Thinking with Music...

Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2014 – the shortlist

So, a few people have asked me what to see/hear at this year’s Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Below is a few (!) recommendations, but most of all I suggest you get out in the city and let the sounds and the city guide you. When getting from A-to-B and there’s suddenly the sound of a trumpet somewhere nearby; find it, stop, listen, give yourself a moment of music.


Free Outdoor (and one indoor) Concerts:

  • Official Opening w. Aaron Parks a.o. @ Pressen, Politikens Hus, 4/7 16:00 – Wonderful American pianist opens the festival in the company of (a.o.) Marilyn Mazur and Anders “AC” Christiansen – I’d go for the company alone.
  • Hugo Rasmussen Allstarz @ Kongens Have, 6/7  14:00 – Nestor of jazz and hipness with the best of the (not so) young lions – it’s going to swing like MAD!
  • Osgood/Stampe/Senyawa (DK/ID) @ Sankt Hans Torv, 7/7 17:00 – Danish improv meets Javanese tradition and renewal… just because I CANNOT figure out what this will sound like.
  • Møller/Oats/Hoenig/Løvdal @ Vandkunsten, 8/7 16:00 – Four stellar names and it escapes me why there is no write-up on this gig. This band is also known as Lines of Progression and it offer a fresh take on the hammond organ with a mix of indie, free jazz and classical minimalism thrown in for good measure.

Concert Hall Jazz:

  • Children of the Light Trio @ Betty Nansen, 6/7 20:30 – Probably my favorite jazz trio in the world. Danilo Pérez (pia), John Patitucci (bass), and Brian Blade (dr) play without any other boundaries than a deep respect for and responsiveness to each other.
  • Concha Buika @ DR Koncerthuset, 10/7 20:00 – A Mallorcin singer with Equatoguinean parents, who blends jazz, flamenco, blues into something completely unique, wild, and very moving. First time I heard her was in this terrible hall (big as a hangar, carpeted, upholstered dining chairs in rows, acoustics dead and flat as the rat the elephant sat on..) at the North Sea Jazz Fest in 2011. A concept concert (another thing I am not too fond of) with women from the Mediterranean. I was keeping my expectations low and was in no way prepared for Buika. But a few minutes into her performance I found myself… crying. Something about the ‘no-holds-barred’, completely unafraid to not be or sound pretty.


The Jazz Club Experience:

(Full disclosure: I am on the advisory board of The Standard. But my heart beats for music, period. .. And for ALL the amazing clubs and people that insist on keeping it live and keeping it real)

  • Charenee Wade & Søren Kristiansen Trio @ Montmartre 3/-5/ 20:00 – Classic vocal jazz with a rising star on the American scene and some of the best Danish jazz cats around, all set in a historic jazz club. What’s not to like!
  • Joey Alexander Trio 4-13/7  @ The Standard 13:30 & 18:00 – child prodigy Joey Alexander (10 yrs old!) plays with a solid rhythm section at The Standard through the festival
  • Lee Pearson & Trio 4-12/7 @ Montmartre 23:30 – No jazz fest without a jam session and the one at Montmartre has become one of the festival’s most happening (also check out the one at Christiania Børneteater – later, younger, crazier)
  • Doky/Coleman/Watts Reunion feat. Mathias Heise @ The Standard 7/7 20:30 & 22:30 – I definitely want to check out the meeting between Niels Lan Doky’s light touch and powerhouse Watts. They perform through the festival with different featured artists. This particular evening presents Mathias Heise – a young harmonica (that’s ‘mundharmonika’ for the Danes) player that just KILLLLSSS.
  • Christian McBride Trio @ Copenhagen JazzHouse 7-8/7 21:00 – Monster bassist with monster trio serves up funky, swinging, modern jazz. Nuff said!
  • Er De Sjælne & Jacob Bellens @ Copenhagen JazzHouse 11/7 21:00 – Is this going to fit ANY tried and tested definitions of jazz? Nope! It this going to be a fun, earpopping, beautiful, moving night of sounds and words? Absolutely!


Spaces and Places:

A lot of concerts take place in spaces that aren’t designed for jazz music, often creating a whole new, third space that belongs equal parts to the place and the music:

  • Cecilie Nordby’s “Nat Hinde” @ Vor Frue Kirke, 5/7 23:00 – A newly composed composition for organ by Nordby will set the frame for a late night of improvised musical meditations and moods. This is bound to lift your spirit and expand your soul.
  • August Rosenbaum Solo@ Koncertkirken, 6/7 22:00 – Another church, this time with one of Denmark’s very best pianist and his beautiful and esoteric brand of free improvisation.
  • Joshua Redman Quartet @ Kulturhuset Islands Brygge, 9/7 20:00 – Quality modern jazz and a barbeque by the harbor is a recipe for a good night
  • Manu Katché/Richard Bona/Eric Legnini/Steffano di Battista @ Kulturhuset Islands Brygge, 11/7 20:00 – Man, I wish the producer had come up with a catchier name… Anyways. I’d go for Richard Bona alone. He’s a spectacular musicians and with a very special gift for communicating with the audience.


Jazz for Kids:

One thing that fully disproves that jazz is an intellectual music only for geeks and connoisseurs is that kids have a ball with it. So take yours for some real live music. I would go to:

Have a swingingly great time!


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