Record-Busting 100+ Bassists Serenade Tivoli

Record-Busting 100+ Bassists Serenade Tivoli
Fradley Garner By

Sign in to view read count
Record-Busting 100+ Bassists Serenade Tivoli

The seeds were planted by Oscar Pettiford, the seminal American cellist and bassist who put down roots in Copenhagen in 1958, and by the homegrown virtuoso Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, who played his vintage Italian bass like the nimblest-fingered guitarist when he wasn't bowing like Giovanni Bottesini. In August, 2012, the Danish capital's new Opera House was the locus of BASS2012, Europe's biennial and biggest convention of classical and jazz double bassists, lured by some 150 events: concerts, master classes, workshops, competitions—and schmoozing. A world record may have been broken when more than 100 stand-up bassists gave the opening concert in Tivoli Gardens. A houseful gathered for two nights at Scandinavia's renowned Jazzhus Montmartre to pay homage to the late Ørsted Pedersen. On Nordic Night, two Danish master bassists took the stage for a set, followed by two others. The audience stood, sang and hummed while Bo Stief and Jimmi Roger Pedersen improvised on NHØP's favorite folksong, "I skovens dybe og stille ro (In the Deep and Quiet Peace of the Forest.)" They were followed by Mads Vinding and Jesper Lundgaard, who teased the auditory nerves with innovations on "Old Folks" and "Bye-Bye Blackbird."

More Women Instrumentalists Than Ever

There are more woman instrumentalists on today's scene than ever, avers jazz historian Thomas Cunniffe. Over 13 issues in Jazz History Online, Cunniffe and his staff have written profiles and CD reviews of more than 150 woman performers, from vocalists Cyrille Aimee to Brigitte Zarie. Most have had albums reviewed at JHO. And, yes, most are singers. But many—including pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi, reed women Jane Ira Bloom and Anat Cohen, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding—cover the instrumental gamut.

A separate column, "Women in Jazz: The Instrumentalists," focuses on new releases. The most recent, by writer Amy Duncan and Brass Tacks, opens with a newcomer to the Danish jazz scene, saxophonist/flautist/composer Sarah Elgeti. On her debut album of 12 original pieces, Into the Open (Your Favorite Jazz, 2012), writes Duncan, Elgeti's variety of styles "comes across as a unified whole. Her personality is like a golden thread tying all of her work together, with no sense of fragmentation."

"We have over 800 weekly readers and 375 FaceBook fans," says Cunniffe, whose discography research was included in the revised edition of The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz (Sony, 1997). He has written liner notes for albums by local and national artists, including guitarist Charlie Byrd, saxophonist Michael Hashim and vocalist Donna Wickham.

Cunniffe performs as a vocalist in the Denver metro area, both in jazz and classical choral groups. He is proud of his blossoming site's book reviews and interactive features, such as the Swingle Singers' history. Nearing a year and a half online, however, the founder has had to mount a sink-or-swim fundraising drive. So far, he revealed, about $2,500 has been raised.

What Got You Into Jazz?

That question, on the LinkedIn blog Skip Prokop Jazz Friends, is drawing musicians like fireflies. A delightful comment from Norwegian saxophonist Bernt Sverre Kvam deserves exposure [Note: the following quote is corrected for spelling and typos]: "I heard Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd in the late '60s and it grabbed me so much that I went down to the local record shop the day after and bought all the Stan Getz records I could find. After Stan came [guitarists] Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and Pat Metheny, harmonicist Toots Thielemans and many, many more. I think I have all their recordings. I started playing guitar at the age of 14. Playing in a band called Tony & the Swing Blues. Big in Norway in the '60s. Started in the band at age 16 in 1967 until we split in '72. Became professional in '74 in a pop group called Staccato. Started playing flute in '73 and chromatic harmonica in '75. I play all these instruments when I play concerts. This week I'm playing at Haugesund International Jazz Festival on Wednesday and Thursday so wish me luck." We did, Bernt.

80 Players and Singers Deliver "All Nite Soul"


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Jazz In Buenos Aires: Fresh Breezes From The South From Far and Wide Jazz In Buenos Aires: Fresh Breezes From The South
by Mark Holston
Published: September 25, 2015
Read Colombian Festivals: Exotic Jazz Cocktails From Far and Wide Colombian Festivals: Exotic Jazz Cocktails
by Mark Holston
Published: August 20, 2015
Read A Jazz Holiday In Rio From Far and Wide A Jazz Holiday In Rio
by Mark Holston
Published: July 6, 2015
Read Saving Old Records to L.A. Throwback Bands From Far and Wide Saving Old Records to L.A. Throwback Bands
by Fradley Garner
Published: April 6, 2013
Read Guitarist Tomas Janzon Basks in Bassists From Far and Wide Guitarist Tomas Janzon Basks in Bassists
by Fradley Garner
Published: January 6, 2013
Read Shakespeare's Sonnets Sung to a Jazz Beat From Far and Wide Shakespeare's Sonnets Sung to a Jazz Beat
by Fradley Garner
Published: December 7, 2012
Read "Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer Plays Indonesia" Live Reviews Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer Plays Indonesia
by John Ephland
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "The Jazzmeia Horn 5tet at Cooper Hewitt Museum" In Pictures The Jazzmeia Horn 5tet at Cooper Hewitt Museum
by Adrien H. Tillmann
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Cathing up with Lee Konitz" Catching Up With Cathing up with Lee Konitz
by Lazaro Vega
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Gilad Hekselman at the Cornelia Street Café" Live Reviews Gilad Hekselman at the Cornelia Street Café
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 13, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.