Riel, Alex


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.


Jørgensen, Leif Juul / Kristiansen, Søren / Riel, Alex / Lundgaard, Jesper: On the Road...

New live music from some of Denmark’s most prominent and longest standing jazz musicians. The Danish Jazz Quartet has recorded six tunes that have long proven their worth as vehicles for improvisation, be it in jam-session or more organized contexts. Here, they sound as fresh as ever, played by four musicians who obviously enjoy playing—and sharing.

Three quarters of the quartet have been visible all over the Danish jazz scene for many years. The fourth man, Leif Juul Jørgensen, is just returning to the professional jazz scene again, and it’s about time! All friends from when they first began playing in the 1950s and 1960s, the four took up playing some gigs around Denmark in 2012. During an intermission, drummer Alex Riel said: “I think we should make this quartet a permanent one. The chemistry among us is just great” -and so they did. In 2014, their first collaboration Just Jazz was released on Storyville Records. The way the trio accompanies frontman Leif is not only a matter of their lifelong versatility and ability to adapt; rather, it reflects their sincerity a...