Allan Botschinsky Quintet: Live At The Tivoli Gardens 1996

Miles-influenced Danish trumpeter leads a well-paced, virtuosic performance integrating swing, bop and hard bop


This newly discovered recording of a 1996 concert in Copenhagen is by one of Europe’s bebop pioneers, Danish trumpeter Allan Botschinsky. He slipped into obscurity at the close of the 80s but is now considered by many to be one of the greatest Scandinavian jazz musicians of all time. He died in 2020 age 80.

In the 50s & 60s Botschinsky performed with visiting American artists including Stan Getz, Ben Webster, Oscar Pettiford, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Dorham and Lee Konitz. In 1963 he was named Danish Jazz Musician of the Year and he led the Danish Radio Big Band in the 70s & 80s.

Stylistically, Botschinsky was influenced by Miles Davis. His quintet comprised legendary tenorist Bent Jaedig, promising jazz guitarist Jacob Fischer who later recorded with Chris Potter, bassist Jesper Lundgaard (Thad Jones / Mel Lewis, Chet Baker, Duke Jordan) and drummer Alex Riel (Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard). All the members of Botschinsky’s quintet were awarded the prestigious Ben Webster Prize.

Over two hours of bebop, hard bop and standards that swing are taken at pace but with enough room for each artist to stretch out. These are substantial tracks, with the average time being 12½ minutes and the longest 15.35 for I’ll Remember April. Botchinsky plays flugelhorn throughout the set with unhurried fluidity and grace. He also contributes one of his own compositions, the lovely ballad, A Song For Anna Sophia

The rest of the band are equally impressive. Jaedig is a superb improviser; Fischer holds his own against more established teammates, delivering choice ensemble playing and admirable soloing; Lundgaard is up there with the best on bass and Riel is driving on drums. There’s something of a tuning issue with Botschinsky’s flugel in What Is This Thing Called Love but this is temporary. It is after all a live performance where such things do happen and the audience are evidently undimmed in their appreciation of the performance.

This double CD set has a booklet with photos of band members and a review of the original performance by jazz critic Kjeld Frandsen who was there at the time. Frandsen also provides an opinion of the recording 25 years later and concludes: “As shared back in 1996, the whole concert programme flows together in the best sense of tradition and evokes a sense of joy.” My thoughts entirely.

CD1: Four; A Song For Anna Sophia; It’s You Or No One; I Thought About You; What’s New; Donna Lee (67.39)
CD2: What Is This Thing Called Love; All Of You; Rhythm-a-ning; It Might As Well Be Spring; I’ll Remember April (68.26)
Botschinsky (flh); Bent Jaedig (ts); Jacob Fischer(g); Jesper Lundgaard (b); Alex Riel (d). Copenhagen, 6 July 1996.
Stunt Records STUCD 22042