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Sinne Eeg & the Danish Radio Big Band: We’ve Just Begun (BFM Jazz)

A review of the Danish vocalist's ninth album

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Sinne Eeg & the Danish Radio Big Band: We've Just Begun
The cover of We Just Begun by Sinne Eeg & the Danish Radio Big Band

A vivacious vocalist with a winning, unpretentious stage presence, Denmark’s Sinne Eeg has been something of a go-to collaborator for the Danish Radio Big Band. She’s featured on both of the ensemble’s Christmas albums, but We’ve Just Begun marks a major leap in the relationship. With Eeg credited on half of the album’s 10 tracks, the project is an impressive outing that showcases her gifts as a songwriter—and as a vocalist whose full, burnished tone sounds warmly rounded in every register.

Danish trumpeter Jacob Riis doesn’t play on the album but wrote half of its arrangements, serving Eeg particularly well on her original material. She wrote the words and music for the luscious Ellingtonian ballad “Like a Song,” and Jensen’s rising and ebbing tide of reeds tenderly hugs the melody’s undulating contours. The award-winning Danish composer/arranger Peter Jensen contributed three charts, including the infectiously swinging title track (which pairs Eeg’s composition with lyrics by Mark Winkler and Shelley Nyman) and the jaunty Danish standard “Talking to Myself” (a piece Eeg first released a decade ago on her album Remembering You).

While still introducing herself to North American audiences, Eeg has forged deep ties on the Los Angeles jazz scene; she dedicates the album to the great L.A. saxophonist/arranger Roger Neumann, who died in 2018 at the age of 77. He contributed two of the most striking arrangements: a molasses-drip version of “Detour Ahead,” highlighted by a gorgeous Nicolai Schultz flute solo, and a playfully erotic take on “Comes Love.” In keeping with the running theme of fresh starts, the album closes with Riis’ arrangement of the gospel-powered “To a New Day,” which features lyrics Eeg added to a tune by Danish pianist Martin Schack. It’s an aptly celebratory conclusion to an album by one of the top jazz vocalists on any continent. 

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Andrew Gilbert

Andrew Gilbert is a Berkeley-based freelancer who has written about arts and culture since 1989 for numerous publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, East Bay Express, Berkeleyside, and KQED’s California Report. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he experienced a series of mind-blowing epiphanies listening to jazz masters at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in the late 1980s, performances he remembers more vividly than the gigs he saw last month.