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HYMNS & SPIRITUALS: SORGENFRI KIRKE vol 1 1998-99

MUSIC MECCA CD3068-2, 2001, 15 tracks, 79min

*Over In The Gloryland, *Just A Closer Walk With Thee, *When I Leave The World Behind, ~Bells Of St Mary, ~Royal Telephone, #Burgundy Street Blues, #Salee Dame, #Only A Look, +Lily Of The Valley, +If You See My Saviour, ^Oh I Want To See Him, ^Does Jesus Care, ^He Touched Me

Live recordings from Sorgenfri Church Denmark by *Sonny Morris and the Delta Jazz Band, ~New Orleans Delight with Ken Pye & Mike Lunn, #The Blount Band, +Jensen's New Orleans Jazzband with Brian Carrick, ^Gota River Jazzmen.

Whilst often this type of CD is often the sort that you buy as a souvenir at the time and later wonder what the hell you did it for, this one is actually very good. The fact that the recordings are live means that the perfection you would get in a studio is sometimes missing, but just listen to the natural reverb that the church's design gives to the band!

There is only one surprise in the tunes presented , Salee Dame, a song about whores, but does Jesus care? I doubt it as he was often in trouble for comforting and keeping company with the down-and-outs, including prostitutes.

I was pleased with the session by the late Sonny Morris as he was in fine fettle, something he wasn't always in during his last years. New Orleans Delight is a Danish band that I am not familiar with. They are quite raucous but in a very enjoyable way. The Blount band was making one of its first appearances after the death of leader and clarinettist, Chris Blount. Chris' replacement was Colin Radford and he fits in very well, though trumpeter Dan Pawson seems at a bit of a loose end at times. Jensens New Orleans Jazzband is another Danish outfit. Almost a family affair it is lead by clarinettist Kurt Jensen and has his wife on bass and daughter on banjo. The Jensens have English reedsman Brian Carrick with them and the extended front-line works very well. Last, but certainly not least, are my old mates and great jazzmen, the Gota River Jazzmen. What more can I say about them that I haven't already said? Gothenburg's finest? Sweden's finest? Scandinavia's finest? Europe's finest? world's finest? Listen and make your own mind up. Ok, so I have the Gota River tracks already on their CDs, but just listen to them live at Church and they are different again.

Lovely CD and well worth visiting http://www.cdjazz.com to order a copy.


HYMNS & SPIRITUALS: SORGENFRI KIRKE vol. 2 2000-01

MUSIC MECCA CD3069-2, 2002, 14 tracks, 78min

Lord Lord Lord*, The Old Rugged Cross*, Walking With The King*, Lead Me Saviour~, My Curly Headed Baby~, Will The Circle Be Unbroken~, Precious Lord+, In The Springtime Fair+, Jesus Has Given His Life For The World+, Sing On+, I'll Fly Away^, Just A While To Stay Here^, Pass Me Not O'Gentle Saviour^, There Is Sunshine In The Shadow^.

Live recordings from Sorgenfri Church Denmark by * The Blount Band, ~New Orleans Delight with Kristin Lomholt, #, + Gota River Jazzmen, ^Brian Carrick's Algiers Stompers.

This CD has more wonderful live tracks from jazz concerts held at Sorgenfri Church, Denmark. Whilst the recording quality is excellent there are some small faults. Oft times the piano is under powered and ' I'll Fly Away' has a couple of minor mike squeals. But then, as the Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, 'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God'.

Before I go into the contents of this album, let me tell you how I go about listening to a CD I am going to review. I normally listen to the CD twice just to get the feel of it. I then listen twice more looking for details and technique etc. When I write the review I run the album again as I write, skipping back and forth to clarify any comments I wish to make, as, indeed, I am doing now. Usually I do this in my 'den' on my old, but quality stereo gear. For Christmas my beloved wife bought me portable CD player. Her reasoning was quite sound: I am burning a lot of records and tapes to CD and she preferred that I sat in the lounge rather than hiding in the den whilst 'test driving' the CD before clearing the tracks from the hard-drive. Subsequently I have taken to 'test driving' whilst travelling on the bus to work. Normally I don't take a review CD on the bus, but on this occasion I have. The interesting thing to me was that, whereas most jazz CDs are best on the main stereo and not so good on the portable player, the Sorgenfri CDs are an exception as they are as good as the other jazz CDs on a big stereo but are absolutely brilliant on the portable. I put this down to the very sharp sound track division that sound engineer (and New Orleans Delight's clarinettist) Kjeld Brandt has used. The music really does get into your head. Add to this the natural reverb of the church building and you really are there. No, honestly, you are. I have been to the odd jazz concert at St Matthews in the City, Auckland, NZ, and this is just how it sounds. Well done Kjeld.

Well that's the sound quality, but what of the music and the bands you ask.

The Blount band has settled in with the new front line and, apart from an odd fluff from trumpeter Dan Pawson, play well with much verve. The tunes are all old Gospel favourites, but they sparkle none-the-less.

New Orleans Delight, a Viking band. I say that because it is a mix of Danish and Swedish members. I if the Swedes are from Skåne and that their inclusion in what was a Danish band a sign that the Danes are re-claiming their old homeland? The front line is trumpetless by design. On the earlier volume they had guest Ken Pye sitting in on trumpet, but this time they fly on their own and shew that they are fine just the way they are. Joining them on two tracks is vocalist Kristin Lomholt. The sleeve notes describe her as being 'the wonderful singer' and I am not going to disagree.

Way down upon the Göta River live my favourite band. What more needs to be said? They play as beautifully as ever and continue to delight me with both their playing and their choice of material. Oh, and pianist Ingemar Wågerman seems less affected by the balance bias than the other pianists. I am not sure if this is because of a different set up for the mikes or whether he was 'pounding the keys' rather than just 'tickling the ivories' on this occasion!

I have another CD that features Brian Carrick's Algiers Stompers, so I know that I will always enjoy anything they put out. Brian is a skilled reedsman, but on this CD he only plays the clarinet. In the hands of such a big man it is amazing how delicate he sounds. I loved 'I'll Fly Away' with Derek Winters half talking and half singing his way through the lyrics.

As I said last time: 'Lovely CD and well worth visiting http://www.cdjazz.com to order a copy.' So off you go then, click on the link and have your Credit Card ready. Just tell them I sent you.

***

HYMNS & SPIRITUALS: SORGENFRI KIRKE vol. 3 2001-2

MUSIC MECCA CD4023-2, 2002, 14 tracks, 80min

Live recordings from Sorgenfri Church Denmark by * Jensens Jazz Seranders with Brian Carrick, ~ Max Larger's New Orleans Stompers, #, +The Ray Brother's New Orleans Jazz Band, ^New Orleans Delight with Kid Bastion & George Berry.

Lead Me Saviour*, Old Rugged Cross*, Royal Telephone*, The Pearly Gate~, Over In The Gloryland~, Ting-A-Ling~, Cradle Song+, Yes Lord I’m Crippled+, I’m A Pilgrim+, In The Sweet Bye & Bye+, San Antonio Rose^, Jesus Is Calling^, Rivers Of Babylon^, Highways Are Happy Ways^

Another wonderful collection of live recordings from the Sorgenfri Kirke jazz Church Concerts, this time 2001-2002. These really are fun outings and one day I have promised myself that I will be there in person rather than joining in via my CD player.

As always: live recordings are not the same as studio ones. The only faults are the occasional moment with an ‘off mike’ instrument and the fact that some singers appear to be using a mike set up for instrument rather than voice and thus down on volume and rather ‘bass’ in tone. But …. whatever is lacking in balance is more than made up for in enthusiasm and ambiance.

So, just who is on volume 3? Jensen’s Jazz Seranders with Brian Carrick provide tracks 1-3, Max Larger’s New Orleans Stompers, 4-6, The Rae Brothers’ New Orleans Jazz Band 7-10, with New Orleans Delight featuring Cliff ‘Kid’ Bastien and George Berry bring up the rear and playing track 11-14

As on Volume One Kurt Jensen and Brian Carrick weave their clarinet magic and present us with a sound that is too rarely heard in traditional jazz circles. As an aside: Kurt’s wife, Nan, is on bass & their daughter, Nina, on banjo and vocals.

Max Lager’s New Orleans Stompers are said to play in the style of ‘Kid’ Thomas Valentine, though with his trumpet phrasing Bo Erisson has a touch of the Ken Colyer’s to him too. Their rendition of ‘The Pearly Gate’ surprised me as, for the first time I can recall, we have a Swedish band singing in their own tongue rather than English. Very tantalising as you can almost understand them, but not quite: rather like when I visited Liverpool for the first time in 1967 and found that the bus conductor and I couldn’t quite understand each other.

I must confess ignorance of The Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band. My only excuse is that they are well north of the Wash, let alone Watford or my own border of the Thames. I was most impressed with these rather distinguished silver haired Geordies and as the sleeve notes say they have CDs issued I must track them down to buy one.

New Orleans Delight have done another chameleon act and with Kid Bastion and George Berry in their front line, changed their sound completely. The result is more mellow and relaxed than usual. These boys continually astound me with their ability to ‘borrow’ a trumpeter and then adjust their style to fit around the said trumpeter and sound as if they have all been playing together for years. This time, in addition to Kid on trumpet, they have George on tenor sax and still manage to pull it off with aplomb. This was especially amazing when you read that most of the tunes they play on this CD are ones that Kid had just introduced them to.

If you love jazz, and even better if you also love The Lord, then buy the Sorgenfri CDs. Of course the best thing would be to go to Denmark, attend the jazz service and then buy the CDs from http://www.cdjazz.com.

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