Category Archives: CD-Reviews

Review a CD / album

Hans Ulrik: In a Sentimental Mood

Billede 12-10-2020 kl. 06.38

A great relaxed album comes from Danish saxophonist Hans Ulrik. “In a Sentimental Mood” presents a mix of originals and standards from a Scandinavian all-star quartet featuring

  • Hans Ulrik – saxophone 
  • Steen Rasmussen – piano
  • Johnny Åman – bass
  • Anders Mogensen – drums 

Johnny Åman comes from Malmö in Sweden, the other musicians are from Denmark.  The songs have been recorded in June 2020 in “the Old Radio House” in Copenhagen by Henrik Holst Hansen and the release date was on October 12, 2020.

The album starts with “You Must Believe In Spring” by Michel Legrand. Hans Ulrik begins it with a excellent sax solo intro, the band joins gently and soft, a short and relaxed piano solo and the final head top this great ballad off.

“Scilla” is an original by Hans Ulrik, a 3/4-meter moll blues which modulates in the bridge. A beautiful composition with fantastic dynamic solos by Hans Ulrik on saxophone and Steen Rasmussen on piano accompanied by pushing bass and drums. This song is in nice contrast to the initial ballad and is one of my favorites on the album.

The album continues with Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”, the title song of the album. The intro goes to piano and saxophone, where the piano plays and repeats an interesting melodic riff. The band starts in the bridge of the song. The first solo goes to Johnny Åman on bass, an excellent idea to keep the song quiet and relaxed. Hans Ulrik takes over in the bridge and the dynamics increase perfectly. A final saxophone solo cadence completes this song, another highlight on the album.

“Loose Caboose” by Henry Mancini from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” comes next. This modal song has a steady even groove and features Hans Ulrik on soprano saxophone.

“The Summer Knows” by Michel Legrand is the next ballad on this album. Hans Ulrik continues to play with his soprano saxophone. The melody is played very beautifully, long notes, great phrasing and much more emotions. The solo goes again to Johnny Åman on bass.

The album finishes with “Epilogue” a Jazz waltz that reminds me a little bit of “Little Waltz” by Ron Carter. This song has a nice melody and fine harmonies. Anders Mogensen on drums uses this song to present a very open and extraordinary rhythmic pattern.

This whole album is something I would like to call “comfort music”, beautiful melodies presented very easy and sophisticated but with great taste. A perfect companion for long winter nights. Please enjoy.

More information on Hans Ulrik can be found on his website:
https://hansulrik.com/

And finally the album as playlist on Spotify:

Skeltr: Dorje

Dorje

From Manchester, UK comes the band Skeltr with their second album ‘Dorje’ released on Ubuntu records on October 9.

The line-up for this band is

  • Sam Healey – Alto Saxophone, Vocals, Keys
  • Craig Hanson – Drums

Skeltr started as an experimental late night session and their first UK live show was at the 2017 Manchester Jazz Festival, where the band made an auspicious start, leading to performances across European jazz festivals, including Reykjavik JazzFestival, InJazz, Rotterdam and the famous Osloscene Club in Norway.
All six originals on the album are compositions by multi-instrumentalist Sam Healey and guest appearances are made by Hayley Williams on ‘Siren’ and Manchester rapper KinKai on ‘KinKai’s Question.’

The album starts with ‘Cheef Beef’ a song with a steady groove dominated by a multi-layered saxophone creating a really full and pushing sound. The lyrics of this song are about reflecting where we can find happiness. I guess the answer is given with this positive and cheerful song. Great start into the album.

‘Braila’ is the next song, named after the hometown of Sam’s wife. Long notes in the melody create an elevated feeling, like an anthem, but also with intermissions where Craig Hanson and his drumming is featured. A long and intensive saxophone solo leads to a magnificent end. One of my favorites on the album.

‘Siren’ features Hayley Williams on vocals, no lyrics, just her voice, the melody comes in unison with Sam Healey’s saxophone. Hayley’s singing has a great bluesy contrast to the clear composition.

‘KinKai’s Question’ is the next song and it features rapper KinKai in a fantastic song. Fender Rhodes and drums are laying the ground for the words of KinKai, another highlight of this album. The lyrics are inspired by the preface of the book ‘Modern Buddhism’ which Sam Healey presented to KinKai for this song.

‘Fjord’ starts with long synthesizer chords and a saxophone melody with very long notes, the middle part has harmonies that remind me of the Brecker Brothers.

‘Nesodden’ the last song is named after a small island near Oslo, Norway, where Sam spent some time and got the inspiration for this album watching the beautiful scenery and reflecting on the importance to work on his internal and external world. The melody comes again in great long lines, reducing to give space for an extensive saxophone solo, nicely supported by Craig Hanson on drums.

‘Dorje’ is a great album with a unique sound based on the saxophone playing of Sam Healey, the compositions are all convincing and the rich tone and the various stylistic elements are the main characteristics for this positive overall picture. Definitely something new and interesting, so please listen to this album.

Sam Healey produced also a nice little video going through the album and playing a little bit:

And finally the album as a playlist on Spotify: