MARCH 19th – 21st 2024
Back by popular demand, Sounds of Denmark returns to the UK for its sixth series, presenting a snapshot of one of Europe’s most vibrant jazz scenes. This year’s three-day event introduces captivating and eclectic new Danish sounds at the award-winning PizzaExpress Jazz Club in London and Turner Sims Southampton.
LIS WESSBERG 'YELLOW MAP'
Trombonist, composer, band leader and arranger Lis Wessberg is known for her heartfelt, expressive tone and soulful and melodic compositions, which blend acoustic instrumentation with wondrous layers of sound and dreamy,
cinematic electronica. Wessberg was commended for her "incredible vision ...over the course of nine exquisite and original compositions" by UKVibe for her 2021 release ‘Yellow Map’, which was critically acclaimed across the board and named as "one of the year's major Danish jazz releases" by Jazznyt, Jazz Special and Gaffa in Denmark. In this, her first visit to the UK as a band leader, she presents compositions from ‘Yellow Map’ alongside new music from her forthcoming second album ‘Twain Walking’ (due for release in April 2024), also featuring a guest appearance by award-winning Estonian vocalist Karmen Rõivassepp. Since graduating from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, Wessberg has become known as one of the leading trombonists in Denmark,
performing on over 50 albums and touring extensively both in Denmark and abroad, sharing the stage with some of the biggest stars in music, including Ray Charles, Joyce Moreno, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Ernie Wilkins Almost Big Band, and Randy Brecker.
The first UK performance of this exciting collaborative project between enchanting jazz vocalist Karmen Rõivassepp and energetic jazztronica quartet Abekejser, plus an exceptional UK horns trio led by Emma Rawicz. The show will also feature new music and tracks from Abekejser’s two highly acclaimed albums ‘Floating through the Universe’ and ‘Blueprint’.
In 2015 in the Danish city of Aarhus – the current hotbed of the Scandinavian music scene - four young musicians with a background in jazz and world-music formed Abekejser, combining their individual ideas to create an uplifting cross-genre urban universe between jazz, beats and electronica. Their danceable catchy melodies and snappy hooks share some musical ground with bands such as Snarky Puppy, Jaga Jazzist or piano-visionary Robert Glasper, but in their own unique ‘here and now’ way.
Estonian jazz singer, composer and arranger Karmen Rõivassepp has, during her six years in Denmark, distinguished herself as a significant talent within the Danish jazz scene. Her virtuoso vocal technique, captivating charisma and outstanding musicality have attracted critical acclaim and won her the 2023 Danish Jazz Award for Jazz Composer of the Year.
This special musical collaboration began in 2020, when Karmen Rõivassepp took up the challenge of composing and arranging music for the jazztronica band Abekejser, where she herself also stepped in as a featured vocalist. From the outset, the project gained a great deal of attention, leading to an extensive tour and the recording of a live album during the Danish festival Vinterjazz in 2022 (due for release in early 2024).
AND NIKOLAJ HESS
Danish piano maestros Nikolaj Hess and Carsten Dahl grew up together in the Jutland city of Vejle as teenagers, playing together at a time when Dahl was performing mainly as a drummer. They have discussed the idea of a piano duo over the years and Sounds of Denmark is delighted to be able to launch this collaboration in a unique night, which will simultaneously close this year’s series and kick off the 2024 Steinway 2-piano Festival.
Carsten Dahl is a critically acclaimed pianist, considered one of the most innovative and creative improvising musicians to emerge out of Denmark’s vibrant jazz scene. He has appeared on more than 300 albums, has won numerous Danish Grammys, as well as the prestigious Django D’Or and Jazzpar awards.
Jazz critic Mitch Myers wrote “Nikolaj Hess is one of the most inventive jazz pianists working today” in a recent review. Hess is well established as a highly estimated international jazz pianist and composer, and he spends a good portion of his time and life in the jazz and culture capital New York, which has further developed his international musical citizenship and established him on the scene there. He has collaborated and played with an impressive list of musicians around the world, including Lee Konitz, Christian McBride, Fela Kuti, Ambrose Akinmusire, and many more, as well as performing with the bands Hess Is More and Hess-AC-Hess.
Sounds of Denmark is an exciting musical partnership between Denmark and the UK. The project was launched in 2016 as a collaboration between JazzDanmark, PizzaExpress Jazz Club and Sue Edwards Management with support from the Royal Danish Embassy in London. Sounds of Denmark is one of many Danish initiatives taking place in the UK, which includes the launch of ‘Dangerous Sounds’ - an English language version of award-winning podcast ‘Farlige Toner’ (covering 100 years of jazz in Denmark).
Thanks to: JazzDanmark, PizzaExpress Jazz Club, Turner Sims Southampton, the Royal Danish Embassy in London and the Danish Arts Foundation.