The Danes are coming! The Danes are coming! Blessings, the new jazz trio recording from sax player Jakob Dinesen, bassist Anders Christensen and drummer Laust Sonne made me realize that I’ve been getting a lot of Danish jazz releases from April Records. I just finished reviewing the fascinating LP from Little North, Finding Seagulls, and that was from April Records as well. It sounded wonderful–great jazz on a gorgeous vinyl pressing.
Now we have Blessings on CD, and maybe there’s an explosion of creativity in the Copenhagen jazz scene because this jazz is on fire. That’s almost a crazy way to explain introspective ballads from a sax trio, as if these three musicians were jumping about the stage, but no. This is music that’s on fire because every bar is infused with passion, and there’s always a chance of total deconstruction far out on the horizon. Jakob Dinesen’s sax, of course, is flat out in front, pulling ideas from the Great American Songbook and diving deep into the volcano, down where it’s very quiet except for the rumbling in the distance. The tension is hypnotic at times.
Most of these new jazz releases are impacted by the pandemic, and perhaps that’s why Jakob Dinesen, Anders Christensen and Laust Sonne named this album Blessings. Dinesen has been playing for years, putting out albums, and this loose yet oddly focused rhythm section is comprised of two old buddies who used to join the sax player at parties and other late night gigs. They wanted to tour again, but the world has gotten in the way and Blessings must suffice for now.
Obviously that’s not a bad thing at all. April Records seems very dedicated to both quality jazz, different in approach yet still respectful, and there may be some true geniuses haunting the recording studio–not that I’d expect anything less from a Scandinavian record label. All of this shouldn’t take away from the star power here, a masterful performance from Jakob Dinesen framed by Christensen and Sonne’s preferences for looking far off in the distance and getting prompted from the greats. You know that I dig a pure, exquisitely recorded jazz trio, but this is something else. Highly recommended.