There seems to be a fresh discovery of an obscure gem every month. Not that I am complaining, especially with this release from the Fontana vaults.
Presenting Jazz Quintet 60 is the last of the very few records cut by a group of veritable who's who of the Danish jazz scene in the 1960s. It has been reissued by Universal on CD for the first time. The music is surprisingly refreshing and not at all dated after 44 years.
Although it is strictly in the hard bop vein with no earth shattering innovations there is something unique and non-formulaic about the group's interplay and their individual solos. The pianist Bent Axen sounds a bit like Bud Powell and the tenor player, Niels Husum, is reminiscent of John Coltrane in his early years but they are influenced by these giants and not just copying their style. The other members of the group included a teenage Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass, who already had his own unique sound.
The tracks consist of one standard, one Horace Silver composition, one by Jimmy Woods, and four originals. All pieces allow each musician ample solo roomwith enough timefor group interplay. Compared to other contemporary groups on the European scene; (such as Diamond Five of the Netherlands, Tubby Hayes' group from the UK and the Belgian groups led by Rene Thomas and Bobby Jaspar), this group's style is much more solidly based in the hard bop idiom with loosely swinging bass lines and bluesy melodies. It is a shame that a group with so much talent lasted a mere three years and only produced a few records. This fact makes the current recording even more of gem because of its rarity.
This is beautiful, enjoyable hard bop, and although it does not create a musical revolution, it is nevertheless a revelation that rewards repeated listens. Moreover, it is yet another testament of the trans-cultural appeal of the music called jazz.
Track Listing: One More Chant; Anticipation; Yake De Yak; Waltz For Sharleen; Every Time We Say Goodbye; Little Annie Fanny; St Vitus' Dance.