Danish drummer Kresten Osgood achieves the musical equivalent of pay-it-forward with Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz. His ensemble of up-and-coming Copenhagen musicians delivers convincing renditions of some archetypal compositions, plus three originals by the leader.
The choice of music on these two discs exposes the quintet to many types of possible criticism. Listeners familiar with the music of Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus most certainly have seminal recordings of these artists burned into their brains' hard-drives. The quintet's covers of these classic compositions beg for comparisons and the ultimate judgement. Take a piece like Wayne Shorter's "Water Babies," heard on Miles Davis' recording of the same name. Osgood's quintet absolutely nails the performance, honoring both the atmosphere of the time (1967) and the sound. Erik Kimestad's trumpet and Mads Egetoft's tenor saxophone capture the era's zeitgeist with Osgood transforming into his best Tony Williams imitation. The drummer has been heard with many legends including Yusef Lateef, John Tchicai, Sam Rivers and Paul Bley, to name just a few, and also has been favored by his contemporaries Michael Blake, Jonas Kullhammar and Steven Bernstein. He has the ability to deliver an authentic performance in any circumstance. Perhaps that is why these fifteen tracks work so well.
The iconic music chosen for this recording invites comparison with the originals. Dolphy's "Gazzeloni" doesn't disappoint with its jagged edges, and Mingus' "Reincarnation Of A Lovebird" maintains an elegant, bluesy feel. As for the musical acid testMonkyou have to marvel at how "Friday The 13th" and "Brilliant Corners" are easily negotiated. Their rendition of "Round Midnight" is shaped not by Jeppe Zeeberg's piano (he plays atmospheric keyboards), but by the abiding trumpet and saxophone of Kimestad and Egetoft. Think Miles and Coltrane.
Osgood hints at things to come for this ensemble with three original pieces. Each composition is an extension of the luminous music covered by the quintet here.
Gazzeloni; Thoughts From Duke; Little Niles; La Berthe; Blues In My Sleep; Crazy Witch Game; Brilliant Corners; Star
Crossed Lovers; Water Babies; Reincarnation Of A Lovebird; Friday The 13th; Monk Fonk; DE DET; Tchicai In Heaven;