“1001 Arabian Jazz Nights” is a series of 12 original big band charts by Pianist/Composer/Conductor Nikolaj Bentzon. They are all quite out of the ordinary.
The intriguing melody and exciting rhythm of Middle Eastern music in a combination with the power and dense harmony of big band jazz.
Why didn´t anyone think of that before?
Well, the modern big band world is sometimes a little too shadowed by the great big band legacy: While Ellington, Basie, Thad Jones a.o. certainly did provide the foundation for subsequent generations of big band entrepreneurs, that very same big band tradition tends to support a certain musical conservatism – when what you really need is the detonation of a MUSICAL BOMB!
This new series of big band music brings out connotations such as "fresh", "exotic", and even a little "twisted".
Each piece from “1001 Arabian Jazz Nights” takes a deep dip into the various characteristics of Arabian music.
However, this is not for musical purists.
This is a revitalizing clash – a traffic jam – that allows the imaginative musical images of Bentzon to emerge and occasionally “faux pas” the Arabian journey…
Gentlemen, mount your camels…
Several big bands around the world has played the Arabian Suite under Bentzon´s leadership.
Take a view/listen:
"Døgnscenerier" is a new suite for big band commisioned by "Nordkraft Big Band", Aalborg. It is an 8-part suite that equally leans toward the swinging as well as the funky side of a now massive, now atmospheric big band blast.
Take a view/listen:
Luxury Jazz - Bentzon + Symphony Orchestra:
Luxury jazz………..how often have we been spoiled with the lush, expressive, and intriguing sound palette of the symphony orchestra in a live jazz context?
…………….does your memory fail you?".
This production is one of these rare and delightful against-all-odds events.
So, how are you to pull this off?
Well, first you must realize that the parties involved are not opposites – they are essential for one another.
Once everyone acknowledges the potential of the blend, they will quickly learn that a profound respect for each other´s contribution to the musical panorama is a prerequisite for its realization. And not only respect. An understanding, admiration, even mastery of some of each another´s key proficiencies is vital for the musical crossing.
This production came out of love for some of the most celebrated and cherished albums that connect jazz with the symphony orchestra. Albums involving the genius of orchestral arrangers like Riddle, Ogerman, Mancini and others.
Therefore, what could be more predisposed than the pursuit of a project like this - with its attractive mix of genre and crew, and with two hands full of new material?
A truly rewarding project with its genuine jazz connotations, yet with all of the symphonic exuberance intact.
The realization of a production like this benefits greatly also from the fact that Bentzon takes on a quadruple-performance as composer, arranger, conductor and soloist. This leaves the sponsors happy AND the individual musicians of the symphony orchestra with greater musical responsability and initiative - much comparable to the jazz combo.
Take a view/listen:
Concert band & brass ensemble projects:
Bentzon has written numerous new pieces and arrangements for these formats, e.g. for The Band of the Royal Danish Life Guards. This includes their commissioned piece honoring Queen Margrethe´s 40th anniversary in 2012.
Take a view/listen into one of their projects:
With 21 albums as a leader, Bentzon has established himself as a stronghold on the Scandinavian music scene.
Bentzon is the 9th generation of a 250-year long un-broken reign of outstanding Danish composers. Practically un-surpassed in world history – not counting the BACH family……….:-)
Experience a musical journey down through the generations of the Bentzon family. From nineteenth century Danish "Golden Age" with selected works of NB´s great-great grandfather, J.P.E. Hartmann, through excerpts of father Niels Viggo Bentzon´s ground-breaking production, to NB´s own keen and brilliant blend of jazz, funk, and songwriting. After all, his compositional skills did not come out of the blue..........
Listen to a Bentzon interview on a musical career from the standpoint of solo performances:
7 new affectionate and patriotic songs about life in Denmark:
Read about the project in the "press" section on this website.
The idea behind:
Listen to one of the new songs:
Fiery and cool… Memphis and Moscow….Hard-swinging 60s-bluesy piano trio jazz
Mix in a few lyrical passages with jazzy versions of Bentzon´s great-great grandfather´s 19th century romanticism and you have a comtemporary trio voice dancing on the shoulders of its greatest ancestors.
Among several others, the Bentzon Trio has a release on the legendary STORYVILLE jazz label.
Listen to the 2017 release "Tonesmith" on Spotify here:
Bentzon & the New Funk:
The groove is back!!
Bentzon´s latest musical initiative involves his return to his early love of jazzfunk.
His Bentzon Brotherhood produced a string of 6 CD releases, and after a 3-year break-away from one of the most intense and groovy musical innovations of the 20th century (as expressed by e.g. the Herbie Hancock Headhunters), his new Bentzon & the New Funk marks the return of super groovy power jazz funk from Bentzon´s experienced group of top Scandinavian musicians.
Nikolaj Bentzon - keys
Inge Petersson (Swe) - reeds
Fredrik Davidsson (Swe) - trumpets
Matthias Petri (DK) - bass
Rasmus Lund (DK) - drums
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copyright © Nikolaj Bentzon 2018