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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 / Meyer, Ulf: Kinnings

This 61 minute CD (11 tunes) was recorded in Hamburg in Oct. 2002. The band is comprised of four top European musicians - three Germans and one Dane. Half of the tunes are original compositions, the rest are older jazz standards ("Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans" and Duke Ellington's "Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues"), and newer jazz standards ("Groove Merchant"), also including some latin inspiration ("O Grande Amor"). Guitarist Ulf Meyer has a fine, flowing feel, sometimes reminiscent of Pat Metheny. Alex Riel, from Denmark, is one of the best and most famous drummers in Europe today. The four musicians on this CD are highly compatible, making the music sound effortless and relaxed.