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«New Beginning»

Danish sax player Claus Waidtløw offers a «New Beginning» with a new quartet, after releasing two big bands albums with the The Orchestra and the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra that featured American drummers Jeff Ballard and Adam Nussbaum. His seventh album as a leader features pianist Jacob Christoffersen, known from vocalist Sinne Eeg’s groups and double bass player Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund (who has played on Waidtløw’s previous quartets), both are among the busiest sidemen in Denmark and also known from pianist Stefano Bollani´s trio.

Waidtløw wrote all the nine pieces. All pieces highlight his gift to sketch a nuanced story within a melodic song. All stress his calm, elegant sense of leadership, his warm, full-bodies sound and his passionate emotions. His compositions follow faithfully the classic jazz quartet format and are well-versed in the American jazz legacy . The touching ballad «Invisible Land» is the most beautiful piece by this experienced quartet.

Still, the most impressive pieces are the ones where the quartet is expanded to a septet and hosting trumpeter Lars Vissing, reeds player Kasper Wagner and bass clarinet player. On these piece the voice of Waidtløw and his musical vision become richer, more ambitious and far-reaching than his American jazz influences. «Superheroes» offers his orchestral ideas but «Whisper» already sketches a mysterious story, alternating between reserved and melancholic, chamber Nordic jazz shades and faraway exotic colors. «Cheops Secret» – referencing the newly found secret chamber in the great pyramid in Giza, Egypt – suggests a highly playful and joyful journey to distant territories.

Eyal Hareuveni

Claus Waidtløw (ts, ss), Jacob Christoffersen (p, Fender Rhodes), Jesper Bodilsen (b), Morten Lund (dr), Lars Vissing (tp, flh), Kasper Wagner (as, fl, cl), Aske Drasbæk (bcl)

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