Wilson_span3 Sims_span3 Marsh_span3 Sims_span3
March 2008

Teddy Wilson
Teddy Wilson in Copenhagen
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims in Copenhagen
Warne Marsh & Kenny Drew
Warne Marsh & Kenny Drew in Copenhagen
Johnny Griffin & Lockjaw Davis
Johnny Griffin & Lockjaw Davis in Copenhagen

The Danish Storyville label has extensively documented American jazz musicians touring Europe for the past 50 years. Four recent sets of previously unreleased material are part of its In Copenhagen series. Teddy Wilson in Copenhagen is a typical trio set from 1979 by the definitive swing pianist, who always sounded as if it was 1935—flawless, if predictable. Zoot Sims in Copenhagen is also typically excellent because Sims always swung on his tenor, no matter the year or setting. Pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and drummer Ed Thigpen provide perfectly suitable accompaniment for Sims in 1978. Tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, who had a light floating sound and was usually joined by quiet rhythm sections, is heard with a more boppish backing than usual in 1980 on Warne Marsh & Kenny Drew in Copenhagen, but he easily meets the challenge and is particularly effective on ballads. However, the gem of the lot is Johnny Griffin & Lockjaw Davis in Copenhagen. The two very distinctive tenors co-led a regular quintet during 1960-63 and occasional reunions in the years since, but none of their recorded encounters are quite as heated and passionate as this 1984 outing which has six selections that clock in between 9:57 and 14:42, often taken at blistering tempos. With the young Kenny Washington driving the group on drums (or being driven by the tough tenors), this is rousing music.

Originally published in March 2008
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