Nicolai Schultz - Alto sax, flute
Pernille Bévort - Alto sax, soprano sax
Uffe Markussen, Lars Møller - Tenor sax
Anders Gustafsson - Trumpet
Gerard Presencer - Flugelhorn
Vincent Nilsson, Peter Jensen, Steen Nikolaj Hansen - Trombone
Per Gade - Guitar
Steen Rasmussen - Piano, Rhodes
Dave Green, Kaspar Vadsholt - Bass
Charlie Watts, Søren Frost - Drums
Charlie Watts is undoubtedly best known as the drummer for the
Rolling Stones. Less recognised perhaps is his commitment to jazz
and his quality as a leader and performer in that sphere. Since the
1980s, he has led at various times a big band, a quintet and a
tentet, all to critical acclaim. For this album, he teams up with
one of Europe's finest big bands, The Danish Radio Big Band, which
Brit Gerard Presencer joined in 2009. Presencer not only plays
flugelhorn here but provides the arrangements. Also guesting on the
recording is bassist Dave Green who was a boyhood friend of Watts,
indeed a next door neighbour in their youth. With this calibre of
performer, expectations are high. The listener will not be
disappointed since there is a consistent level of excellence pretty
well throughout. There are three Rolling Stones classics from the
pen of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, a quality standard inI Should Care, as well as a Joe Newman tune and a two part Elvin Suite, dedicated to the late, great, jazz drummer,
Elvin Jones. The latter was a consequence of Watts' collaboration
with American drummer and percussionist Jim Keltner some years ago,
known as the Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project. On the resulting
album, tribute was paid to a galaxy of drummers, of which Elvin
Jones was one.
There is an impressive ensemble sound from the band on Elvin Suite Part 1. David Green is typically agile on bass
while Peter Jensen makes his mark on trombone. The interaction
between musicians is noticeably fluent and exciting. There is a
segue into Elvin Suite Part 2, itself briefer than the
opening piece and featuring a robust tenor solo by Uffe Markussen.
Needless to say, Charlie Watts and Søren Frost are right on their
game on drums. There is an enthusiastic response from the audience. Faction is, in fact, Satisfaction. Gerard
Presencer makes a flowing, intricate and swinging contribution on
flugelhorn. Lars Møller, meanwhile, is very much in the groove on
tenor. The whole theme is driven along by Green, Watts and company.
That lovely standard, I Should Care, has Presencer again
on superlative form in this appealing treatment of the ballad. The
stylish Nikolaj Hansen on trombone is a further bonus. The heyday
of the big band is evoked by soloists and orchestra alike.
Wonderful stuff. You Can't Always Get What You Want offers
energetic improvisation from Presencer and oblique and inventive
soprano sax from Pernille Bévort with the band riffing behind the
soloists. Paint It Black allows that thoughtful and
melodic guitarist Per Gade scope to demonstrate his range while
Presencer is at his intuitive best. Charlie Watts, as elsewhere,
maintains a high standard. This is a team effort, however, the band
fully playing their part. The final track, Molasses, comes
from a Woody Herman chart and is a genuine swinger. Nicolai Schultz
on alto solos, as does the rousing Vincent Nilsson on trombone.
David Green is also to the fore.
This album is an unalloyed pleasure, full of memorable moments. I
thought the Stones' tunes lent themselves very well to jazz
exploration and were in no way out of place in this setting.
Charlie Watts is to be congratulated on another successful venture,
as are the soloists and Danish Radio Big Band. Well done, everyone!