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.
Heine Hansen’s piano is playful, even bubbling and almost singing, like an early bird in the first days of spring. On his long awaited debut album, Hansen unfolds his signature sound on eleven new compositions of his own. Until now, he was best known as a sideman – modest, but highly respected as an elegant accompanist. In all probability Denmark’s most ethereal, swinging jazz pianist.
A signature is something so personal it can’t be replicated; Heine Hansen plays the piano with a unique sense for applying rhythm and melody. With Thomas Fonnesbæk on bass and Alex Riel on drums, a truly beautiful symbiosis of eloquent melodies and precise playfulness emerges like rays of sunshine finding their way through green leaves.
Heine Hansen is a talent in his own league: This spring, he was awarded the Ben Webster Award of 2016. Heine Hansen will be performing with Riel and Fonnesbæk during Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2016 (July 1-10). Signature underscores Hansen’s merits and connects Scandinavian simplicity with graceful warmth.