January 2009

The year 2009 started off with some performances in the US:

Jan. 3: Chris Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Jan. 6-11: Village Vanguard, NY

Jan. 15-18: Jazz Showcase in Chicago

The band this time was Kurt on guitar, Aaron Parks on piano, Ben Street on bass (Joe Martin played bass @ Chris Jazz Cafe though) & Kendrick Scott on drums.

The shows @ Chris’s were both completely sold out, whereas the Vanguard was good but a little bit lighter than usual. But considering that fellow guitarists Bill Frisell was at Blue Note & Lionel Loueke at Jazz Standard + the with the APAP conference in town (with all kinds of showcases and events not least “Winterjazz”), the turn-out was actually great and we are thankful to all of you fans that showed up!

The Wednesday Jan. 7, 2009 sets were recorded and broadcast live by WBGO/NPR. And as a first in NPR history – at least from what I understand – they asked for and we allowed them to post both sets as downloads/podcasts. You can do so by clicking this link:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98982233

Today, as this blog-post is being written, Kurt is finishing his 4 day stay at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. From what we understand the Chicago fans have been braving extreme cold to come out hear the shows! Thanks to all of you for doing so!

After these events Kurt will briefly go back to his home in Berlin, Germany, but will head to Copenhagen on January 29 for a 3 day (Jan. 29-31) event at Copenhagen Jazzhouse.

This event is a celebration of Danish/American Jazz history. As some of you may know, Denmark has hosted many great jazz musicians over the years – people such as Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster (who is in fact buried there at Assistens Kirkegården in Copenhagen), Kenny Drew (who I saw shortly before he passed away when he came to see his ol’ buddy Sonny Rollins perform at Copenhagen Jazz Festival – I think it was in 1994) and many others.

The old club Montmartre has a storied past with some of the great jazz recordings of all time having been recorded there – it’s sort of the Village Vanguard of Northern Europe. Stan Getz, for instance, recorded his 50th & 60th anniversary recordings there, as well as his final album (duo with Kenny Barron). The late, great Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen was the mainstay bassist on all of those recordings – and what a bassist! One of the highlights of my own career in the music business is a duo concert that I produced with Michel Petrucciani and Niels-Henning. It’s released on Dreyfus – you can find it as part of this box set. That was done at Copenhagen Jazzhouse in 1994.

Copenhagen Jazzhouse has taken over the mantle from Montmartre (Montmartre closed in the early 90ties after some particularly inept management ran it into the ground – I know this because I used to work for them for about a year from 1991-1992). Copenhagen Jazzhouse was in fact started as a reaction to how the later mgmt of Montmartre didn’t have a clue about the jewel they had bought, and has been successful in doing so.

CJH is now referencing that history by inviting a series of guests to perform with a Danish rhythm section, primarily focusing on standards. It’s not an all-danish rhythm section though, as Kirk Lightsey will be playing piano (Kenny Drew was in a similar role on many of the earlier concerts and recordings). David Franck (who is the little brother to a GREAT Swedish/Danish tenor sax player called Tomas Franck) will play bass and Kresten Osgood (whom Kurt has performed with before) will play drums. Kurt is the first guest to be invited for this series, so that’s quite an honor, and subsequently Joe Lovano and other people has also been invited.

We hope the Danish fans will come out in support of this great idea. Here’s an article by the great Danish jazz journalist Ib Skovgaard reviewing The Remedy:

http://www.weekendavisen.dk/artikler/jazz/powerplay-og-poesi?page=0,1

It’s aptly titled “Powerplay and Poetry”.

UPDATE: January 20, 2009

Anybody interested in the history of Club Montmartre should watch a great movie by Niels Lan Doky entitled “Between a smile and a tear”. It features Johnny Griffin, Toots Thielemans, Didier Lockwood, Mads Vinding, Al Tootie Heath, the great Swedish singer Lisa Nilsson and of course Niels Lan Doky himself.

A tiny YouTube preview here:


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