Copenhagen Jazz Festival: Forever Frank

cph_jazz_01This weekend marked the launch of one of Europe’s most popular jazz events, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Until the 12th. July, Copenhagen’s public spaces, music & theater venues, cafés & bars, waterfront and even fire stations will host over 1200 concerts attracting 300,000 visitors to the city. It is an unique event, which has been pulling great jazz icons and young talents to a jazz thirsty audience for nearly 40 years.

Indeed, the neighborhood in which I live in Sluseholmen, the streets names reflect the fondness for jazz and it’s past masters that have had their music base in Copenhagen, Ben Webster, Thad Jones, Kenny Drew and Ernie Wilkins to name a few. While the major venues staging international names such as, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Tony Bennet have rightly captured the headlines, it is a wonderful opportunity to discover other off-shoots of jazz or new raw Danish talent.

On a late afternoon, when the temperatures kissed 30C, I cycled with my wife, to our first venue, The Standard on Copenhagen’s waterfront, to a celebration of Frank Sinatra’s works, “Forever Frank” who would have celebrated his 100th. birthday this year. En route, Copenhagen was more like Rio than the nordic capital, as impromptu salsa musicians tried to lure tourists and locals onto the dance floor. Entering The Standard’s universe, where the sun outside was held at ransom and O´Blue Eyes perfect pitch and timing being played, enticed the temperatures to drop. Mr. Coolness himself. It didn’t take long before the temperatures began to rise again.

The musical director at The Standard, Niels Lan Doky, has an eye for young talent. In the last couple of years Niels has nurtured and encouraged talent such as, the drummer Niclas Bardeleben, who is now an established artist both in Denmark, but also on the international scene and lately the vocalist, the 17 year old wonder kid, Amanda Thomsen. Yesterday’s session Niels wisely put these fantastic artists together under the calm guidance of the Danish jazz pianist, Thomas Clausen and the Swedish bassist, Mattias Svensson. The quartet started out with the only Gershwin number, the evergreen “Our Love Is Here To Stay” and duly interpreted Sinatra´s songbook. Undoubtedly, the highlights were “Summer Wind” and “Fly Me To The Moon”, which perfectly illustrated the crispness and discipline of Niclas’s talent and the boundless possibilities of Amanda´s vocals. If Frank had been sitting at the bar, I´m sure he would have raised a glass with his beloved Jack Daniel’s Whisky.

Thanks to Thomas, Mattias, Niclas and Amanda for a wonderful performance.

Photo credits: Phillip Mills

Please see a previous blog from The Standard, “Nothing Standard About The Standard”.




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