Andreas Toftemark Quartet Featuring Gerard Presencer: La Gare

Danish saxophonist leads his quartet with guest English trumpeter Presencer in a set of elegant postbop originals


As you can see from his review, JJ colleague Derek Ansell was impressed by A New York Flight, Toftemark’s previous – and debut – release on April Records. So was I. The Danish saxophonist has a lovely, expressive and rounded tenor sound as well as an unhurried command of dynamics, time and line: I’m A Fool To Want You, the concluding track on that accomplished debut session, exhibited qualities (especially of emotional projection) which recalled (but did not simply reprise) the early to mid-career days of Coltrane, Mobley and Rollins.

The good news continues here, in a potent and elegant post-hard bop outing where the crisp, assured trumpet and flugelhorn lines of Gerard Presencer, the widely experienced English player (e.g. National Youth Jazz Orchestra, John Dankworth, Stan Tracey, Charlie Watts, Norma Winstone, NHØP, Chick Corea) bring extra and welcome bite, drama and poetic colour to the proceedings.

There’s a good YouTube clip where you can see the quintet recording the opening, in part ostinato-sprung, swinging and reflective title track. The group empathy is clear to see and overall, the music reflects this, whether in uptempo or laidback mode. In contrast to A New York Flight, where standards dominated and Toftemark had but two originals, here all the compositions are his. Their diverse yet integrated character – witness the rhythmic variety of La Gare, Waltz For Alex, Peers, Song For J and Chimney Lullaby – delivered by a cracking rhythm section of Calle Brickman (p), Matthias Petri (b, replacing Felix Moseholm from A New York Flight) and Andreas Svendsen (d). If the legacy of hard bop at its lasting best is your thing, don’t hesitate: you’ll love this.

La Gare; Waltz For Alex; Peers; Dagmar, November In Paris; Song For J; Hopefully; Chimney Lullaby (42.39)
(1) Toftemark (ts); Presencer (t, flh); Calle Brickman (p); Matthias Petri (b); Andreas Svendsen (d). (2) Presencer out. Copenhagen, 16-17 January 2023.
April Records APR 118CD