lunes, 28 de diciembre de 2015

Heads of State - Search for Peace (2015)

This is no clash of titans. Quite the contrary, this power quartet has turned out to be one of the more meaningful meetings of the minds resulting in a performance that has made music of the highest order. Once again the producers at Smoke Sessions Records have produced a winner. This is a vibrant, tender-hearted, boisterously youthful account of some of the most recognisably music in the jazz idiom – from the pens of John Coltrane, Jackie McLean, McCoy Tyner and Billy Strayhorn. The alternation of serenity and dizzying, up-tempo mood-swings has rarely been more securely focussed. Right now, I cannot think of a more swinging disc with music that is visceral, energetic and music that does the idiom of jazz more justice. Why so, one is wont to ask?

Heads-of-State-Search-for-Peace-JDGThe unbridled genius of the four players that make up this quartet is the short answer. It is easy to appreciate this here as each musician pushes the next to dig deeper, perform better and reach heights that might never have been scaled before. Then there is also the magnificent technique of each of the players; the trickiest passages are negotiated as if they are child’s play. But what impresses most is the musicianship of the four artists who are able to make the listener aware of the emotional import of each phrase, apparently spontaneously, as though they only just considered playing it that way. Take the way that they play “Search for Peace” and “Lotus Blossom”. Each performer here is able to find a new tone colour, a different touch of subtle rubato. In the hands of the Heads of State, the music is like a living thing; one senses that each performance will have its own individual character.

The musicians delight in the moments of lyricism and in the times when attack is needed – listening to “Impressions” will provide a detailed picture – and each is happy to retire from the foreground to let the ensemble take over. But mostly the musicians show an impressive command of the larger musical paragraphs as in the long melody that makes up “Search for Peace”. In the subsequent pace of “Capuchin Swing” their impressive are reading of the lyrical theme is just as enthralling. Instruments – horn and piano, especially – are used to heighten the expressive effect. But it is all of the musicians who do so discreetly and tastefully.

The coupling of these fine musicians – the often neglected genius of Gary Bartz is on display throughout, piano maestro Larry Willis shines too as do the great bassist Buster Williams and the ever lyrical Al Foster – makes for a marvellously sympathetic performance. Not only is each of these masters attuned to the jazz idiom, their gorgeously supple and consistently touching contributions have both innate good taste and notable depth of feeling to commend them. Moreover with Gary Bartz lending personable and attentive support (when needed) this has to be one of the most communicative accounts of jazz standards to have come my way in recent years and represents the icing on the cake of an undeniably attractive package. Read more...

Uncle Bubba
Search for Peace
Capuchin Swing
Crazy She Calls Me
Summer Serenade
Lotus Blossom
I Wish I Knew

Gary Bartz: saxophones
Larry Williams: piano
Buster Williams: bass
Al Foster: drums


Benjamin Koppel Presents: Breaking Borders #1 - Anders Koppel & Kenny Werner (2014)

'Anders Koppel & Kenny Werner' is the first album in the series 'Breaking Borders'.

A meditative and experimental jazz release with hammond organ conqueror Anders Koppel (formerly Savage Rose and Bazaar) and the American Grammy-nominated super pianist Kenny Werner. The music is improvised and meditative and offers room for contemplation and reflection. This is an exceptional combination of hammond organ and piano played by these two musical giants, and the music is supported by the long-standing friendship of the two musicians which culminates with this CD.

Anders Koppel talks about recording this album:

“Valby Summer Jazz Festival 2012 was cooking. That evening, Kenny and I were going to play with Miroslav Vitous, Benjamin Koppel and Peter Nilsson. We were both a little early for the rehearsal, warming up our instrument: Kenny the piano, me the body. Benjamin turned up, started unpacking his saxophones whilst listening to the sound of the keyboards, doodling together. As the music stopped, Kenny and I repeated what we had said so many times before: ‘Some day we really should make a duo recordings’ – the problem was knowing we would probably never find the time. With his usual vitality and energy, my son Benjamin Koppel immediately mentioned that he’d booked a studio for next Wednesday. We could do a couple of hours of recording... So, we met at the studio Wednesday morning, had a short sound check - and recorded the improvisation on this CD in the peaceful surroundings of the Village Recording Studio. Meditations on a friendship. By noon, it was all done. "

1. Wednesday Morning
2. Shadow Dancer
3. On Second Thought
4. Movement
5. Blue
6. Five Haiku Poems
7. All The Best
8. Blindfold
9. Noon Moon

Organ [Hammond B3] – Anders Koppel
Piano – Kenny Werner

Benjamin Koppel Presents: Breaking Borders #2 - The Kyoto Protocol & Other Climate Considerations (2015)

The Kyoto Protocol is one of the most important papers on human behaviour in relation to climate change issues - but who has read it? This was the question Benjamin Koppel put to the UN COP15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen in 2009, with Benjamin offering his own unique response. With the help of soprano Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, soul diva Marie Carmen Koppel, solo cellist Henrik Dam Thomsen, Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Kenny Werner, percussionist Jacob Andersen and Koppel’s father, Hammond organist Anders Koppel (of Savage Rose fame) the Protocol texts have been given a new artistic life in the borderland between jazz and classical music through Benjamin Koppel compositions.

1. The Kyoto Protocol: Article 5
2. The Kyoto Protocol: Article 2
3. The Kyoto Protocol: Article 26
4. The Kyoto Protocol: Article 27
5. The Kyoto Protocol: Article 10
6. Where the Wind Blows
7. The Copenhagen Accord (Song Without Words)
8. Who Really Cares?
9. Kenny's Ragtime (Secret Track)

Benjamin Koppel Presents: Breaking Borders #3 - Ballads (2015)

'Ballads' is the third album in the series 'Breaking Borders'.

What happens when four of the best Nordic jazz musicians interpret classics by The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Michel Legrand and Cat Stevens? Danish saxophonist Benjamin Koppel and the excellent rhythm section take these well-known songs into their own musical space. The result is as fascinating as it is poetic and represents the very aim of the Breaking Borders series. The beautiful evergreens come to new life alongside four equally breathtaking melodies composed by Benjamin Koppel.

01. I Shall Be Released (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen, Morten Lund & Anders Koppel)
02. Destination Home (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
03. Something (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
04. Jetlag (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
05. She's a Rainbow (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
06. Lullaby for a Puffin (Astrid) [feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund]
07. Morning Has Broken (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
08. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
09. Mother's Song (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
10. You've Changed (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)
11. The Monotony of.. (feat. Eythor Gunnarsson, Jesper Bodilsen & Morten Lund)

Benjamin Koppel Presents: Breaking Borders #4 - Heritage (2015)

'Heritage' is the fourth album in the series 'Breaking Borders'.

Renowned Danish saxophonist Benjamin Koppel takes a trip back in time for inspiration from his grandfather, composer Herman D. Koppel, as well as Johannes Brahms and Jewish folk songs. Recorded in New York with the outstanding American pianist Uri Caine, the album also features the beautiful sound of Syrian clarinettist Kinan Azmeh and the creativity of percussionist John Hadfield. And most importantly, the album is a tribute to the idea that we all stand on each other's shoulders and will always draw inspiration from our common heritage.

01. Kol Nidre (feat. Uri Caine)
02. Mental Zone (feat. Uri Caine)
03. Mellem Mennesker (Between Humans) [feat. Uri Caine, John Hadfield & Kinan Azmeh]
04. Chag Purim/The Man Who Looked for Peace (feat. Uri Caine)
05. Heritage (Or How to Choose a Hat) [feat. Uri Caine, John Hadfield & Kinan Azmeh]
06. 4TH and West End (feat. Uri Caine)
07. My Spanish Car (feat. Uri Caine)
08. Mah Nishtanah (feat. Uri Caine)
09. Sangen Om Larsen (All About Larsen) [feat. Uri Caine]
10. B Is Not Here (feat. Uri Caine, John Hadfield & Kinan Azmeh)
11. Oyfn Pripetshik (feat. Uri Caine)
12. Less Than One (feat. Uri Caine)

Benjamin Koppel Presents : Breaking Borders #5 - OneTwoThreefour (2015)

Source & Label : Tiger Music

Benjamin Koppel, Danish Jazz saxophonist and composer, is one of the most award-winning musicians of his generation, renowned for his versatility and virtuosity.

With Benjamin, the story begins with family. Grandson of the famous Danish classic composer Herman D. Koppel, and son of the beat musician and composer Anders Koppel (Savage Rose, Bazaar), Koppel has always been amongst music. This lineage of classical, jazz and pop is evident in Benjamin’s agile ability to cross genres.

He formed his first band at 15 years old, and has since appeared on more than 50 recordings. Highly sought after internationally as a collaborator, the variety of his work is wide reaching. As a soloist and bandleader he has performed and/or recorded with Phil Woods, Daniel Humair, Palle Danielsson, Sheryl Crow, Alex Riel, Miroslav Vitous, Anders Koppel, Inger Dam Jensen, Michala Petri, Adam Nussbaum, Randy Brecker, Chano Dominguez, Phil Woods, Charlie Mariano, Portinho, David Sanchez, Kenny Werner and more.

In 2001 Benjamin formed his own independent record label, Cowbell Music, releasing exceptional jazz as well as classical, crossover and pop. Cowbell Music also produces big music events, like the Valby Summer Jazz festival – described by international jazz magazine All About Jazz, “...a labor of love that has become so prominent it almost outshines its big brother, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival.”

'OneTwoThreeFour' is the fifth album in the series 'Breaking Borders'.

OneTwoThreeFour is an intriguing meeting between Nordic and North American jazz. Renowned Danish saxophonist Benjamin Koppel teams up with legendary American drummer Peter Erskine to examine the anticipation of the musicians’ one-two-three-four count-off, from which time, groove and pulse evolve. The result is a joyous affair and a beautiful jazz adventure played by four amazing musicians in the classic jazz quartet formation.

1 Twist
2 The Unanswered Question
3 Waiting Room
4 Coming Home
5 Twelve
6 OneTwoThreefour
7 Moving Out
8 Worth the Wait
9 Koppels Therapy

Benjamin Koppel
Jacob Christoffersen
Johannes Weidenmueller
Peter Erskine