Thor De Force / Wazzabi / Thor Madsen Group / Miscellaneous

Thor De Force – The Build

Marcello Nardi, What I love about Thor de Force, nickname of Chicago born, Danish resident guitarist Thor Madsen, is how he mixes hip-hop roots with jazz through the lens of a masterful studio producer, in a completely unique way. There’s an highly crafted work in balancing each nuance, in blinking an eye to latest revival of big synths as well as to Curtis Mayfield, from electric jazz to catchy hip hop. Elegantly refined music, ‘world’ in a certain sense, like in his latest release The Build. Read the full review

Ashley Jacob, Everything Is Noise The Build is a seriously cool record. It’s well produced, the right level of complex, engaging, and most of all, funky as hell. Its charms are destined to make an impact on nearly all who sample it, and it’s a damn fine uplift for these times of uncertainty. Thor De Force is indeed a force to be reckoned with, and the hypnotic effects of its ultra smooth sounds are long-lasting. We can only give thanks to Mr Thor Madsen and his band for sharing their immaculate talents, and for putting all of us less funky humans to shame. We’re not worthy. Read the full review

Josie Kovash, KZMU Moab Out here in the Utah desert, earth melts into water, heat melts into sky, and creatures melt into the sublime spaciousness of the land. Thor Madsen’s new album is a good match to this—sublime, elemental, deliberate, boundary-less. I played “The Gate” on my show the other day, and it was the perfect soundtrack to the shimmery heat of high noon.

Radio Ros Brera, Italy Ropeadope recording artist Thor De Force needs no introduction – a master of acid-fusion and nu-funk with an infinite capacity to explore dissonances in intimate melodic structures. One of the most interesting compositional voices on the American scene, although he lives in Denmark.

Russ Davis, Jazz America I must say that this is some of most adventurous and inventive modern jazz I’d heard is awhile. I’ve chosen 5 cuts for airplay. Just great!


WAZZABI convida ZIMBHER, IARA RENNÓ e GUILHERME KASTRUP____Bar Kabul – SP 14/04 Na última quarta-feira (14/04), no centro da cidade de São Paulo, em pequeno clube chamado KABUL, corpos e mãos, vozes e mentes, se reuniram para mostrar que arte e criação existem para serem usadas e reinventadas para seu próprio bem.

O Duo dinamarquês WAZZABI, fundado em 2005, pelos músicos/ produtores THOR MADSEN e ANDERS HENTZE, convidou a percussão inventiva de GUILHERME KASTRUP, junto com o canto e verso dos performáticos cantores CARLOS ZIMBHER e IARA RENNÓ, para participarem dos shows que estão fazendo em São Paulo, durante uma breve passagem pela cidade.

CARLOS ZIMBHER, dono de uma voz forte e dramática, flerta muitíssimo bem com as linhas musicais do Duo, transformando o palco em lugar sagrado, onde paixão e loucura, suor e lágrimas, contracenam com jazz, rock e poesias explosivas.

Não menos elegante nem menos apaixonada, foi a atuação de IARA RENNÓ, extrapolando os limites do experimental, com um canto limpo, claro e potente. Em bela improvisação corporal, Iara percorreu música indiana clássica, canções de trabalho brasileiras e vanguardismo popular, com vigor latejante, conteporâneo e ultra-vivo. A própria Iara diz, sobre a vivacidade da música: ” O que importa é a sensação de música-viva acontecendo, e claro, dentro da linguagem e forma estabelecida, no caso, o jazz-rock-eletrônico do WAZZABI”.

Da música-viva, bateria, guitarra e programações eletrônicas do grupo formaram profunda sinergia musical com o que GUILHERME KASTRUP faz muito bem. Levadas em um pandeiro maroto e suingante, de bonito timbre, entraram em sintonia fina com as idéias do duo dinamarquês, sejam em baião ou partido-alto, mostrados sempre em formas anti-convencionais, ou em toques arabescos de divisões incomuns, envoltos em um senso de condução rítmica “monstruosa” junto ao baterista ANDERS HENTZE.

Sensorial, espiritual, técnico. O que quer que se diga sobre esse show, é pouca definição para a música e cena apresentada ontem pelo WAZZABI e convidados. É sempre um prazer ouvir e sentir um espetáculo entre pessoas que transformam música pra fora de seus limites tradicionais, e que reverenciam o ser experimental e universal dentro da arte. Jazz, música eletrônica e poesia brasileira mostram que, combinados, é bálsamo contra mesmice criativa que assola seres por aqui, ali, ou acolá. Viva a música-viva. Eduardo Varallo, ComparsaCrí

Translation Wazzabi invites Zimbher, Iara Rennó, and Guilherme Kastrup____Bar Kabul – SP 14/04 Last Wednesday (14/04), in the city center of São Paulo, at a small club called KABUL, bodies and hands, voices and minds, gathered to show that art and creation exist to be used and reinvented for their own good.

The Danish duo Wazzabi, founded in 2005 by musicians/producers Thor Madsen and Anders Hentze, invited the inventive percussion of Guilherme Kastrup, along with the singing and verses of the performers Carlos Zimbher and Iara Rennó, to participate in the shows they are doing in São Paulo during a brief stay in the city.

Carlos Zimbher, owner of a strong and dramatic voice, flirts very well with the musical lines of the duo, transforming the stage into a sacred place where passion and madness, sweat and tears, interact with jazz, rock, and explosive poetry.

No less elegant nor less passionate was the performance of Iara Rennó, pushing the limits of the experimental, with a clean, clear, and powerful voice. In beautiful body improvisation, Iara traversed classical Indian music, Brazilian work songs, and popular avant-garde, with throbbing, contemporary, and ultra-alive vigor. Iara herself says about the liveliness of the music: “What matters is the sensation of live music happening, and of course, within the established language and form, in this case, the jazz-rock-electronic of Wazzabi.”

From live music, the group’s drums, guitar, and electronic programming formed a deep musical synergy with what Guilherme Kastrup does very well. Played on a mischievous and swinging tambourine, of beautiful timbre, they finely tuned in with the ideas of the Danish duo, whether in baião or partido-alto, always shown in unconventional forms or in arabesque touches of uncommon divisions, wrapped in a sense of “monstrous” rhythmic drive along with drummer Anders Hentze.

Sensory, spiritual, technical. Whatever is said about this show, it is little definition for the music and scene presented yesterday by Wazzabi and guests. It is always a pleasure to hear and feel a spectacle among people who transform music beyond its traditional limits and who revere the experimental and universal being within art. Jazz, electronic music, and Brazilian poetry show that, combined, it is a balm against the creative sameness that plagues beings here, there, or anywhere. Long live live music.

Sohail Hassan, Gaffa Stemningsfyldt genreblend Wazzabi: Wazzabining | Udkom 11. juni 2010 – Anmeldt af Sohail Hassan. Det danske musiker/producer-team Thor Madsen og Anders Hentze dannede deres grænseløse musik- ensemble Wazzabi tilbage i 2005 efter i flere år at have spacet musikalsk ud i the melting pot, New York. De mange forskellige musikalske inspirationer fra funk, jazz, soul, hiphop, rock, reggae og brasiliansk musik blendes fint til det bredt spændende lyd-udtryk, som er Wazzabis helt eget. På albummet flankeres de oplagt af danske Camille Jones, Tue Track, DJ Noize og Shaka Loveless, samt andre udenlandske artister. Alle folk, som ligeledes elsker at eksperimentere og blende musik, men med udgangspunkt i en solid funky bund. Det resulterer i musik med masser af kant og interessante konstellationer. Det skiller sig ud, men lægger sig alligevel op ad forbilleder som Massive Attack og f.eks. Portishead. Dog spænder det bredere med sine brasilianske rytmer og forskellige sprog. Worldmusic af den mere iørefaldende, rytmiske og stemningsmættede slags. Igennem hele albummet er der en form for melankolsk stemning, som derfor også bliver en del af udtrykket. Funky og spacy, men til tider også forvirrende, rodet og en kende kedeligt. De mest radiovenlige skæringer er Lost Tapes og On The Cross.

Translation Mood-Filled Genre Blend Wazzabi: Wazzabining | Released June 11, 2010 – Reviewed by Sohail Hassan. The Danish musician/producer team Thor Madsen and Anders Hentze formed their boundless music ensemble Wazzabi back in 2005 after spending several years musically spacing out in the melting pot, New York. The many different musical inspirations from funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop, rock, reggae, and Brazilian music blend nicely into the broadly exciting sound expression that is Wazzabi’s own. On the album, they are aptly supported by Danish Camille Jones, Tue Track, DJ Noize, and Shaka Loveless, as well as other foreign artists. All people who likewise love to experiment and blend music but with a solid funky base. It results in music with lots of edge and interesting constellations. It stands out but still aligns with role models like Massive Attack and Portishead. However, it spans broader with its Brazilian rhythms and different languages. World music of the more catchy, rhythmic, and atmospheric kind. Throughout the album, there is a form of melancholic mood, which therefore also becomes part of the expression. Funky and spacey, but at times also confusing, messy, and a bit boring. The most radio-friendly tracks are Lost Tapes and On The Cross.

Berlingske Fusion. Under det jazzede bandnavn Wazzabi har Thor Madsen (guitar, keys) og Anders Hentze (trommer, perc) igennem en årække fasttømret og sammentømret på disse breddegrader sjældent mødt niveau.

De to musikere leverer en imponerende bred vifte af forskellige musikalske genrer som trip-hop, jazz, hiphop, dance, rock, brasilianske toner m.m.

Thor Madsen og Anders Hentze navigerer elegant mellem de mange musikalske udtryk, hvilket giver Wazzabi en dynamisk og levende sound, der favner vidt og bredt. Det er denne alsidighed, der gør Wazzabi til et unikt lyt, hvor man som lytter kan forvente at blive taget med på en musikalsk rejse gennem diverse stemninger og rytmer.

Translation Fusion. Under the jazzy band name Wazzabi has Thor Madsen (guitar, keys) and Anders Hentze (drums, perc) welded and assembled over the years at a rarely met level in these parts.

The two musicians deliver an impressive wide range of various musical genres such as trip-hop, jazz, hip-hop, dance, rock, Brazilian tones, etc.

Thor Madsen and Anders Hentze navigate elegantly between the many musical expressions, giving Wazzabi a dynamic and lively sound that encompasses a wide breadth. It is this versatility that makes Wazzabi a unique listen, where listeners can expect to be taken on a musical journey through diverse moods and rhythms.

Diskant 2010 Blandingsmisbrugere på kosmisk verdenstrip Faktisk er de kun en duo. De lyder navnene Thor Madsen og Anders Hentze og udgør i fællesskab et musiker- og producer-team, der har begået sig gennem mange år i New Yorks rytmiske smeltedigel af en undergrund. De behersker henholdsvis guitar, keyboard og trommer, perkussion, samtidig med at de har medvirket i et hav af musikalske projekter med et utal af yderst forskellige kolleger inden for primært club-scenen og med en tydelig afstikker til det cubanske.

På deres første fuldlængdealbum medvirker blandt andre Camille Jones, Tue Track, DJ Noize og Shaka Loveless. Der er med andre ord en lang række kompetente og spændende artister, der stiller deres vokal og rytmiske forståelse i d’herres tjeneste. Resultatet er en fængende og ikke mindst køligt glødende musikalsk buffet, med masser af saft og kraft, men også med lidt for meget fyld af den lidt anonyme slags.

Der er ikke vedlagt nogen liste over numrene på pladen, men især tredje skæring indeholder et fantastisk flot refræn med en forførende stilistisk kvindevokal, der passer godt til den underspillede, sumpede rytme. Kun afløst af cubanske rytmer i den efterfølgende skæring, der sensuelt og varmt udforsker landskabet mellem traditionelt club-dance og latinamerikanske rytmer.

I sjette skæring holdes kadencen med et groovy tempo og soul så det driver ned ad de syntetiske lædersofaer. Det er frækt og lækkert, og det er stor musik med små midler.

De sidste tre skæringer viser meget godt spændvidden i duoens projekt. Der er alt lige fra det latinamerikanske vokal- og rytmearbejde, lidt jazzet intonering fra blæserne uden at blive eksperimenterende, og et knitrende elektronisk bagtæppe af lyde og stemninger, der formfuldent indkapsler og beriger de forskelligartede strømninger.

Sidste skæring er den eneste, der afviger noget i stil og tempo. Næsten instrumentalt og nærmest søvndyssende i sit slæbende tempo med et stærkt nedstemt piano. Det hele afstemt i mol af stor styrke og med en kraftig udgangseffekt på et album, der ellers har været hele paletten rundt. Det kan derfor undre lidt, at man vælger at slutte af med et nummer, der betjener sig af så markant en melankolsk og nærmest truende tone og stemning. Nummeret er for så vidt i sig selv yderst interessant og fantastisk stemningsfuldt, men det passer simpelthen ikke med det øvrige materiale. Det ændrer dog ikke ved et samlet billede af to musikere, der har tydelige talenter for det rytmiske og det stemningsfulde, og jeg kan kun anbefale Wazzabi til alle, der har hang til club- og world-scenen. Wazzabi favner det hele på flot og forførende vis.

Translation Mixing Abusers on a Cosmic World Trip In fact, they are only a duo. Their names are Thor Madsen and Anders Hentze, and together they form a musician and producer team that has spent many years in New York’s rhythmic melting pot of an underground scene. They master guitar, keyboard, drums, and percussion, while also participating in a sea of musical projects with a multitude of highly different colleagues primarily within the club scene and with a clear detour to Cuban music.

On their first full-length album, artists such as Camille Jones, Tue Track, DJ Noize, and Shaka Loveless participate. In other words, there is a long line of competent and exciting artists who lend their vocal and rhythmic understanding to the gentlemen’s service. The result is a captivating and, not least, coolly glowing musical buffet, with lots of juice and power, but also with a bit too much filler of the somewhat anonymous kind.

There is no list of tracks on the album, but the third track especially contains a fantastically beautiful refrain with a seductive stylistic female vocal that fits well with the understated, swampy rhythm. Only replaced by Cuban rhythms in the following track, which sensually and warmly explores the landscape between traditional club dance and Latin American rhythms.

In the sixth track, the cadence is maintained with a groovy tempo and soul dripping down the synthetic leather sofas. It’s cheeky and delicious, and it’s great music with small means.

The last three tracks show the breadth of the duo’s project very well. There is everything from Latin American vocal and rhythm work, a bit of jazzy intonation from the horns without becoming experimental, and a crackling electronic backdrop of sounds and moods that perfectly encapsulates and enriches the diverse currents.

The last track is the only one that deviates somewhat in style and tempo. Almost instrumental and almost sleep-inducing in its dragging tempo with a strongly detuned piano. The whole thing tuned in a minor key of great strength and with a powerful closing effect on an album that has otherwise covered the entire palette. It is therefore somewhat surprising that they choose to end with a track that employs such a markedly melancholic and almost threatening tone and mood. The track is for itself extremely interesting and fantastically atmospheric, but it simply does not match the rest of the material. However, this does not change the overall picture of two musicians who have clear talents for the rhythmic and the atmospheric, and I can only recommend Wazzabi to anyone who has a penchant for the club and world scene. Wazzabi embraces it all beautifully and seductively.

Weenendavisen Sonetsoundtrack. Jeg havde ikke plads i min anmeldelse af Pablo Llambías’ sonetsamling Monte Lema i WA i dag til at skrive om den (for let forhøjet pris) medfølgende cd, som jeg ellers gerne ville sige noget godt om, fordi cd- formatering for en gangs skyld gør en markant og positiv forskel: Llambías og den versatile duo Wazzabi giver hver sonet sin egen stemme og musik/lyd som en yderligere (og i mine øjne nødvendig) formalisering og forklædning/forvrængning af dagbogsstoffet, der til forskel fra sonetformens faste gitter hele tiden changerer, mellem, hvad Pablo-stemmen angår, først og fremmest (forskellige former for) mørk recitation og lys sang (ligesom Llambás’ 10 år gamle, excentriske live-numre med breve til rejsebureau og kommune, som også blev både reciteret og sunget), med flere fine og sjove undtagelser, 1 sonet læses som Lars Skinnebach med skingert tryk på sidsteordet, 1 anden skriges punk-agtigt (“Hele min krop skriger efter nærkontakt” selvfølgelig); på en kuriøs måde får mange af de privat-sonetter, jeg i anmeldelsen stempler som kedelige, (ej uhumoristisk) liv og karakter (der er så også væsentlig færre sonetter på cd’en som sådan, det betyder også noget!), især er de sungne teksters – hvad skal man kalde det? – arie-isering (i kontrast-spillet med recitationerne) højst effektiv; ud i en en slags sørgmunter hyper-inderlighed.
– Lars Bukdahl (Weekendavisen), 14.10.2011

Translation I didn’t have room in my review of Pablo Llambías’ sonnet collection Monte Lema in Weekendavisen today to write about the (slightly overpriced) accompanying CD, which I otherwise would have liked to praise, because for once, the CD format makes a significant and positive difference: Llambías and the versatile duo Wazzabi give each sonnet its own voice and music/sound as an additional (and in my opinion necessary) formalization and disguise/distortion of the diary material. Unlike the fixed grid of the sonnet form, the content constantly shifts, especially in terms of the Pablo voice, which primarily alternates between (various forms of) dark recitation and light singing (just like Llambías’ 10-year-old, eccentric live performances with letters to the travel agency and municipality, which were also both recited and sung), with several fine and funny exceptions. One sonnet is read like Lars Skinnebach with a shrill emphasis on the last word, another is screamed punk-like (“My whole body screams for close contact” of course); in a curious way, many of the private sonnets, which I label as boring in the review, come to life with humor and character (there are also significantly fewer sonnets on the CD itself, which also matters!). Particularly, the sung texts – what should we call it? – their aria-ization (in contrast to the recitations) is highly effective, leading to a kind of bittersweet hyper-intimacy. – Lars Bukdahl (Weekendavisen), 14.10.2011

Thor Madsen Group – Metal Dog

Jazz Man, France Metal Dog Installé à New York depuis 1997, le guitariste danois Thor Madsen de Thor De Force jazz à symphonie avec Douglas Yates (saxophone alto et de ténor) et des les géniaux trios de le trio Michel Pilc (Francois Moutin, Ari Hoenig). Voilà pour son quartet. Pour ce qui est de sa musique, on récupérerait volontiers les harpes religieuses pour sonner aux. Ce qui, une fois n’est pas coutume, n’était pas loin de celle de la Abbey Lincoln… Notamment pour le côté rythmique de la batterie, crochets-on dans les mémoires les accords de. C’est dire les influences de ce jeune compositeur. Il évoque de nouveaux une sensibilité de la mélodie: une chanson proche comme ” Mon Ange”. “Todi World”, en hommage, semble il à l’Association du Refuge à “Ananda”. Une énergie fascinante et saisissante en clôture pour l’album de Thor Madsen dans l’entourage de Douglas Yates et la rythmique du Méditerranéen trio.

Translation Metal Dog Settled in New York since 1997, the Danish guitarist Thor Madsen of Thor De Force jazz symphony with Douglas Yates (alto and tenor saxophone) and the brilliant trio of the Michel Pilc trio (Francois Moutin, Ari Hoenig). That’s for his quartet. As for his music, one would willingly recover the religious harps to sound them. Which, for once, was not far from that of Abbey Lincoln… Notably for the rhythmic side of the drums, we remember the chords of. This is to say the influences of this young composer. He evokes a new sensitivity of the melody: a close song like “My Angel”. “Todi World”, as a tribute, it seems to the Association of the Refuge to “Ananda”. A fascinating and striking energy in closing for Thor Madsen’s album in the entourage of Douglas Yates and the Mediterranean trio’s rhythm.

Jazz Times Thor Madsen Metal Dog Red Giant RG-7 (50:14) Born in Denmark and transplanted to New York City, guitarist Thor Madsen tunes up his first rave in spinning complexity, angular melodicism, and an energy level that might result from John Scofield meets the late Lester Young. Throughout most of his originals, his compositional ideas, aided by saxophonist Douglas Yates on alto and tenor, electric bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Ari Hoenig, skirt the edges of grooves, adding and subtracting sonic elements, engaging in free play and at the same time swinging as if to escape harm’s way. The more ambitious and freely melodic tracks here, “No Dancing Allowed,” “Crazy Dog Out the Window,” and “The Metal Dog,” show the guitarist in charge of his own rhythmic sense and display harmonic elements with a strong sense of form. Concept, individual capability and group cohesion all cohere to present this disc, which is well worth checking out.

Jazz Journal A “breathtive,” melodically reflective as well as rhythmically assertive player, Danish guitarist Thor Madsen—who moved to New York in 1997—wrote all the material on this intelligent, hot and purposeful release. He contributes a useful sleeve note, detailing the genesis of his well-integrated quartet and explaining how the energy of New York came to effect many of the multi-layered potentialities of rhythm and sound. He also acknowledges a fascination with Monk, a fascination which emerges in particular on the jaunty title track here, Metal Dog. Throughout, Madsen’s lucid and—with the exception of the concluding, somewhat dub/reggae inflected Simple Song—harmonically intriguing work is complemented superbly by the dynamically sensitive trio of Yates, Moutin and Hoenig. The acutely underpinned Little Q, wherein Yates—whose alto work Madsen rightly describes as redolent of a meeting between Eric Dolphy and Jim Hendrix—also features the clarinettist, epitomises musical ideas whose ability to conjure an ad libitum mood is inspirational both here and further afield. Crazy Dog attests to their post-Coleman ability to knit together different strands with a difference that defines them. Between these extremes, further and various encounters with dark-hued free/sections in nature, all participants not afraid to reveal a strongly lyrical side to their nature.

Jazz Special Thor Madsen Metal dog Historien er hørt før: en ung dansker tager på musikalsk dannelsesrejse til New York og finder en flok ligesindede og sød musik opstår. Thor Madsens historie føjes sig smukt ind i rækken. Madsen og hans internationalt sammensatte gruppe spiller med et letflydende drive, der både funky og særdeles komplekst og som tager udgangspunkt i netop den særlige puls man finder i musikken fra New York. Mest af alle kommer jeg til at tænke på John Scofields musik, når jeg hører den måde Madsen lægger sit spil frem på. Men tydeligt er det også at hans måde at frasere på, tager afsæt i hans læremestre, saxofonisterne Dave Liebman og George Garzone. Kompositionerne og musikerne skaber tilsammen en smuk symbiose, hvor man til trods for de komplekse figurer holder sig på midten i hvad man kan kalde en slags post-bop. Det er i det hele taget bare en medrivende plade. Allan Sommer

Translation Thor Madsen Metal dog The story is heard before: a young Dane embarks on a musical journey to New York and finds a group of like-minded individuals, and sweet music arises. Thor Madsen’s story fits beautifully into the series. Madsen and his internationally composed group play with a flowing drive that is both funky and highly complex, based precisely on the special pulse found in the music from New York. Most of all, I think of John Scofield’s music when I hear the way Madsen lays out his playing. But it is also evident that his phrasing draws from his mentors, saxophonists Dave Liebman and George Garzone. The compositions and musicians together create a beautiful symbiosis, where, despite the complex figures, you stay in the middle in what one might call a kind of post-bop. Overall, it’s just an engaging record. Allan Sommer


Thor Madsen – Big City Abyss E.P. Reviewed by Trew Ratings: 8/10

Dane Thor Madsen isn’t new to electronic music, but under the guise Thor de Force he makes his ‘dance floor’ debut on Nublu Records with the Big City Abyss E.P.

First up on the E.P. is the title track, gently soothing you in as a nice dreamy synth washes, working smoothly with a luxurious thick analog bassline, draws you into the first track. Next, winding, almost trance-inducing sirens and risers lead the track striding forward before a stripped down breakdown. Jumping right back in with whirling and dark rhythm you might think this track is all in the head, but a jacking rhythm puts it firmly on the dance floor. This would work equally well at the peak time or at sunrise picking you back up again.

Next on the release is Trick, a thing which grumpily wades its way into your ears. Its thudding syncopated rhythms and rasping lead sounds painting a much more discordant sound. While perhaps done before a few times, is a definite narrative to the tune, and would make a perfect set-bridging tune for more techno led floors.

The final track on the E.P. is Not Invincible. There are two versions on the EP, one with vocals supplied by Brooklyn’s TV Nothing, the second an instrumental. Bringing the pace back up ever so slightly and working as that adding and compelling mid-set track TV vocals fantastically. Whereas the instrumental lets the added arpeggios and more driving rhythms tell in their own right. All in all the Big City Abyss E.P. gives something really different and shows a keen intent and ability to follow club tracks but present a personal favourite on the record.

Though only three tracks, this E.P. covers almost the same musical ground that you might expect from an artist album. Techno, fused throughout, but with enough punch and groove to keep it dance floor bubbling. If this is a taste of things to come, then the future looks bright for this Danish producer.

The 26th Jazz Festival Keeps Image of Cult Event. A concert of the extraordinary conductor and composer Butch Morris, who performed with his latest project, Nublu Orchestra, was the climax of this year’s Skopje Jazz Festival. One of the greatest representatives of avant-garde jazz, Morris enabled the audience an unusual trip with his unique music world full of surprises, challenges. On Sunday at the Army Centre, jazz music fans listened to a new symphonic jazz music such has not been heard on the Skopje jazz stage for a long time. As a leader of the newly established Nubu Orchestra, which mainly consists of young and extraordinary musicians, Morris created a fascinating mix of free jazz, funk, rhythm and blues, drum and bass, rock. Some say fusion of several style expressions can be a two-blade sword, but owing to Morris’ experience and refined senses, Nublu is developing a new progressive sound that cannot leave you indifferent. Maestro Butch created increasing intensity of sound, a wide dynamic spectrum. He managed to extract enormous energy from the musicians and his ad hoc improvisation was impressive. The audience at the Army Centre welcomed his innovative concept – to unite people with different techniques, style and cultural views and join them into a new artistic movement – with ovations.

The conclusion after the closing of the 26th Skopje Jazz Festival is that the event has preserved the image of a cult cultural event. The organizer brought quality and recognized musicians and ensembles from Europe and the United States who presented the world music culture in this small music area.

Violin i varmen Violin i Varmen. Man kommer ikke uden om, at guitaren er det strengeinstrument, flest unge musikere med ambitioner og attitude vælger at udtrykke sig på. Violinen halter noget bagefter, hvad sexappeal angår, men ikke desto mindre byder årets festival på flere interessante udøvere – af begge køn.

Mandagens tilbud var den i San Francisco bosatte Mads Tolling og hans dansk/norske kvartet med det lokale islæt Thor Madsen på guitar – og cool retro Ray Bans. Det var godt nok også lyst oppe på Musikhusets solbeskinnede scene mandag middag, da kvartetten lagde ud med Tollings ”Danish Dessert”, eller Rodgrod med Flode, som de kalder det i San Francisco.

Svend Asmussens ånd er til stede, overalt hvor danske violinister prøver kræfter med jazzen, og hvis man mener, at den nu 95-årige gigant altid strøg publikum med hårene, så tager man fejl. Asmussen eksperimenterede med elektronikken, så snart den blev tilgængelig i de tidlige halvfjerdsere. Mads Tollings tilgang er den samme; siden han begyndte som seksårig, har han tilegnet sig en virtuositet, der tillader ham at kaste sig ud i en hundesvær tour de force som Asmussens ”Take Off Blues” (På dansk ”Ta´ blusen af”). Men den høje, lidt genert udseende mand med den nydelige, ternede skjorte trykkede den også af med wah-effekt på violinen i Pee Wee Ellis´ funky klassiker ”The Chicken”, et godt jam-nummer, der også viste andre sider af talenterne hos den norske trommeslager Snorre Kirk og bassisten Kasper Tagel. Materialet rakte fra en rygradsrislende ”I skovens Dybe Stille Ro” til et for undertegnede ikke velkomment genhør med lyden af Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlins halvfjerdserfusionsmonster. Respekten for volinens nestor blev udtrykt i ”Svend Medley”, der bestod af ”Honeysuckle Rose”, ”Den lille Ole med paraplyen” og naturligvis ”June Night”. Svend kan være tilfreds med sin protegé!

Et par af Tollings kompositioner er efter hans eget udsagn inspireret af sport. Fælles for musik og sport er holdsamarbejdet, og det fejlede bestemt ikke noget i Mads Tolling Quartet. Derfor kan man jo godt fremhæve enkeltpræstationer. Undertegnede sad hele tiden og glædede mig til Thor Madsens soli, og det havde ikke noget med lokalpatriotisme at gøre. Det havde noget at gøre med oplevelsen af et dybt rodfæstet melodisk talent og en idérigdom, der – selv når intensiteten var højest – aldrig smed lytteren af. Vildt? Ja, indimellem. Smukt? Ja, hele tiden. Men konklusionen er også, at dansk jazzviolin lever og har det godt. Mads Tolling, Line Kruse, Bjarke Falgren, Lasse Høj Jacobsen med flere: Alle er de eksponenter for en stadig positiv udvikling for dette lille fikse instrument. Og måske ender det med at blive sexet igen at spille violin? Jørgen Nielsen 2011

Translation One cannot deny that the guitar is the string instrument most chosen by young musicians with ambitions and attitude. The violin lags somewhat behind in terms of sex appeal, but nevertheless, this year’s festival features several interesting performers – of both genders.

Monday’s offering was the San Francisco-based Mads Tolling and his Danish/Norwegian quartet with local flavor Thor Madsen on guitar – and cool retro Ray-Bans. It was indeed bright on Musikhuset’s sunlit stage Monday midday, as the quartet kicked off with Tolling’s “Danish Dessert,” or Rodgrod med Flode, as they call it in San Francisco.

Svend Asmussen’s spirit is present wherever Danish violinists tackle jazz, and if one thinks that the now 95-year-old giant always played to please the audience, they are mistaken. Asmussen experimented with electronics as soon as it became available in the early seventies. Mads Tolling’s approach is the same; since he began at six, he has acquired a virtuosity that allows him to dive into a challenging tour de force like Asmussen’s “Take Off Blues” (In Danish, “Ta’ blusen af”). But the tall, slightly shy-looking man with the neat, checkered shirt also rocked out with wah effect on the violin in Pee Wee Ellis’ funky classic “The Chicken,” a great jam number that also showcased other sides of the talents of Norwegian drummer Snorre Kirk and bassist Kasper Tagel. The material ranged from a spine-chilling “I skovens Dybe Stille Ro” to a not-so-welcome reunion with the sound of Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin’s seventies fusion monster. The respect for the violin’s nestor was expressed in “Svend Medley,” which consisted of “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Den lille Ole med paraplyen,” and of course, “June Night.” Svend can be satisfied with his protégé!

A couple of Tolling’s compositions are, according to him, inspired by sports. Common to music and sports is teamwork, and that was certainly not lacking in the Mads Tolling Quartet. Therefore, individual performances can still be highlighted. The undersigned sat throughout eagerly awaiting Thor Madsen’s solos, and it had nothing to do with local patriotism. It had to do with the experience of a deeply rooted melodic talent and an ingenuity that – even at the highest intensity – never threw the listener off. Wild? Yes, occasionally. Beautiful? Yes, all the time. But the conclusion is also that Danish jazz violin is alive and well. Mads Tolling, Line Kruse, Bjarke Falgren, Lasse Høj Jacobsen, and others: All are exponents of a continually positive development for this little nifty instrument. And maybe it will become sexy to play the violin again? Jørgen Nielsen 2011

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