Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen: The Great Dane’s Low Tones and Highlights

No doubt, he gets tired of hearing it, the yarn about Denmark being no place to raise one of the finest living bass players in jazz. But the truth is that Niels-Henning Ørsted Pederson-call him NHØP-may have been in precisely the right place at the right time. NHØP, born in Ørsted (hence the name) in 1946, was barely past puberty when he began cutting his teeth in the internationally-renowned Copenhagen club known as the Club Montmartre in the late ’50s.

Where else could a fresh-scrubbed country kid hope to play with some of the greatest jazz players alive, on a regular, rotating basis? “I took it for granted,” he remembers now, in an interview from his home just outside Copenhagen while at home for the holidays. “You would play, say, two weeks with Stuff Smith, then it could be Wayne Shorter, then it could be Freddie Hubbard, then Kenny Dorham, or Bud Powell. It could be Dexter, Yusef Lateef, or Johnny Griffin. Joe Henderson was in there and he had special ideas about what musicians should be all about. Sonny Rollins was in there, and we just had to find out how to make it function.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published