All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

330

Niels Lan Doky: Return to Denmark

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
The trouble with Niels Lan Doky is that, like Saint Paul, he seeks to be all things to all men. He's a pianist, basically in the Bill Evans tradition when it comes to jazz, but says he's equally at home with classical, world, pop, soul, rhythm and blues and electronic music. He lays claim to being a composer, producer, arranger, writer and film director.

Of Danish-Vietnamese origin, he has been a US resident recently—and, on occasion, France. Return to Denmark celebrates the pianist's return to what he calls "the motherland."

On it he tends to go off like a firework, exploding in all directions. For all his obvious technical ability, Lan Doky needs to learn that less is often more. But it's still the most interesting album to have come out of Denmark in a long while.

There are five originals; the best "Children's Song"—uncharacteristically simple and very beautiful—was originally written for Doky Brothers (Blue Note, 1996), a collaboration with brother/bassist Chris Minh Doky. The opener, "Farewell Song," is an uneven mix of the romantic and the rhythmic. "Piano Interlude / The Woman From London" is similar; a marriage of two themes, the second the result of what the pianist calls "a psychic vision."

Then there's the up-tempo title track and "Friendship," which prove that, if only he could relax and stop trying to be romantically portentous, Lan Doky could be up there with the very best of them.

He hits a nice groove, except for an irritating overuse of glissandi as he examines his roots with a medley of "No Problem" and "Jordu," two tunes written by Duke Jordan, the ex-Charlie Parker pianist who found a refuge in Denmark. And in a tribute to his father, a classical guitarist, Lan Doky tackles Francisco Tarrega's "Alhambra." The transposition from six strings to 88 keys is interesting but, in the final analysis, only partially successful.

Of the standards, he's most at home on Gershwin's "How Long Has This Been Going On?" Then there's a heartfelt interpretation of "Secret Love," from Calamity Jane and a rather overblown "Here's That Rainy Day."

Since moving home, Lan Doky has been a prime mover in the reopening Copenhagen's former number one jazz club, the legendary Montmartre. He has written "The Story of Earth And Water"—the theme for the United Nations' 2010, Year of Biodiversity project—and been knighted by Danish Queen Margrethe II. He is said to be working on his third film and writing a new book. Hopefully, one day, he'll find time to make a truly satisfying jazz piano album.

Track Listing: Farewell Song; No Problem / Jordu; Piano Interlude / The Woman From London; Alhambra; Here's That Rainy Day; Children's Song; Secret Love; Return To Denmark; How Long Has This Been Going On?; Friendship.

Personnel: Niels Lan Doky: piano; Morten Ramsbøl: bass; Alex Riel: drums.

Title: Return To Denmark | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: brorecordings.com

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Scandinavian Standards

Scandinavian Standards

brorecordings.com
2014

buy
 

Human Behaviour

Intermusic (Denmark)
2011

buy
Return To Denmark

Return To Denmark

brorecordings.com
2010

buy
 

The Russian Album

Intermusic (Denmark)
2007

buy
 

Misty Dawn

Intermusic (Denmark)
1994

buy
 

Friendship

Intermusic (Denmark)
1991

buy

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the Art Zoyd Box Set" CD/LP/Track Review Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Poetry in Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry in Motion
by Liz Goodwin
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Looking Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Looking Ahead
by Jim Olin
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "The World Of Captain Beefheart" CD/LP/Track Review The World Of Captain Beefheart
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" CD/LP/Track Review More Songs About Error And Shame
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "The Questions" CD/LP/Track Review The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018