ALLAN BOTSCHINSKY QUINTET
ALLAN BOTSCHINSKY, tp-flh
OVE INGEMARSSON, ts-ss
THOMAS CLAUSEN, piano
LARS DANIELSSON, bass
VICTOR LEWIS, drums
1 THE NIGHT (A. Botschinsky) 9’46
2 THE END OF A TUNE (A. Botschinsky) 8’43
3 SUNRISE (A. Botschinsky) 8’52
4 SPOTLIGHT (A. Botschinsky) 5’57
5 SOPHISTICATED LADY (D. Ellington) 7’05
6 SAMBA MARGARITA (A. Botschinsky) 9’32
Total Playing Time 49’55
All Titles Composed (*) and Arranged by ALLAN BOTSCHINSKY
All Titles (*) Copyright © 1988 by Marion Kaempfert Music / GEMA
(*) except for “Sophisticated Lady” composed by Duke Ellington / Mills Music, Inc. / ASCAP
Produced by MARION KAEMPFERT and ALLAN BOTSCHINSKY
Co-Producer: NIELS NEERGÅRD
Digital Recording by JAN SCHUURMAN at Soundpush Studios, The Netherlands
Digital Master Mix by JAN SCHUURMAN at Wisseloord Studios, The Netherlands
Front Cover Photo by JETTE BOTSCHINSKY
© 1992 by M.A Music International, Mittelweg 169, D 2000 Hamburg 13
The internationalization of jazz, which has become increasingly global in the ’80s, continues apace. This recording, by ALLAN BOTSCHINSKY QUINTET, is yet another fine example of this trend. The leader-trumpeter and fluegelhornist-chief composer, Botschinsky, and the pianist, Thomas Clausen, are Danish; the tenor and soprano saxophonist, Ove Ingemarsson, and bassist Lars Danielsson are Swedish; the drummer, Victor Lewis, who first met Botschinsky in Copenhagen at the club Montmartre while on tour with Stan Getz, is an American, born in Omaha, Nebraska and, from the ’70s, a fixture on the New York Scene.
I first became aware of Allan Botschinsky on an Oscar Pettiford recording date for the Danish “Debut” label in 1960, issued in the U.S. on “Jazzland”. He appeared on four sextet numbers, displaying a muted style that would have fit well in a Basie situation – swing with some bop overtones. It was not until 1986 that I heard Botschinsky again, as part of the marvellous four-man brass team on the album “FIRST BRASS”, the initial release for the M.A. Music label. Then, late in the year, Botschinsky visited the U.S. with the renowned Danish bassist, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. They played three nights at the Village Gate in New York and I was fortunate to catch a set on one of those evenings to marvel at and enjoy their musicianship. I also received a copy of their CD, entitled “DUOLOGUE”, again on M.A Music, which gets my vote as one of the “albums of the year”.
Now between Oscar Pettiford’s sextet and “FIRST BRASS” and “DUOLOGUE”, Allan Botschinsky was far from idle. Born into a family of classical musicians in Copenhagen on March 29, 1940, he started trumpet lessons at age 11 and, at 14, began studies at the Royal Danish Conservatory. As he moved further into teenhood he inclined towards jazz and by 1956 was working in a big band. At 19 he formed together with Bent Axen, the “Jazz Quintet ’60” and also gained invaluable experience playing with American expatriates and visitors such as Pettiford, Getz, Gordon, Ben Webster, Kenny Dorham and Sahib Shihab.
In 1963 he was voted “Musician of the Year” by the Danish jazz critics and was awarded a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he studied under Cecil Collins. The following year Allan became part of the Danish Radio Jazz Group and, later, the Danish Radio Big Band, whose guest conductors included Oliver Nelson, Stan Kenton, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, George Russell and Thad Jones.
Botschinsky has also been active as a composer and both his compositions and playing have been featured in specials on Danish, Swiss and German television. He has also been a member of Peter Herbolzheimer’s “Rhythm Combination and Brass”. Among his awards are the coveted “Ben Webster Prize” from the Ben Webster Foundation in 1983; and a “Prize of Honour” from the Danish Composers Organization in 1984. In June of 1987 Botschinsky, together with Marion Kaempfert, formed M.A Music International. This is his quintet’s debut on the label.
Saxophonist Ove Ingemarsson was born in Halmstad, Sweden in 1957. He began as a clarinetist but later switched to tenor sax. He has played with Bob Berg, Kenny Drew, Ernie Wilkins, Georgie Fame, Palle Mikkelborg, Red Rodney, Palle Danielsson, Jan Allan, Georg Riedel, various Swedish jazz groups and a jazz-rock group called Hawk on Flight.
Pianist Thomas Clausen was born in 1949 and gave up studies in classical Greek to concentrate on music full time. He, too, benefited from the presence of the American jazzmen in Denmark. He was also greatly influenced by the Catalonian pianist Tete Montoliu. He has had fruitful association with such diverse figures as Dexter Gordon, Palle Mikkelborg and George Russell, and is celebrated as both leader, sideman and composer. He has recorded with, among other, Gordon, Jacky McLean and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.
Bassist Lars Danielsson studied cello at the Swedish Conservatory before he took up the bass. He has played with Woody Shaw, Flora Purim, Airto, Thad Jones and Dave Liebman. He has recorded two albums of his own music, one with Liebman and Jan Christensen and the other with Alex Acuna. Currently he is a member of a trio with Lars Jansson (pianist with Jan Garbarek) and also with the Tolvan Big Band.
Drummer Victor Lewis, who was deeply impressed with Botschinsky’s accomplishment as a composer and how excellent the other members of the quintet play, has worked with, among others, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Kenny Burrell, Art Farmer, J.J. Johnson and Kenny Barron.
Five of the six pieces in this album are by Allan, beginning with “The Night”, an atmospheric piece, comes drifting in on a mist of muted brass and tenor sax. Botschinsky’s plaintive sound reveals that the simple swinger of 1960 has matured into a virtuosic artist while keeping his earlier essence in the process of evolving a personal, sophisticated brand of expressionism. Ingemarsson’s love of middle-period Coltrane is a comfortable combination of the mellow and the burr-edged. Then we hear the fat, accurate, inventive contributions of Danielsson and Lewis. Clausen, both decorative and essential, whose accompaniment is sparely apt and ethereally funky, comments under and around the ensemble.
A nostalgic intro by Clausen begins “The End of a Tune”, its theme carried by Ingemarsson and Botschinsky in alternate statements. Allan’s solo is sheer beauty with unpretentious funk. Clausen’s feelings for Bill Evans are filtered through his own prism and there is gorgeous lyricism from all.
Rays and Rhythm come up slowly over the rim of the hill in “Sunrise”, with Lewis’ cymbal patterns adding greatly to the overall dynamics. Ingemarsson’s soprano is bathed in the early light and Botschinsky’s purity of sound matches his deeply thoughtful ideas to perfection. Clausen again offers highyly interactive accompaniment and a pretty solo that contains an underlying layer of urgency.
“Spotlight” changes the mood and the tempo as Allan bites the bit more than a bit more and Ove follows suit with a toe-hold, digging-in and rearing-back rocking. Thomas features a percussive, right-hand attack and the entire rhythm section is beautifully intergrated in its swing. Victor’s solo surges with creative energy back into the theme and abrupt finish.
Clausen ruminates and then back Botschinsky’s out of tempo interpretation of Duke Ellington’s classic “Sophisticated Lady”. Bass and drums enter on the bridge as Allan continues to explore all the rich nuances of the song. Ingemarsson’s tenor displays the lyricism and tensile strength of the Trane legacy and Allan returns to demonstrate how effective expressive melody-playing can be.
The closer is “Samba Margarita”, a thoroughly relaxed samba that sways as it swings as it soars, but not so high that you can’t see the details in the landscape. Danielsson’s lovely, articulate and highly literate solo eases seamlessly into Clausens’s, followed by Botschinsky’s fluegel, complete with a Dizzy fluegel flight, and Ingemarsson’s expansive sound.
It is coincidential, but not merely so, that Lewis, who adds so much to this session, has worked importantly with Gordon and Getz, two of the giants who exerted such an influence on the Danish and Swedish scene and the musicians herein.
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