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I Think You’re Awesome: Løft mig op, så jeg kan nå

Eyal Hareuveni By

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I Think You're Awesome is a new Danish group led by double bassist Jens Mikkel Madsen, currently residing in Malmö, Sweden, and known from his collaborations with drummers Kresten Osgood and Kasper Tom Christiansen. His group is comprised of close friends with whom he plays in many outfits—guitarist Alex Jonsson, his collaborator in the Elliot Trio and Live Foyn, keyboard player Kasper Staub, with whom Madsen plays in the Staub Trio, guitar and banjo player Morten Kærup, and drummer Andreas Skamby, with whom Madsen plays in the quartet of saxophonist Lars Fill. All are associated with the jazz scene of Aarhus.

Løft mig op, så jeg kan nå (in Danish, loosely translated as: Lift me up, so I can reach), the groups debut,was recorded live in concert in Aarhus in April 2013 before a supportive audience. Madsen, as his group, has an inclusive musical vision that charges his compositions with elements from Nordic folk music, alternative rock, and even pop songs, and leaves enough room for personal interpretations and contributions. Madsen's compositions are characterized with clear, emotional narratives, but color these stories with touches of experimental improvisations.

The opening track, "Be Kind To Your Neurosis," unfolds as a rich canvas of colors—the earthy banjo fretting of Kærup and the breezy, serpentine guitar lines of Jønsson, both riding on the infectious, tight rhythm section of Madsen and Skamby, spiced with vintage, fusion-tinged keyboard washes of Staub. The emotional "Girls With Radical Haircuts," the title-piece from Elliot's debut album, features Madsen and Jønsson patiently articulating the beautiful melody, colored with the spare vintage keyboards touches of Staub.

Trumpeter Scott Westh and trombonist Jens Beng, both from the Aarhus based quartet Ornithopther, enrich the quintet on the gentle texture of "Jeg Vil Ik' Hjem." The title piece is an evocative and exotic cinematic narrative, enjoying the contrasting, distinct styles of Kærup and Jønsson, the suggestive, contemplative horns of Westh and Beng, the atmospheric keyboard flights of Staub and the subtle pulse of Madsen and Skamby. "MorgenFunk" is the only piece that adopts the experimental vein through sonic searches, mainly in its introduction, before Madsen takes the lead and dictates a leisured, funky rhythm with an impressive solo. Cellist Maria Isabel Edlund, the partner of Madsen, joins on the lyrical, chamber "Schwartzwald," a delicate and haunting melody that highlights the collaborative and balanced interplay between herself, Staub, and Madsen.

Beautiful and highly emotional debut.

Track Listing: Be Kind To Your Neurosis; Girls With Radical Haircuts; Jeg Vil Ik' Hjem; I Think You're Awesome; MorgenFunk; Schwartzwald.

Personnel: Jens Mikkel Madsen: Morten Kærup: banjo, guitar; Kasper Staub: keyboards; Andreas Skamby: drums; Alex Jønsson: guitar; Scott Westh: trumpet (3, 4, 5); Jens Bang: trombone (3, 4, 5); Maria Isabel Edlund: cello (6).

Title: Løft mig op, så jeg kan nå | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

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