About the album
PAST & PRESENT is all about the blues. This durable format, so rich in tradition, has been a part of jazz since New Orleans, and through time it has been reborn in a myriad of new shapes. This selection features twelve different varieties of blues. The tunes may be enjoyed separately or as a continuous flow – a kind of suite in twelve movements, if you will. Although the music was written in Scandinavia, it doesn’t sound like what we usually associate with Scandinavian jazz: sort of like Bill Frisell or Pat Metheny. Some have claimed that the sound is American. However, the basic color is Danish. The CD includes a pdf file with sheet music for each composition.
The music is composed by Ole Matthiessen, who also plays the piano. He has gathered four musicians – all past recipients of the prestigious Ben Webster award: On trumpet Henrik Bolberg, one of Denmark’s finest jazz trumpeters. On tenor saxophone, Bob Rockwell, who has made Denmark his home for the past 30 years. The bassist is Jesper Lundgaard, one of the greatest among Denmark’s many great bassists, and on drums, one of the most exciting Danish musicians of the past decade, founder of the annual “Musketer Festival”, television host and leader of numerous bands: Kresten Osgood. Lis Wessberg, a leading Danish trombonist, is featured on two tracks. Each musician is a great storyteller, and each contributes to the music without losing contact with his own personal sound.
The layout and cover art was created by one of Denmark’s finest art pho- tographers, Fie Johansen, who has created the packaging for releases with Six Winds, Primi Band, Bjarne Roupé, Entrance and Thomas Clausen. The cover and booklet photos were taken a few years ago in Berlin, at a time when the murals on the East Side Gallery were changing rapidly. Many places the plaster was peeling off, creating new visual impressions and creating openings for new graffiti art to interact with the original paintings on the old wall between east and west.
The past interacting with the present – like when a jazz musician explores an old standard or blues, offering a new interpretation.
This is the spirit in which PAST & PRESENT was created. Jazz musicians of today with a feel for the music of the past, play a selection of composi- tions of which the oldest were written more than 45 years ago; a meeting of old and new friends playing in a new constellation. They nailed most tracks in the first take, but then again, they’ve all been practicing for this kind of situation for their entire careers. The title track, Past & Present, was written especially for this session and is dedicated to the late trombo- nist Erling Kroner. The piece relates to Kroner’s roots in traditional jazz as well as his passion for Charles Mingus.