…A performance from the 1996 Copenhagen Jazz Festival by a quintet of distinguished Danish boppers, played with the enthusiasm and dedication of true devotees.

Stunt Records: STUCD 22042 (2 CD Set)

Allan Botschinski (flugelhorn); Bent Jædig (tenor sax); Jacob Fischer (guitar); Jesper Lundgaard (bass); Alex Riel (drums)

Recorded at Jazzhus Slukefter, Tivoli, Copenhagen July 6th, 1996

There are times when you just want to let the music flow over you. At the end of a year of intensive listening it’s nice just to hear something that doesn’t require forensic examination; that doesn’t make you feel guilty that you might have missed something of significance in the musicians’ intentions.

Such is the experience provided by the music contained in this vividly recorded two CD set, capturing a performance from the 1996 Copenhagen Jazz Festival by a quintet of distinguished Danish boppers, played with the enthusiasm and dedication of true devotees.

Botschinski and Jædig, who are sadly no longer with us, were both foundational members of the Scandinavian jazz scene who through their frequent collaborations with visiting American musicians fully imbibed the lingua franca of the bop idiom which they reproduced with complete authenticity, Botschinsky’s tasteful restraint sitting somewhere between Miles and Chet, whilst Jædig’s lustier swing to bop styling approximating the likes of Charlie Rouse.

Happily, the members of the rhythm section continue to thrive all enjoying international repute as well as remaining stalwarts on their home turf.

On this particular summer evening in Copenhagen, in front of a well-mannered and clearly appreciative audience, they are all very much together and as a tight knit unit deliver over two hours-worth of jazz and songbook standards mingling moments of high tension with equal measures of emotive eloquence.

Only in their version of ‘Rhythm-a-Ning` does one detect the odd uncomfortable moment when the horns struggle to negotiate Monk’s mischievous metrics but with Riel’s powerhouse drumming on hand a solid groove is quickly re-established.

Elsewhere in numbers like `Donna Lee`, `What is this Thing…` and I’ll Remember April` he drives the momentum with thrilling virtuosity, his command of his kit clearly revealed in a recording that achieves a perfectly balanced sound.

Botschinsky, as well as being a fine instrumentalist was also an accomplished composer and he contributes one piece to the playlist, a ballad with Scandia overtones but everything else is standard fare, each piece taken at a sprightly lick and at sufficient length to give each musician the opportunity to display.

They let the dust settle with their big ballad of the set, a fourteen-minute consideration of `It Might as Well Be Spring` which opens with a gentle guitar prelude before giving way to fine, expressive solos from the leading horns. To finish they charge into a jam session sized ride out on `I’ll Remember April` which features an extended drum solo bringing the session to a firey climax.

It must have been great to have been in that audience in the Tivoli Gardens on a balmy summer evening but listening to the concert via the medium of an audio CD is no less a rewarding experience when the sounds created have been captured with such immediacy.

Such is the warmth generated by the never to be forgotten talent of Botschinsky and Jædig that it is even possible to forget that the temperature outside is currently sub-zero.

Reviewed by Euan Dixon