Each European country seems to offer something special in the jazz world. Denmark is no exception, producing artists ranging from pioneering traditional revivalists to strongly individual contemporary performers.
The first Danish jazz band I became aware of, as a teenager, was the highly-regarded Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band, led by trombonist Arne “Papa Bue” Jensen. A long list of virtuoso performers followed over the years, among them bassist Nils Henning Ørsted Pedersen (of Oscar Peterson Trio fame), percussionist Marilyn Mazur, singer Cæcilie Norby, trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, guitarist and New Jungle Orchestra leader Pierre Dørge, guitarist Jakob Bro, bass guitarist Chris Minh Doky, drummer Morten Lund, and double bassist Jasper Hoiby of the trio Phronesis.
Now we have a new, fresh talent from the Danish scene: the young singer Marie Mørck, whose debut disc offers many delights. As you would expect with a young vocalist, her voice is light, but it’s not without character, and her range is pretty impressive.
She sounds at her most free and easy, vocally, on the all-too-short track We Have All Day. This also applies to the following track, I Still Pray For The Fun To Start, which is attractively accompanied solely by the double bass of Jon Henriksson. But the rhythm section, appearing on most tracks, is a strong one, and the two horns have some good moments too, though are less consistent. All the tracks are composed by Mørck, with the exception of the opening Gershwin standard But Not For Me and Sammy Fain’s Alice In Wonderland. The CD booklet credits Mørck with all the arrangements, and they certainly provide variety in tempi and musical atmosphere. All the selections are sung in English with the exception of Mørck’s own song Bornholm (the booklet, while offering the lyrics in Danish, provides no English translation).
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable debut, promising fine things to come from – as she says in her booklet note “a young and open heart”. Beautifully put.
But Not For Me; Exclusively Yours; The Color Blue; Bornholm; Fooling Around; We Have All Day; I Still Pray For The Fun To Start; Alice In Wonderland; Under The Grass (47.50)
Mørck (v, arr); Simon Balvig (as); Soren Host (ts); Britta Virves (p); Jon Henriksson (b); Jonas Backman (d); Lies Hendrix (acc); Oliver Kragelund (vib). HHH Studios, Copenhagen, June 2018.