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The Danish, Aarhus-based quartet Ornithopter attempts to fly the distance between, early, raw and swinging New Orleans-ian jazz and the more freer and improvised terrains of Ornette Coleman. «Tordenkaffe!» (Thunder coffee in Danish) is the sophomore album of the quartet, following its self-titled debut from 2014, and features trombonist Jens Bang, trumpeter Scott Westh, bass player Jakob Retz and drummer Daniel Sommer.

«Tordenkaffe!» was recorded on the island of Fanø, west of the coast of the town Esbjerg in Jutland. Thunder coffee was and still is the popular local drink that helps all to keep awake and make sure that the lightnings will not strike the old thatched houses. This old costume, along the long recording nights, the sounds of the creaking floorboards i and the echoing rooms of the island houses, inspired the atmosphere of this album. The colorful, evocative cover of Astrid Jaekel captures this unique atmosphere beautifully.

Bang and Westh have developed an almost telepathic frontline. Both offer a nuanced melodic interplay and keep trading playful solos inside and outside this melodic envelope, extending and expanding each other’s ideas. Both rely on the loose yet propulsive rhythm section of Retz and Sommer. Ornithopter refined recipe works impressively on «Tordenkaffe!», even on pieces that sound as not charged by coffee overdose. «Møgelø» swings with an intoxicating rhythm; «What’s Your Currency» cleverly incorporates Coleman’s harmolodics concept; «Straight 8’s» has a catchy, anthem-like, funky theme; «Svendestykket» has a mysterious story-like narrative and the last, touching «Nu er festen slut» that sounds like a modern-day folk song.

Eyal Hareuveni

Jens Bang (tb), Scott Westh (tp), Jakob Retz (b), Daniel Sommer (dr)

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