Saxophone player Jakob Dinesen and bass player “AC” Christensen have been household names on the Danish jazz scene since the nineties, where they played together in the now legendary Once Around The Park.
On this recording they are joining up with drummer Laust Sonne. He is one of the most versatile musicians in Denmark and he has been the drummer in the popular Danish rock band, D-A-D, for over 20 years. He played drums in the avant jazz rock outfit, Bugpowder, and also made a career for himself with his solo project, his own rock band, Dear. He has even made straight pop music in his own name on two albums, in 2011 and 2016. In 2007 he received the prestigious Danish music award, Ken Gudman Prisen.
The three musicians have known each other for many years. In their younger days, they often ended up together, playing late night jams and gigs at parties. It went so well that they made big plans of doing more stuff together. But it never happened.
The corona outbreak in the first half of 2020 finally brought the three musicians together again, as other plans were cancelled because of the virus. As a blessing in disguise, they began to play together again, in the rehearsal room. They found, and created, a space for their thoughts and ideas. A space for listening and playing.
In the picturesque gardens of Det Kongelige Danske Haveselskab in Frederiksberg in Copenhagen, a series of jazz concerts were held, as a compensation for the cancelled Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Among the concerts were one by this trio. It is the sounds from that concert that we can hear on this album. Peacocks were walking around in the garden when the audience was listening to the trio.
For those of us relatively new to a ‘serious’ jazz album, ‘Blessings’ can seem a bit impenetrable at first with its complex and sinuous musical mosaics and tendency to run off at right angles at any moment but, given time and space and, crucially, the right atmosphere to take in every note and nuance, the album opens up and gives its treasures freely.
Free Eddie, written by Dinesen, in honour of his good friend and fellow music lover, Eddie Michel, is a soul searching track that invites you to join three like-minded musicians on an intensely personal journey.
The jazz standard I’ve Told Every Little Star was composed in 1932 by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. It was introduced in the musical ‘Music in the Air’ and, with their version, the trio are giving an honorary nod to saxophone legend Sonny Rollins who often played it live in the late fifties. Jakob Dinesen has a more leisurely tone in his playing, giving the track breathing space to grow and Laust Sonne has swing down straight and imbues the music with grace, assurance and clarity.
Sonne wrote Anouar as a tribute to the Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem. There’s a laid back and enigmatic desert atmosphere to the music and a whole boat load of soul to Sonne’s drum playing which, allied with Jakob Dinesen’s deliciously dark tone, gives an exceedingly mysterious aura to proceedings.
Tyk Vals is a tune written by Dinesen, and is dedicated to the late Master Fatman (aka Morten Lindberg), who was very close to Jakob. The track invokes the warm and touching kindness that inspired many musicians and is smooth and sophisticated at heart, allowing a warm glow of contentment to settle on the listener.
The Charlie Haden penned Sandino allows fellow bass player Christensen to demonstrate his perceptive and slick bass playing skills on a lengthy solo that tops off this utterly compelling piece of music.
Eddie Harris’ Freedom Jazz Dance was a Miles Davis standard, featured on the album, ‘Miles Smiles’. It allows the three musicians here to just play with an utter freedom of expression, as if they are just jamming for a group of friends and not playing a concert in a prestigious location. You are completely drawn into the minds of the musicians as they intertwine their instruments in a classy musical spectacle.
‘Blessings’ is a recording that allows everyone to join the trio on a wonderful celebration of jazz as an art form but also as one with an utterly relaxed atmosphere. Three musicians playing at the height of their powers and obviously enjoying every moment, it is a party we should feel highly blessed to have been invited to.
Released 9th April, 2021
Order the album here:
Blessings | Jakob Dinesen/Anders Christensen/Laust Sonne (bandcamp.com)