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Riel, Alex

Biography

Alex Riel, (13 September 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark), is a Danish jazz and rock drummer. His first group Alex Riel/Palle Mikkelborg Quintet won Montreux Grand Prix Award at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1968 and it was published in Billboards June 1968 edition. Riel has recorded with, among others, Kenny Drew, Kenny Werner, Bob Brookmeyer, Thomas Clausen, Bill Evans, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Jackie McLean, and Dexter Gordon. He has also worked with a wide range of important jazz musicians, including Ray Brown, Donald Byrd, Don Cherry, Art Farmer, Stéphane Grappelli, Hank Jones, Thad Jones, and Ben Webster. He formed a renowned jazz ensemble with bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Kenny Drew.

He was also a founding member in 1968 of the popular Danish rock group The Savage Rose. His album The Riel Deal won a Danish Grammy Award Jazz in 1996. In September 2010, Riel reached seventy years of an age and it was celebrated at the famed Jazzhus Montmartre. The event was broadcast live with the title Celebration Of A Living Jazz-Legend by the Danish national television, which also showed rare photos, depicting Riel with Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, Bill Evans and acclaimed rock group The Savage Rose.




Recordings

Riel, Alex: Full House

When Danish drummer Alex Riel had his 70th birthday in September 2010, the legendary Copenhagen jazz club, Jazzhus Montmartre, decided to celebrate the occasion since it was here that Riel began his career in the early 1960s. The celebration lasted for more than a week, where the man of the hour was presented in a number of constellations that included Palle Mikkelborg, Annisette, Marilyn Mazur, Santa Cruz and Hanne Boel, among others. To round out the festivities, Alex Riel chose three of his favourite musicians to form a band for the occasion. The quartet primarily played jazz standards, including well-known numbers by Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans and John Coltrane. The combination of these four jazz giants turned out to be "a match made in heaven" and luckily the result was documented in a recording. The audience went wild and was left wondering how there could still be so much pep in the birthday boy after ten days of concerts in a row! The concert was also reviewed by the Copenhagen daily, Berlingske Tidende, where it received a practically unheard-of six-out-of-six stars. Ov...