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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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ACT 9464-2





1. The Bach Piece
2. Memories
3. The Song is You
4. Lines
5. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
6. You and the Night and the Music
7. My Little Suede Shoes
8. NHOP Presentation
9. I Skovens Dybe Stille Ro
10. Jeg Gik Mig Ud En Sommerdag
11. (Our) Love is Here to Stay
Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen – Bass
Ulf Wakenius – Guitar
Jonas Johansen - Drums

The death in 2005 of Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen at the age of 58 was a sad event for jazz fans. In his early years, the Danish bassist played with many visiting musicians in Denmark, and he later became a vital member of Oscar Peterson’s Trio and Quartet – the latter group with Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius, who is part of the trio on this album. Niels-Henning – or NHOP as he was often known – was particularly notable for his brilliant technique, which allowed him to meet the challenging demands of Oscar Peterson.

That technique is fully on display in this album, recorded at two separate concerts. The first five tracks come from a 1999 concert in Denmark, and the remainder were recorded in Germany in 2005 – only a few weeks before NHOP died. One surprise is that NHOP’s intonation is not always perfect. This may be more noticeable than when he was part of Oscar Peterson ‘s groups, as on this album he plays the melody of several tunes. Nevertheless his technique is generally phenomenal throughout the CD.

The album starts with NHOP playing The Bach Piece as a solo, which leads straight into Memories, although the sleeve lists them as two separate tracks, which means that the sleeve henceforth differs from the numbering of the tracks as they may be shown on your hi-fi. Pedersen also states the melody of The Song is You, which is given a bossa nova treatment. He soloes on this tune, and the guitarist only supplies chordal backing. However, Ulf Wakenius comes into the limelight for his own composition, Lines, an extremely thrilling piece which the trio performs with speedy technoflash. It shows that the trio isn’t merely a meditative ensemble but it can deliver excitement as well. NHOP keeps the rhythm moving while Ulf plays a dynamic solo, followed by an equally energetic solo from drummer Jonas Johansen. On this track the trio sounds like John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra at its most lively.

Pedersen again states the melody for A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, which is interpreted delicately. This segues into You and the Night and the Music, where Ulf plays the theme on bell-like guitar and then stretches out for a long solo which draws all kinds of timbres from the guitar. After Charlie Parker’s My Little Suede Shoes, which is played with lyricism as well as muscle, Pedersen introduces two Scandinavian folk songs: one poignant, the other thoughtful, but both attractive. The CD ends with (Our) Love is Here to Stay, which – like many of the preceding tracks – displays Pedersen’s phenomenal dexterity and Wakenius’s impressive expertise. Drummer Jonas Johansen provides exactly the right backing for each tune.

Despite occasional flaws, this album makes a fitting elegy for NHOP, who was described by Oscar Peterson as "arguably the most inventive bassist in jazz".

Tony Augarde


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