Casper Hejlesen, Idyl, Universal Music Denmark ****

Rather beautiful this poetic solo guitar album from Danish player Casper Hejlesen. Just 23, from northern Jutland, he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Amsterdam Conservatory and the Jazz Institute of Berlin and is completing a jazz …

Published: 12 Feb 2024. Updated: 16 days.

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Rather beautiful this poetic solo guitar album from Danish player Casper Hejlesen. Just 23, from northern Jutland, he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Amsterdam Conservatory and the Jazz Institute of Berlin and is completing a jazz masters in Trondheim. Influenced by Jakob Bro, Julian Lage, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ted Greene there's a lot of poise and weight in these balladic tracks some of which neatly fold in quite ambiently atmospheric overdubs and sport strong sonic production values. Hejlesen debuted four years ago with the album Overture. On the upcoming album there's a beautifully harmonised version of the standard 'Body and Soul' one of the highlights here as is the highly endearing 'Waltz van Amsterdam'. Out on 23 February. Album track 'Waltz van Amsterdam' is streaming

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Friends and Neighbors, Circles, Clean Feed ***1/2

Long established Scandi group Friends and Neighbors return here with their very accessible take on a heritage free-jazz style, their well considered originals grounded in the spirit of titans of free jazz from Ornette Coleman to Cecil Taylor and …

Published: 12 Feb 2024. Updated: 16 days.

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Long established Scandi group Friends and Neighbors return here with their very accessible take on a heritage free-jazz style, their well considered originals grounded in the spirit of titans of free jazz from Ornette Coleman to Cecil Taylor and far beyond. The improvisations spool out from some very strong heads and you get a lot of bluesiness and sense of the roots of the music that Ornette and others took from early jazz. Tenorist André Roligheten's solo at the beginning of 'Son' is a great high point of the album and the title track too has a winning coherence to it. We also liked the serene piano contribution from Oscar Grönberg on the woozy 'Hymn Infinitum'. Simply miles better than a lot of current free-jazz out there at the moment, the ragged, rip-roaring fervour Friends and Neighbors generate is infectious.