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 2, TV2 which was also showing rare photos, depicting Riel with Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, Bill Evans and acclaimed rock group The Savage Rose.
Wayne Shorter once said “To hell with the rules, I’m going for the unknown”. This is what we did on this recording. No talks about tunes, keys, solos, tempos—as a matter of fact Jean-Michel and Marilyn hadn’t even played together before. We just started playing to see where the music would take us - and as you can hear it was quite a trip. We did two long sets and occasionally a tune would emerge - but most of the time we where in unchartered waters, taking us to places we haven’t been before. This is the ultimate way of improvising.
Why then is the album called COMPOSING? Well - Arnold Schoenberg also once said “Composing is improvisation slowed down”. This album is compositions in realtime.
- Mads Vinding