NEW CD !!
Album Released: 24th June 2016 - Label: Storyville Records - Reviewed: July 2016
Leif Juul Jørgensen (clarinet), Jesper Lundgaard (bass), Søren Kristiansen (piano), Alex Riel (drums).
When this CD hit my in-tray I admit to a feeling of some glee. The Danish Jazz Quartet consists of clarinet and rhythm section. In my past musical life, 30-odd years were spent working in a clarinet trio or quartet line-up quite often so this was like giving my cat a bowl of double cream.
The album was recorded live in Germany late last year in front of an enthusiastic audience and the repertoire and style of the music are about as “straight-ahead” as you can get which is fine with this reviewer. It was a pleasure to hear some good, honest and uncomplicated jazz.
Clarinettist Leif and drummer Alex are both in their mid-70s but you’d hardly know it when they kick off with that fine old jam session stalwart Undecided.
Bass player Jesper is younger but like the above pair has had the benefit of working in Copenhagen, a city which like Paris, has hosted many top American musicians for decades, giving local lads a chance to listen, learn and even play with some legendary names.
Pianist Søren, the “baby” of the group at 54, has developed a post-bop style on top of his classical training and has accompanied the likes of Art Farmer and Harry Edison.
Mopping their brows, after the Charlie Shavers vehicle, the boys launch into If I Had You which is taken at a romping lick. An out-of-tempo clarinet intro. clearly shows Ed Hall’s strong influence on Leif although his tone tends generally to be more Artie Shaw.
The quartet’s only nod to a more modern era is Oscar Pettiford’s Bohemia After Dark where Alex is given his head in a dramatic drum solo.
Despite a little confusion over the key at the beginning, Lullaby of Broadway features some nice piano from Søren and showcases his more modernistic approach. He declares that after being an Oscar Peterson devotee for most of his career he has recently incorporated more lyrical phrasing, influenced by Bill Evans.
Mean to Me and Lady be Good are both jazz standards. Perhaps familiarity sometimes hides what excellent numbers they are and the group treats them with the respect they deserve.
These experienced Danish professionals don’t attempt to re-invent the wheel every other chorus - they play to their strengths - a listenable and likeable selection of numbers in the mainstream tradition.
Review "Jazz Special ", Denmark:
That the clarinettist Leif Juul Jorgensen has so far not been that well-known on the Danish jazz scene, is presumably his own choice. The nearly 75-year-old player’s background is the circle around Arnvid Meyer in the early 60’s and, many years later, periods with Theis/Nyegaard and this band’s later incarnations, but a very busy business career has for many years meant that his jazz-playing was forced into second place. So there is even more reason to be happy that he is now more visible, with a style of playing which, although it has Edmond Hall as a clear inspiration (not least in the very expressive, slightly rasping tone), also has, especially in its rhythm, an absolutely personal edge, where the slightly cheeky expressiveness and agility (with a slight touch of Barney Bigard) are effortlessly united. The fact that these tunes are rooted in Swing music does not hinder Soren Kristiansen from playing in unconventional ways here and there, and Lundgaard and Riel are able to support loyally and discreetly as well as introduce untraditional passages—notice Lundgaard’s short double-tempo interjections and Riel with a full Krupa-approach in the final Perdido.
Totally brilliant. Music to listen to again and again.
Storyville 1014292. Leif Juul
Jorgensen ( cl), Soren Kristiansen (p), Jesper Lundgaard ( b),Alex Riel
( d), Silkeborg, april 2014.
Weekly", New York: