Emil De Waal: Vente

Unusual lineup from Denmark of clarinet, guitar, organ and drums produces lyrical swing with folky flavours


Drummer DeWaal’s quartet has the somewhat unusual line up of clarinet, guitar, organ and drums. Gustaf Ljunggren plays guitar but doubles on clarinet, so some selections here feature two clarinets, organ and drums.

The Danish group start off here with Peg O’ My Heart, a pop song that dates back to 1913. It is played gently with Ljunggren’s clarinet soft and liquid and Nykjaer’s instrument more in the traditional style with prominent vibrato. Nykjaer is 84 now, but he adapts readily to the more modern style of tracks such as First Song (For Ruth) written by bassist Charlie Haden and sounds comfortable on Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder.

De Waal and organist Hemmer provide most of the rhythm backing on these pieces which are all in the relaxed, easy swing style. Side 1 has the more challenging charts as Side 2 concentrates more on relaxed waltz tracks and a lightly swinging Music To Watch Girls By. Wuhan Waltz is a quietly flowing song written after the band toured China, but the sleeve points out that it was named before the outbreak of Covid 19.

With the drummer leader playing in a relaxed but steady manner and organist Hemmer playing a firm bass line throughout, the music flows along smoothly. It all makes for the sort of late-night or free-afternoon listening for folks who want music of substance but few, if any, jolts, high-note screams or crashing cymbals. Listen particularly to Ljunggren’s soft-focus guitar solos and veteran clarinet man Nykjaer’s snaking solo work. The music has a folksy quality in a laidback jazz setting.

Peg O’My Heart; First Song (For Ruth); Ventimedister; Holger’s Vuggervise; Uffes Tappenstreg: Wuhan Waltz; Music To Watch Girls By; Biblioteksvals; Such Sweet Thunder (39.06)
De Waal (d, pc); Elith “Nulle” Nykjaer (cl); Dan Hemmer (org); Gustaf Ljunggren (elg, org). Denmark, June 2020 & final track 2018.
April Records APRO87LP