Fessor: Glad To Be Here

Danish trombonist has followed a trajectory like Chris Barber's, expanding from New Orleans to include the high-quality mainstream, swing and blues heard here

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Now in his 80s, veteran Danish trombonist and bandleader Ole “Fessor” Lindgreen is no stranger to the Storyville and Olufsen catalogues, having recorded over the years almost 40 LPs  and CDs. When his long career began in the mid-50s, another Danish trombonist, Papa Bue, dominated the country’s popular traditional jazz scene. Fessor went on to form his own successful Big City Band, touring world-wide from 1968-2003.

Like Chris Barber, Fessor was strongly attracted to New Orleans jazz, maintaining an interest in its later developments and recording in New Orleans alongside noted resident musicians such as Wendell Brunious and Leroy Jones on his “Funky New Orleanians” albums. Over the years his Big City Band’s style broadened and developed to include mainstream, swing and funky blues, working with star American guests which included Wild Bill Davison, Ralph Sutton, Sammy Price, Jay McShann and Al Casey.

His Jazz Kings on this latest CD is a well-rehearsed and very capable group, comfortable with a relaxed-middle-of-the-road style, and performing with close-knit precision some well-crafted arrangements – notably Louisiana (closer perhaps to Condon than to Bix), a fresh interpretation of Santa Claus Blues (recorded by Armstrong back in 1924) and Devil Got My Woman, a blues which Fessor had enjoyed hearing Skip James sing back in 1967. A nicely varied and unhackneyed programme of Fessor favourites acknowledges Basie and Ellington. (Fessor’s Blue Nights sounds very early Ellington-ish.)

Solos all round are interesting and stylish – Fessor with assured, expressive phrasing, clarinetist Chris Tanner fluent with some intriguing fresh ideas, Jakob Dinesen’s tenor creative in Azur, Pete Marott’s trumpet and flugelhorn bustling feistily in Moten Swing and Roy Eldridge’s 5,400 North, and Morten Ærø with some impressive drumming in Moppin’ and Boppin’. All very enjoyable and there’s hopefully more still to come from this popular and dedicated Danish veteran and his responsive band.

Discography
Glad To Be Here; Louisiana; Devil Got My Woman; Moten Swing; Azure; Drop Me Off In Harlem; Blue Days; Moppin’ And Boppin’; Don’t Take Your Love From Me; Santa Claus Blues; Look Here; Take Me Back Baby; 5,400 North (57.37)
The Jazz Kings: Pete Marott (t, f); Chris Tanner (cl); Jakob Dinesen (ts); Ole “Fessor” Lindgreen (tb); Marko Martinovic (p); Jens Solund (b); Morten Ærø (d). Denmark, 6 November 2019 and 12 August 2020.
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