, J, K); Jacob Danielsen: reeds (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Harald Langåsdalen: reeds (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Mette Rasmussen: reeds (1, 2, 3, 4, A, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Samuel Hejslet: reeds (E, F); Søren ”Phille” Bærbak: trumpet (1, 2, A, B, C, D, E, F , I, J, K); Bent Hjort: trumpet (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Hans Christian Ilskov Erbs: trumpet (3, 4, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Rene Damsbak: trumpet (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, G, H, I, J, K); Frank Brodahl: trumpet (G, H); Nicholai Andersen: trumpet (E, F); Anders Farstad: trumpet (3, 4); Ulrik Kofoed: horn (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D); Jens Overby: trombone (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Jens Kristian Bang: trombone (E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Kirstine Kjærulff Ravn: trombone (1, 2, 3, 4, A, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Anders Østergaard Frandsen: trombone (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H); Lars Peder Brinks Sørensen: trombone (1, 2, A, B, C, D); Lisa Katharina Stick: trombone (3, 4); Frank Herbsleb: trombone (I, J, K); Jonas Lindh: trombone (B, C); Søren Lyngsø Knudsen: electronics (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D (Visuals G, H); Sofus Forsberg: electronics (E, F, G, H); Wayne Siegel: electronics (G, H); Kasper Falkenberg: guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, I, J, K); Jens Christian Kwella: guitar (I, J, K); Søren Bigum: guitar (G, H); Kasper Bjerg: keyboard (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Aske Bode: keyboard (1, 2, 3, 4, A, D, G, H, I, J, K); Sisse "Moster Phonque" Foged Hyllested: bass (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Rune Werner Christensen: bass, synthszier & pedal Steel (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K); Thomas Sejthen: bass (I); Espen Laub von Lillienskjold: drums (3, 4, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Jais Poulsen: drums (1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K); Peter Lund Paulsen: drums (1, 2, A, B, C, D); Magnus Lindegaard Jochumsen: percussion (B C, G, H, I, J, K); Kristine Bjørg Markussen: percussion (1, 2, A, D); Habib Meftah Boucheri: percussion (3, 4); Simon Alsing Busk: percussion (E, F); "Who Killed Bambi" string section: Louise Drengsgaard, Cæcilie Balling, Mette Dahl Kristensen, Marta Marie Petri (1, 2, 3, 4, A, D); Strings: Jakob Rosendahl Povlsen, Anna Jalving, Mikkel Schreiber, Oda Mathilde Holstad Dyrnes (B, C); Jens Christian "Chappe" Jensen: composer & conductor.

Title: In the Spirit of... | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Blood Sweat Media

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