The Danish Jazz  Quartet 
visiting Jazzens Venner i Randers 03. april 2014

THE DANISH JAZZ QUARTET
- intelligent, swinging and inventive  jazzmusic !

„The Danish Jazz Quartet“ is a name that brings obligations. A label which somehow indicates that here you will hear the essence of Danish jazz. Danish jazz of the top drawer. It is no wonder that the audience this evening is full of expectation, sitting comfortably round the small decked tables in candlelight. In this dimly lit room with relaxed conversation which in itself is an expression of something very Danish, the „hygge“, cosiness. An atmosphere which is hard for the Danes to define, but which is always commented on by other nationalities who visit us. The atmosphere and sense of expectation is set, and it is time for the musicians to enter the stage. Leif Juul Jorgensen is the first on stage . We know him very well. Back in 2010 he visited our club with Theis Jensen. Incidentally, Theis Jensen’s very last tour. Again in 2012 with the „Danish Hot Swing Quartet“, which had exactly the same line-up as tonight. The band has just changed its name to the more representative „The Danish Jazz Quartet“. Probably because the band is setting some targets abroad, where they would also be good ambassadors for the Danish jazz tradition. The band’s quality means that we, with national pride, can easily display these musicians on an international stage. After Leif Juul Jorgensen, Soeren Kristiansen arrives and immediately sets his course over to the electronic keyboard, Jesper Lundgaard places himself at the double bass and Alex Riel finds his place at the drums. Counting 1-2-3-4, the sounds of „I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby“ ring around the room. An old classic from 1926, which presumably Fats Waller composed. Though it is Johnny McHugh who is credited with the melody in 1928. At that time there was a good deal of upheaval over the rights to the tune, but Fats Waller probably sold the number to McHugh and there is therefore no more reason to argue about it.
The melody sings out with great conviction, in classic swing style and in medium swing tempo.
Leif Juul’s full-toned clarinet is to the fore. In a style between Benny Goodman and Edmond Hall. Beautiful sound and tone, close to the theme of the melody and later in 4/4 rhythm, uptempo, with fine improvised phrases. Think what you can do with an ergonomic, bespoke, Bflat Marno Soerensen clarinet from 1957. Only one of these still exists. The harmonies and rhythm flow from the electronic keyboard in Soeren Kristiansen’s skilled hands. Here you get left-hand and right-hand work in all its facets. A strong-toned left-hand and hectic, continuous right-hand, or full Erroll Garner harmonies, rhythmic and melodic qualities of a high level. And, in addition, he can get the keyboard to sound like the most expensive Kawai grand piano—yes, and even better, because as Soeren Kristiansen knows how to vary the sound on the Roland keyboard, not even the best grand piano can sound like that! A sudden pause. Silence--and the next moment he gives the reins to Jesper Lundgaard, who sets a firm beat and round and booming tones from his double bass. Slow, medium and uptempo variations give the melody its story and mood. His bow is going into action, poetry blooms and humour has its chance, with sounds like a creaking door, a hoarse throat and badly oiled wheel—or is he just trying to copy the sound of a baritone sax or a bass clarinet? That is what is exciting.
At the root of this musical environment is the bass rhythm of
Alex Riel’s bass drum. In between, rhythms sometimes syncopated and against the beat, the cymbals whipping up in tempo, so that numerous rhythmic pictures and tempi are floating in and out between each other. I wonder where these rhythms live, where these ideas come from and how they are co-ordinated to a coherent whole. You only know that when you can do it yourself. Yes, perhaps even Alex Riel himself cannot explain it. In any case it sounds like it is totally spontaneous and natural. This is exactly the secret of these musicians. Their ensemble-playing is formed as much by listening to each other as by playing. Quick glances, attentive eye-contact and a telling smile is communicated between them: in ensemble-playing, during soli and when one chases. Here you meet the absolute essence of jazz music, here real jazz is defined. The melody is just the starting point for improvisation. A wealth of ideas is the prerequisite to be able to improvise, where improvisation becomes a collective tool, where one of the musician’s ideas are placed at the service of the others,  taken up and supported, further developed and realised in a new form and rhythm. Not in an arrangement which is later played. No, here in the moment. Right now. And we, as the audience and listeners, are given the permission to witness this creative and shaping process. This is how these musicians are functioning. They are not thrashing around. They are not trying to please the audience. They allow us to look into their very special universe. And we are allowed to experience the magic moments which appear in the process.
This is music. This is jazz music!
In this way we experience many fascinating moments. The happiness of recognition, in the company of classic jazz tunes. Juan Tizol’s „Perdido“, Gerald Marks „All of Me“, George and Ira Gershwin „Oh Lady Be Good“, Roy Turk „Mean to Me“, Murray Mercer „I Want a Little Girl“, Thelonius Monk „Blue Monk“ or „Pastel Blue“—and many others.

All in all an atmospheric jazz experience in company with exceptionally competent musicians:
„The Danish jazz Quartet“.

Best wishes

Ryan

 NB In addition, a little curiosity. The weekend before this jazz evening there was a exhibition in Horsens of crime-novels, where Alex Riels’s wife, Ana Riel, was honoured to receive the debut prize for her first novel, „“Slagteren i Liseleje“ (The Butcher of Liseleje“). As the critics wrote: „A funny and intelligent crime-novel, where the author also brings herself into play, among other things by meeting her drum-player husband on one of Liseleje’s streets“.  In this way, in posterity, Alex will be remembered not only from music literature but also from novels . Well done!
 

 

 
 
 

The Danish Jazz  Quartet 
visiting Jazzens Venner in Randers, Denmark, 12. april 2012

tThe 12th of April 2012 "Jazzens Venner" in Randers, Denmark, had a visit by the Danish Jazz Quartet.
A swinging and elegant band, which
Leif Juul Jorgensen has gathered around him. Leif Juul Jorgensen is this evening immaculately turned out, with a controlled charming appearance, with good manners as you would expect from a life in business management. Thoug in relaxed style, which suites the informal atmosphere of the evening.  The other musicians clearly appeared from a jazz background in the usual casual style, wearing the outfit which would fit this particular day of the week. They are all from, what you might call, the mature end of the jazz gallery. Well known faces from whom you expect the best performance.
This means
Alex Riel on drums, Jesper Lundgaard on bass an Soren Kristiansen on keyboard.
This particular evening we have moved to other premises, which means that the musicians and the audience have moved closer to each other. Perhaps that is why , in humming of the room, you sense the expectations are rising towards the opening number. What will these bigwings bring forward ?
Leif Juul Jorgensen Announces: Oh Lady be good. An old well reputed song by George and Ira Gershwin, especially made popular by Ella Fitzgerald, but in this case probably with clear associations to Benny Goodman. Oh, what a melodiousness.
We know Leif Juul Jorgensen from the time with Theis Jensen. where he loyally presented Theis's arrangements. But the role up front suits this noble clarinettist very well. Leif Juul Jorgensen has a very good clarinett tone.  Round, soft and full-bodied in the low register. Clear and full-bodied in the high register. Even in the very highest register there is not a hint of sharpness, which is often heard from other clarinettists with a less good embouchure. Melodious throughout. And good technique. Leif Juul Jorgensen is a jazzmusician who holds all the qualities that this entails: Slightly modified presentation of the theme of the melody, followed by swinging and energetic improvisations, with a torrent of ear-catching figures and rhytmical phrasing, finely delivering the torch to the next soloist.
Here it is typically Soren Kristiansen who takes over with his supreme playing at the keyboard. It is no wonder that this musician on his arrival  on the jazz scene in the 80's was announced as "the new pianist talent". The talent he has developed ever since, because seldom you will experience a pianist who handles his keyboard with greater naturalness and reserves of energy. If you focus on his hands, you will experience a right hand which veritably flies over the keys and a left hand which sweeps after, hitting the keys and delivering well placed cords one after another. All in the right place, which leaves the total impressions as both melodious and rhythmical. And in the middle of it all he has time for humour. Often he is looking around in the group, listening and waiting ! And then at the opportune moment kicking in a rhythmical or melodic riff, which sometimes teasingly supports what the other musicians are up to.
He is often playing up to Jesper Lundgaard, who condure up interesting themes, one after the other on the double bass. There is nearly a constant eye contact between the two musicians. Jesper lundgaard is a true virtuoso on the bass, and that in itself is so exciting, and it gets incredibly interesting when he puts the bow to the strings. Even in up tempo numbers Jesper Lundgaard is able to deliver long passages playing with bow which are most lyrical. The atmosphere is unequivocally communicated to the audience, which is driven to laughter by the humorous passages in Lundgaard's figurative play:
Masterly and liberating.
Keenly watching the other musicians, Alex Riel sits at the drums and reading the next move and emphasizing the course of the melody and the soloists theme with rhythmical figures and tempo filled riffs, so that the total quality of the music increases a couple levels. He is obviously enjoying playing with the quartet and he is often seen with a broad smile and humming, absorbed by what is happening around him. Here you are listening to a drummer amongst the very best, and who is substantially contributing to this Quartet's high quality level ! Alex Riel delivers tremendous drum soli, imaginative and rhythmically inspirational variations which surpass the fantasy of the audience.
Always exciting and surprising, however with a recognizable connection to the melodic progress, so that all the time you sense the melody underneath the rhythm.

 You will never get enough of that. It is a question if you can ever get enough of listening these mature jazz musicians. The time is flying in their company and the "classical" encore comes much too early.
The audience had a tremendously good evening and can look forward to
The Danish Jazz Quartet reappearing soon.

( By Ryan Simonsen )

 


 

   
 

The Danish Jazz  Quartet 
Jazz Cup Gothersgade 107 Copenhagen juli 2015


Anmeldelse af Lasse Seger i "Orkesterjournalen, Stockholm


JazzCup, Copenhagen  4th of July 2015.The first thing I normally do when I am visiting Copenhagen, is to go to JazzCup, 107 Gothersgade ( A short walk from Jazzhus Montmartre). It just happens to be The Danish Jazz Quartet which is playing here today. The temperature is close to boiling point, as approx.. 80 people are finding their places, a little more than an hour before the concert starts. The clarinet player, Leif Juul Jorgensen, unknown to me, is making a comeback on to the jazz scene. He has played with names such as Wild Bill Davison, Vic Dickenson, Bud Freeman, Theis/Nygaard, as well as no less than Edmond Hall – that is a C.V. which spells “ He must be good”.
Now I have difficulties in understanding how Leif Juul Jorgensen was not known to me. His clarinet playing is really brilliant, with his splendid sound on the clarinet. The master drummer Alex Riel plays absolutely wildly and produces fantastic and vigorous drum soli, which make the audience shout with joy, - so you feel that the band certainly is popular. This particular day JesperLundgaard even played electric bass, and the pianist Soren Kristiansen gave us yet another proof of his masterly piano playing. I think he is Denmark’s best jazz pianist. We forget about the tropical heat, and are warmed by the hot jazz instead. With numbers such as “Lady Be Good”, “ Summer Leaves” ( instead of “Autumn Leaves”) and “Bohemia After Dark”, it turned out to be a splendid and memorable concert by The Danish Jazz Quartet in an intimate Jazz environment.

LLasse Seger, Orkester Journalen, Stockholm.   

Look for more:  http://www.orkesterjournalen.com/recensioner/pa-scen/3863-danish-jazz-quartet-bjod-upp-till-skonsvang-pa-jazzcup

 

     


The Danish Jazz  Quartet 
Seaside Frederikssund oktober 2015

 

 

 

 


The Danish Jazz  Quartet 
Flensborghus den 7. november 2015