Monday, September 17, 2007

Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen - The Unforgettable NHOP Trio Live (ACT, 2007)

Best known by the easier (for Americans anyway) acronym NHOP, bassist Pedersen was omnipresent on the European jazz scene from his fifteenth birthday up to his sad early passage. He played with nearly every jazz musician of note when they came to Copenhagen during the 1960's and 70's before concentrating on his own bands in the 1990's and 2000's. This album is a recording of his regular trio, where he is joined byUlf Wakenius on guitar, and Jonas Johansen on drums. They produce enjoyable straight-ahead jazz that will be appreciated by fans of mainstream guitar oriented groups. There is a solid record beginning with Pedersen showing off his chops solo on "The Bach Piece" segueing into a mid-tempo trio performance of "Memories." Wakenius really tears it up on "Lines" finding a unique tone that checks Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass but remains original and interesting. Standards are a focal point of the music, several were chosen for inclusion because of the leader's soloing, particularly “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” which has a fine feature for Pedersen. A couple of Danish folk tunes round out this disc, adding an unique feel to the music. It will be interesting to see if Pedersen will be seen as one of the forefathers of the current Nordic Jazz boom. Regardless, he will be seen as one of the finest bassists of the post-war era, and this disc provides more grist for that mill.

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