Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen: Those Who Were

Rich and sumptuous: the latest recording by the great Danish bassist is like one of those dream desserts that overwhelms the senses and yet is somehow fat-free. There is technique a plenty here, make no mistake, but the arrangements channel it beautifully in service of the leader’s musical goals. NH P owes much to his collaborators here, particularly Ulf Wakenius on guitar, who matches not just the fleetness but the phrasing of the leader on some stunning unison passages. Victor Lewis and Alex Reil share the drum seat. The trio is joined on two tracks by Johnny Griffin, the great expatriate tenor saxophonist, and on NH P’s lovely title composition by vocalist Lisa Nilsson. Griffin’s work, on “The Puzzle,” a blues, and the evergreen “You and the Night and the Music,” is a particular joy. And beneath it all is the supple swing of the bass…