His layers sounds with hard driving tight playing, while exhibiting a characteristic and sense of humor.
The Norwegian trombonist and band leader Jens Wendelboe, now living in the States for the last decade, released his latest album, entitled Fresh Heat. Jens Wendelboe, originally born in Denmark, studied at the Østlandske Music Conservatory in Oslo where he graduated in 1979 in classical trombone. During this period he could be heard on a recording with vibist Per Nyhaugs Studioband - in 1983 he recorded his first big band album with his Jens Wendelboe Big Band, entitled ... Lone Attic. During the 1980s he left from Oslo to New York City to study at the Manhattan School of Music where he recorded with his New York Big Band.
The cover: The Jens Wendelboe Big Band - Fresh Heat (Rosa CD 7) ( Package design Dave Gellis. Photo courtesy: Harold Smick)
In Norway he became a sought after trombonist and recorded with the Norwegian Radio Big Band directed by Bill Holman and witrh his own Big Crazy Energy Band. Ten years ago he moved to New York City where he became a composer for film soundtracks and since 2006 he's a member of the legendary Blood Sweat & Tears.
Jens Wendelboe (source: norway.org) ( photo courtesy unknown)
This album, Fresh Heat, is the follow up of his previous album Inspiration, which was released in 2010. Fresh Heat contains arrangements of compositions by Clifford Brown, like Joy Spring, which opens the album. But few people won't remember the great 1954 version of this tune by the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet recordings for Mercury, but Jens opens with a vocal scat by Deb Lyons in an arrangement that sounds like a Swingle Sisters or Manhattan Transfer recording, before Vinnie Cutro starta a great trumpet solo.
CD: (package design: Dave Gellis)
Deb Lyons has won her spurs in cover bands, musicals, as one of the Mama's in the well known Rock band The Mamas & The Papas ( mid 1990s) and the last decades she could be heard in revue productions, like They Wrote That? about the music of Cynthia Weil & Barry Mann. She can also be heard on this Fresh Heat album in My Funny Valentine. The tune Black Narcissus was originally a Joe Henderson composition, which he recorded late 1960s for a Milestone album. Most of the other tracks are all Jens Wendelboe compositions, with a spirit I love to hear in big bands ..... a sound, he labels as: very snappy, fresh and hot, a high-energy vibe that pushes and grooves..........
Jens Wendelboe, here without a burning slide ( photo courtesy: Harold Smick)
I really liked What a Trip, due to its groovy theme, but also the final track Suite to Bjorn, a tribute to Bjorn Kruse, who was Jens teacher in Norway. What a tune! It was selected as award of the Composition of the Year by the NOPA ( The Norwegian Popular Composers Union). Love to share this tune with you, as played by the Jens Wendelboe Big Band in May 2008 at the Cutting Room, New York City.
There's one minor point, in my opinion, to mention about this album. I dislike the front cover - Jens playing a burning slide trombone - I don't know if the average admirer of Jens Wendelboe "burning" Big Band sounds agrees with me, but I'm sure some of you do love to nominated it for a ranking at the list of the 100 most ugly record covers ever ......
Jens Wendelboe live in Stuttgart (2011) ( photo courtesy: Larry Dorr)
But, despite that, for me, it was a first introduction to the energetic sound of this great Norwegian - American band leader and composer Jens Wendelboe and it's very morish!
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The Norwegian born US trombone player Jens Wendelboe belongs, as All About Jazz label him, to the head of the class among contemporary big-band composers and arrangers. For me, Jens was new and when I played myself the first tune I ever heard from him, the Clifford Brown composition Joy Spring, he hit me right in my heart. What a great swinging steaming, hot, brassy ensemble ........... Give him your ears. He's really great.
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