2008 Copenhagen Jazz Festival
Other highlights from the near 40 sets of music caught in 5 days time by this correspondent included tenor saxophonist Hans Ulrik who performed a chitlin' circuit-like groovy set with Kjeld Lauritsen's organ trio at La Fontaine (a club much like New York City's own 55Bar in vibe and history). Bassist Eivind Opsvik's first solo bass concert ever, which took place at Literaturhaus, the bassist sounding more like he'd been honing in on this setting for many years. Finish multi-reedman (alto, soprano, baritone, tenor saxophones and flute) and bandleader Mikko Innanen melded Dolphy, Jackie Mac and Ornette into a lively musical stew at Frue Plads. Also at Frue Plads, drummer, multi-percussionist and Miles Davis alum Marilyn Mazur showed off her extravagant set up of various chimes, bells, percussion and drum kit. Mazur also brought to the Huset Salon her United Notions Sax Quartet (Simon Spang-Hanssen on alto and soprano; Anders T. Andersen on soprano and tenor; Emil Hess on soprano, tenor and bass clarinet; Pernille Bevort on baritone, tenor and clarinet), recalling such similar percussion/horns collaborations as the World Sax Quartet with Kahil El'Zabar and Jack DeJohnette. Belgian harmonica virtuoso and pioneer (and living legend) Toots Thielemans played at the outdoor venue Det Kongelige Danske Haveselskab, covering a host of standards ("I Loves You Porgy," "Days of Wine and Roses," etc.) with his quartet.
Italian pianist Stefano Bollani's trio (with Danes in bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund) invited trumpeter and one-time boss Enrico Rava at Copenhagen's Jazzhouse, and staged as much intense improvisation asof coursecomedy and showmanship (Bollani is certainly one of jazz' great entertainers in every sense). Joking aside or at least as introduction, the pianist and trumpeter progressed rather than digressed more often than not and revealed a distinguished musical relationship and chemistry in their creative duo interpretation of "Estate" utilizing a particularly effective ultra slow tempo. Bollani can breathe new life into a melody you may have heard hundreds of times previous, a knack for interpretation over regurgitation.
Perhaps this best sums up the Copenhagen Jazz Festivalwith its programming that acknowledges this music's history, but showcases it in its glory with interpretation presiding over regurgitation. If you missed out this year, there's always next, and a trip to Copenhagen during festival season can't come more highly recommended.
All by Laurence Donohue-Greene except:
Wayne Shorter/Danilo Perez by Jan Persson
Ed Thigpen/Kresten Osgood by Jan Persson