“Like lying down in a warm valley, feeling safe, surrounded by love, guidance, and still a sense of wonder, that is how I feel about this band “ -Kira Martini
In the course of the past few years, Kira Martini, has become a strong and well-known character on the danish jazzscene. With her positive energy and frank ways; her warm, true voice; and a broad repertoire of different styles, she is unlike any other singer on the scene. Kira Martini is both a jazz singer and a songwriter, and up until now she has released 4 albums in total, with the 5th, entitled Warm Valley, ready for release. The album is a mix of great songs from the history of Jazz, but also draws on Folk and Bossa nova inspirations for its diverse expressions.
“I am so grateful for this collection of fine people. Each skilled musicians with heart and soul, that manage to bring their personalities into their playing. The combination of our very different backgrounds, ages, experience, musical references, and persons, brings a certain chemistry. Each time I get on stage with these guys, I feel I’m a part of something real special. I feel a flow of happiness, love and gratitude. I feel challenged, connected, playful, free, and above all, heard and understood.”
Throughout, Warm Valley is full of great musicianship, due to its experienced players. It’s the type of album that sounds laid back and easy going and yet very focused.
Buy or stream the album here.
With New Visions, Enrico Pieranunzi demonstrates that at the age of 69 he is at the peak of his career. This recording bears witness to his greatness as a musician, and also how open he is in his musical approach. Chances are taken. It is a delight to hear this trio as it sets the standard for how jazz can be played, here and now.
Pieranunzi is an exceptional pianist, whether he’s playing solo, duo or trio. Melodically, harmonically, and not least of all rhythmically, he is “out of this world”. He has something you simply don’t hear with other musicians. Part of the explanation is likely due to a unique combination of influences, from his deep roots in classical and Italian music to his collaboration with iconic film composer Ennio Morricone and jazz giants like Chet Baker and Art Farmer. The rest – and most importantly – is due to Enrico himself.
Yet, Enrico Pieranunzi is totally his own man. He knows what he’s looking for, and for that reason alone one must be cautious in suggesting with whom he should play. So when in the winter of 2017 I asked Enrico if he would like to play in a trio with Thomas and American drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., it didn’t come as a complete surprise when he said “no, thanks”. Still, I couldn’t help asking about Ulysses one more time because I had the feeling he was precisely the drummer whose playing would inspire both Enrico and Thomas. I was convinced that Ulysses would be a good counterpart, and that the match-up had to be tried out.
Ulysses in fact belongs to a great new generation of drummers who play on a level of energy and technical proficiency rarely found outside the United States and which isn’t always compatible with European musical norms. But this doesn’t apply to Ulysses Owens, Jr., whose incredible sensitivity and attentiveness allow him to fit into the European context. He is one of the warmest, most smiling individuals I’ve ever met. At the same time, beneath his affable exterior lurks the classic drive and strength of an American drummer – an essential cultural ingredient that jazz cannot do without.
Buy or stream the album here.
Christina Dahl Quartet is ready to release a new album on Storyville Records named “Quintesse”.
Christina Dahl Quartet consists of some of the most exciting and respected musicians in Denmark. The guitarist Niclas Knudsen, who has his own unique expression, embraces the music with magic and creates inner images. Nils Bosse Davidsen, who is an extremely creative and playful bassist & cellist, manages to give a touching & sensuous experience, Espen Laub von Lillienskjold, who is super creative and varies the sounds on the drums, adds a great dynamic & energy to the music.
The quartet appears as an original group with its very own personal musical expression. Based on Christina’s compositions, all reflecting life and its wealth of dynamics and colors, the Quartet tells stories. The music is organic with a spiritual and sensual openness and brought out into the edges of life with a clear lyrical sense. It is beautiful and strong interplay that creates a present sound illustration. The quartet plays with a dedicated fervor and heartfelt interaction, where the instruments talk to each other, giving an impression of a common vision and direction.
Christina Dahl is a bandleader and composes music for small & larger ensembles. She is one of the most respected saxophonists in Denmark, and has appeared in a myriad of contexts, and is characterized by her unique tone and lyrical interpretations. She masters the ability to maintain an intensity and vicinity in her music. Her playing varies from the most intimate and understated to the abstract and the wild. Christina Dahl received Bent Jædig Price 2010 & Honorary Award by the composer association DJBFA 2011 and Walther Klæbels Mindelegat 2012. Christina has also received the Ben Webster Prize in 1994.
Pre-order/Pre-save Quintesse here.
Pre-order digital or CD via Bandcamp.
Danish blog Jazznyt has created a fine new playlist of contemporary danish jazz. We encourage you to support it! To listen to the likes of Thomas Hass, Zier Romme & many others folllow this link.
Alongside Lars Jansson, Lennart Ginman and Thomas Blachman, Thomas Hass has recorded the album “WEST”
The album was recorded on 10 and 11 December 2018 in The Village Recording in Copenhagen. The music consists entirely of compositions by Thomas Hass, most of whom, as the cover of the photo of Malibou Pier suggests, were written during a three-month stint in Los Angeles in the spring of 2018.
Lars Jansson expresses himself virtually and melodiously in Thomas Hass’s compositions and, with his rhythmic surplus and congenial flair, creates a superb space for Thomas Hass’s mature and intense saxophone playing, which with this exquisite album may hit one of his 30-year career’s preliminary artistic highlights.
While Thomas Hass’s long-awaited collaboration with the Swedish super pianist is of a completely new date, the three other musicians have worked together on several occasions. in the award-winning jazz group “Page One”. The music is therefore also composed with a look at the very special dynamic and plastic playing that are found between Thomas Blachman and Lennart Ginman. An ensemble that creates unique conditions for Thomas Hass’s characterful sound and helps to give the album a very special sound. The music ranges from poetic minimalist passages to fast-paced and virtuoso temporid.
As a young man, Heine Hansen applied for admission to the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, but was told that they couldn’t teach him anything that he hadn’t already mastered.
The music speaks for itself. Rarely will you have heard a more exuberant trio. With Thomas Fonnesbæk’s powerful bass front and centre, Heine Hansen and Alex Riel are unleashed. Chances are taken and musical quotes are made from the great songbook of jazz, all while the music flows through Heine Hansen’s light Scandinavian vein. Entirely exciting, wholly unpredictable and utterly creative. As arranger, composer and pianist, it is to Heine Hansen’s credit that this recording is so accomplished.
BUY THE ALBUM HERE
Zier Romme is ready with his debut album. The album will be released around the time that Zier will be a father for the first time – double up! Romme is accompanied by the talented, young musicians Pelle von Bülow, Rune Fog-Nielsen and Rodney Green.
Zier Romme represents the fresh and most dedicated reinvention of music from the 60’s and 70’s, where jazz was swinging in trios and quartets. The new generation of jazz musicians are serious in their reinvention and Zier Rommes new album ‘Stories’ is a great example of that. Romme has always been inspired by Oscar Peterson and about the inspiration he says; “I grew up with him and now I’m listening to him again. I idolized him as a kid, where I was completely spellbound by his music. It’s funny listening to the records again, they are amazing, but now I’m also listening to other pianists. But back then Oscar Peterson was the only one for me.”
Not only does Zier Romme, Pelle von Bülow, Rune Fog-Nielsen and Rodney Green play together. They are also friends, and that had a massive impact on the progress of the album. Romme says: We did a testrecording half a year ago, but we weren’t satisfied. But then Rodney sent us some new songs, and that really started something great. Rodney worked both as a musician and as a kind of producer, and I think that pretty much all the recordings were one-takes. Rune Fog-Nielsen is my best friend. We often meet and hang out – he’s my bassplayer, and he’s great! Pelle plays the melodies and I do the harmonies and it is as much his record as it is mine. I want Pelle to be on everything I am.
The album will be release in Denmark 12th of April 2019 and the 17th of May 2019 worldwide.
The music on this album could be called ’a prelude to a love affair’. Why? Because it was the great tenor saxophonist Ben Webster’s first encounter with the country and city he decided to spend the rest of his life in, living, playing and loving. It was also his first day on the continent after a successful time in London, mostly at Ronnie Scotts famous club.
The day in January 1965 when he entered the Danish Radio Concert hall, a wonderful, wooden acoustic architecture from the thirties, began with a short band rehearsal and sound check for the live concert on the Sunday afternoon on the FM radio wave. One hour. His backing would be his new friends, Kenny Drew, Niels Henning Ørsted-Pedersen, Alex Riel… the bass player would from then on be called only Niels by Webster.. and the producer, Børge Roger Henrichsen, a well estimated pianist, bandleader and radio editor, wanted to ‘time’ the concert… thus is Webster playing one chorus of ‘In A Mellowtone’ in two tempi at the Steinway for Roger to get his stopwatch in sync. Of course the concert stretched over time with applause from the full house and since it was live, we only get to hear the first chorus of ‘Cottontail’ at the end. The News had to break in.
Known for her exuberant spirit and contagious optimism, it is only fitting that bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb has recorded a Christmas project to celebrate her 10th CD and first with Storyville Records.
“I wanted to assemble a program that creates a feeling of “hygge” and joy without being overly sweet or boring. I carefully selected songs from my childhood, songs reflecting long-standing friendships, and songs that are just fun and wintery. This is a soundtrack for tree trimming, lighting candles, and hanging out with those you love.”
On board for this project are Korb’s long-standing trio mates Magnus Hjorth, piano, and Snorre Kirk, drums. As a holiday bonus, the trio is joined by Mathias Heise on harmonica. The sound of Heise’s harmonica fits the voice beautifully and adds and extra sparkle to the entire project.
Buy the album here
The massive Treasury Series has now reached the end and is completed with the release of Treasury 25.
Duke Ellingtons Treasury shows, recorded between 1945 and 1953 by the US Treasury department, was created as a means to have the public buying war bonds, ie. loaning their money to the government in support for soldiers. Duke Ellington was at the height of his popularity at the time and was the perfect representant.
The Treasury series consists of 25 releases, a total of 50 CDs altogether, with all the known Treasury shows from 1945 to 1953, and new, hitherto mostly unreleased bonus broadcast material from the 1940s.
In his liner notes to vol. 1 (in 2000), Bob Bamberger quoted the late Klaus Stratemann who in ”Day By Day and Film By Film” wrote that the release of these unedited Treasury broadcasts represented ”the most dedicated effort ever to preserve for posterity a musician’s achievements of a specific era and make them available…Its documentary value is inestimable… it provides a vivid portait of the band and it’s leader…” And Bob Bamberger commented: ”It is no exaggeration. And just think. This is only the beginning.” This final double CD contains a series of different radio NBC broadcasts from the famous Blue Note club in Chicago, Illinois and The Hurricane Club in New York from the summer of 1953. The CD set also incudes bonus recordings from The Hurricane Restaurant from the spring of 1943 and 1944. The broadcasts are featured complete with radio speaks and encouragements to buy bonds read by The Duke himself, plus bonus material and liner notes.
The whole Duke Ellington Treasury Shows series are now complete withh 25 double CDs. The Treasury Shows form an indispensable addition to the history of Duke Ellington and jazz big bands in the 1940s.
View all of the Treasury Series releases here. (Select “Treasury” under “Series”)