onsdag den 2. maj 2012

Fifth Element - Open Air

Fifth Element - Open Air

Just found this awesome recording with Søren Helvildt Rågaard and our duo Fifth Element. This recording was made in an old ship yard. ALL NATURAL REVERB!

fredag den 27. april 2012

The Niels Praestholm / Chris Stover New Quartet, featuring Michael Gregory and Andrew Drury 

During the next two weeks I'll be in New York to perform and record with some of New York's finest. My good friend trombonist and composer Chris Stover and I has put together a new quartet. This has given me the opportunity to introduce Chris to my old friend legendary guitarist Michael Gregory and it is going to be a ball to hear these great musicians perform together. Chris has suggested that we invite drummer Andrew Drury to be the fourth member of the quartet and what I have heard on Andrew's website and on You Tube etc. it is going to be very interesting.
We will rehearse all next week and we are playing two performances Friday and Sunday. One at the Douglass Street Music Collective on Friday 4th and one at The Brooklyn Jazz Undergrounds venue at the Sycamore on Sunday 6th. Check these venues out on 295douglass.org and sycamorebrooklyn.com

Michael Gregory was first known as an important member od the 1970es loft jazz scene with such artists as Oliver Lake, Pheroan AkLaff, Julius Hemphill, Leo Wadada Smith and many others. Today he is performing with Wadada Leo Smith groups as well of his own projects and different projects with yours truly. This year we will put out two or more CD's together. Among these recordings the recording we are going to do next week in New York with The New Quartet.

tirsdag den 31. januar 2012

Spring 2012 - Art Ensemble Syd, The Gyroscope String Trio, Michael Gregory and Chris Stover

In the month to come I am facing on one side, an almost amount of work but on the other and most important side, a program packed with possible musical experience for you and me and my fellow musicians.

First of all 2012 started with the great news that Sonderborg city had decided to ask my band Art Ensemble Syd to become the city's professional jazz ensemble. That means a lot of opportunities to do concerts both in town, but also representing the city around the world. We will do concerts, workshops, invite guests and order compositions from our favourite composers. It is a dream come true.

Next thing is that I am invited to Sarajevo Winter Festival to perform with The Gyroscope String Trio. (See earlier post for more info on the group.) Our CD "Precessions" has been generously reviewed in France, UK, USA, Sweden and Denmark and it is going to be absolutely awesome to come to Sarajevo. The Festival has invited me as a residency of Sonderborg because of the European Cultural Capital candidature and I have chosen to bring my to stringplayers Norwegian violist Bergmund Skaslien and French cellist Alain Grange plus our regular brothers in arms saxophonist Simon Spang-Hanssen and drummer Haakon Berre. We are invited to come down four days before the concert and that leaves us a rare opportunity, for this international ensemble, to work concentrated with the music for four days before the concert. Thanks to Ibrahim Spahic and his staff at the festival office for this rare opportunity.
When I return to Denmark my old friend über talented guitarist, singer, composer, poet Michael Gregory will wait for me in Copenhagen. (read about this coorporation in an earlier post on this site) We have a concert on February 17th during the Winter Jazz 2012 festival in the Charlottenborg Museum. See www.jazz.dk for more details.

Later this year singer/songwriter Tue West and I launch our new project Tue West with Art Ensemble Syd. I am already working on the compositions and arrangements for this project. I am basing my compositions on Tues songs and it is going to be very cool to hear this very talented and open minded artist with all the horns and the improv that I am going to drop on him :-)

In May I am going to New York to work with my new friend trombonist and composer Chris Stover together with Michael Gregory. It is souch a thrill to put these to guys together and I am sure it is going to VERY interesting to experience the results. More info on that soooon.

onsdag den 9. februar 2011

Bo Jacobsen SPIRIT New CD release on Embla Music coming soon

Altoist and drummer, the original Bo Jacobsen, from legendary cult band Blue Sun, is really back in improvized music. Alongside with Swedish multiinstrumentalist Bebe Risenfors, drummer Kresten Osgood and myself on the bass he arrived in DJBFA's fine old house on the small island of Samsø in late spring 2010. I had brought my ProTools studio and Bebe some of his vintage Swedish microphones.
The magic appeared instantly. Bo still got the magic from the days in the late 60's where Blue Sun could tour Denmark and play there improvised outgoing music anywhere and draw hundreds of people to there concerts. Bo's approach to free playing, and some songs written by his old brother in arms legendary Blue Sun founder and bassist Poul Ehlers, led us to some beautiful music that really differs from what you hear mostly on the improv scene these days.
The CD is mixed and mastered now and Hreinn Gudlaugsson has done another masterpiece cover. Yesterday it went of to print and it will be available in my web shop in a couple of weeks. Real SPIRIT!!

mandag den 7. februar 2011

Art Ensemble Syd with Andrew D'Angelo

This Saturday alto saxophonist and bass clarinetist Andrew D'Angelo visited Sønderborg and did a great workshop and recording with Art Ensemble Syd. D'Angelo is a virtuoso on his instruments, a creative and spiritual force and a friendly and loving person. His experience with surviving serious illness gives his personality and his art an very strong energy and positive attitude towards life. He is constantly trying to share this gratitude with everyone and it was a wonderful experience to meet him and play with him on a grey and rainy winters day.

torsdag den 14. oktober 2010

Gyroscope String Trio "Precessions"

To start a new band is always a thrill. When I sat in my studio in spring 2009 writing for my new string based group I knew that it was going to be an awesome experience. Not only was the instrumentation with three string players drums and one single horn going to open up for some new sounds only rarely heard before. Also I had to call in some very special musicians to fulfil this ambition.

Creating the music was not so hard. My experience writing for string players goes way back and I have stumbled over most of the mistakes you can make with these instruments. But I was not sure about how a group like this would satisfy the expectations one has for a "jazz" sound. Would it be powerful enough, would the harmonies get across and would would the rhythmic articulation be to week to make it swing probably.

Finally we met for the first rehearsal. Cellist Alain Grange had come in from France and violast Bergmund W. Skaslien from Norway. Not surprisingly evryones schedule had only allowed us two rehearsals before the gig and as usual I was terrified about how bad the music sounded the first evening.

But, as it has happened many times before, everything was in the pocket for the first gig and after four concerts we where ready to go to the studio and record.

The recording session was a ball. The sound at Thomas Vangs On Location Studio was great and the music was really happening. After some five hours we had a lot of music to choose from.

And now it is here. The Gyroscope String Trio "Precessions" 11 tracks of my compositions and improvisations by the string trio. Next week it will be available on my website. Until then drop me a note and I will send you one.

Cheers, Niels

torsdag den 4. marts 2010

New on the blog

I met Michael when I was very young and working to become a musician. He was the star teacher at The Brandbjerg High School Summer Jazz camp and I was overwhelmed by this outstanding musician. After a few days Michael came over and asked me if I wanted to play a tour in Denmark with him.

Welcome to my first posting as blogger.

Right now as the snow is melting away and spring shows it happy face I am at a crosroad with my musical projects. Three wonderful bands up and going and two CD's to be mastered and released. Now comes the time when I have to take on my manager hat and tell everybody about my awesome music and the outstanding musicians I am working with. So here we go!

One of New Yorks finest guitar wizard, improviser per excellency and a loving, sensetive artist, Michael Gregory and I has formed a trio, cLarity <3 with another great musician and messenger of love and true art, Kresten Osgood.

Michael visited me in my house in southern Denmark for a week last fall and we rehearsed a string of Michaels beautiful songs.
After a concert tour in Denmark we went to bassist Thomas Vangs "On Location Studio" in Copenhagen and recorded "Guitar Bass Drums" We did Michaels songs and some stunning free impros. Certainly an inspiring and giving afternoon with two of the greatest musicians I know of.

Two days later we went to the studio back in Sonderborg and recorded with my stepson Matias Andreasen on drums. He had played our first gig on the tour as Kresten couldn't make it and Michael liked his playing a lot. Another great experience that lasted all night. Michael is working incredible hard when he first gets started. Matias did a very good job and the album is going to be his debut. Not bad for a 16 year old musician.
I met Michael when I was very young and working to become a musician. He was the star teacher at The Brandbjerg High School Summer Jazz camp and I was overwhelmed by this outstanding musician. After a few days Michael came over and asked me if I wanted to play a tour in Denmark with him. I was 19 and had just started playing jazz a few years earlier and Michael was 25 and on one of the most exciting and creative musicians in New York at the time!....!!

Rolling Stone magazine raved, "By the time he (Gregory) was twenty-one he was already one of the most original jazz guitarists to emerge since the sixties." Michael's unique style and innovations have changed the face of creative guitar playing and influenced many other very well known guitarists and musicians in many genres of music.

Right now we are waiting for the record labels to come back with some intelligent ideas about what to do with our recordings. In the mean time I am planning to bring Michael over for the Copenhagen Jazz Festival and some more great music. I am looking forward!!

Next week: The Gyroscope String Trio. The composer speaks.