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Jens Jefsen: Jam Me Up

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Veteran Danish double bassist and educator Jens Jefsen, who performed with legendary jazz musicians as Ben Webster, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and Johnny Griffin, gives a new meaning to the term "jam up." For Jensen, it does not mean malfunction or inefficiency but an opportunity to rethink his playing when guest musicians are put to the test playing his musical conceptions and aesthetics.

Jam Me Up features Jefsen's recent compositions for solo double bass enriched by intimate meetings with guest musicians and enhanced with software-generated sounds and light percussive sounds. Jensen is gifted with a rich, warm tone and plays with commanding, flowing rhythmic ease. He adds to his highly melodic, lyrical compositions, with tracks sent to him by fellow partners as the gentle, atmospheric lines of guitarist Uffe Stein or the associative, wordless vocal improvisations of Live Foyn Friis. Other musicians—pianists Hans Esbjerg, accordion player Emir Bosnjak and Jefsen's son Oskar Hougaard Jefsen were invited to play with Jefsen in his studio. Jefsen recorded his duets with pianist Martin Schack at Schack's home. This solo endeavor enabled Jefsen to be in charge of all aspects of the artistic process—first, experimenting with textures and sounds, then choosing musical partners, exploring, recording, and mixing options, and having complete control on the final outcome.

These intimate compositions for duo and trio formats capture the impressive, profound bond that Jefsen has with his partners. "Waltzing Bits" with Schack shines with its reserved, emotional impact. Steen, and Foyn turn "Califest" into a game-like play with rhythmic sounds while Bosnjak and Foyn color "Wiretapping" with nuanced, melancholic shades. The last composition, "Et Smukt Liv" (a beautiful life in Danish), is dedicated to Jefsen's mother in law, a woman who inspired the whole Jefsen's family. Jefsen, Steen, and Foyn perform this heartfelt, charming melody with rare elegance and grace.

Beautiful, emotional exploration of the double bass an a leading instrument.

Track Listing: Take Someone's Hand; Input One; Makin' Loopee; Waltzing Bits; Climb and Fall; Played Privately; Califast; Jam Me Up; Wiretapping; A Scent of Spring; Et Smukt Liv.

Personnel: Jens Jefsen: double basses, percussion; Uffe Steen: guitar (1,2,5,7,11); Live Foyn Friis: vocals (3,7,9,11); Oskar Hougaard Jefsen: vocals (10); Martin Schack: piano (4,6,8); Hans Esbjerg: keyboard solo (10); Emir Bosnjak: accordion (3,9).

Title: Jam Me Up | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Gateway Music

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