Groups & Comments
A few comments on a handful of the groups I have been involved in and owe a great debt of gratitude. Groups are small cells or families were musicians of many kinds inspire each other. In each group, the constellation and way of working with music is different. You expose yourself to a variety of culture and
This trio with Makiko Hirabayashi and Francesco Cali is very dear to me. The atmosphere in which the music is composed, practiced and performed is truly refreshing. The development of a common language within the group feels very natural and I feel it includes all the potential of the artists. At the same time, hard work and discipline in the way we share the challenges of the different musical aspects is not a challenge but a joy. In the fall of 2012 we toured Japan and played concerts at several clubs in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kitakyushu. We recorded our Binocular record in Rainbow Studio, Oslo with Jan Erik Kongshaug.
C.V. Jørgensen Band
The edition of the C.V. Jørgensen Band holds a special position in many people’s musical inspiration.
C.V. has a unique phrasing and colour in his voice and creates lyrics with a strong poetic nerve. At the same time he posseses an ability to express everything from daily experiences in life, as well as pinpointing the paradoxes of society. The beauty of existence as well as the irony - blend in with his fantastic timing and openness in terms of music styles. I had the privilege to play in the band from 1994 – 2003 playing magic concerts covering a broad variety of C.V.´s backlist with great band members like Aske Jacoby, Rune Harder Olesen, Gert Smedegård, Knut Henriksen and Gustaf Ljunggren. Beautiful ballads, solid rock, jazz and improvisation in a music form not too concerned with labels. A truly great experience.
Face to Face
I formed this band in 1997 with two Swedish and two British musicians – Hans Andersson and Jesper Nordenström from Sweden and Martin France and Julian Argüelles from Great Britain. I knew Jesper from the work with C.V. Jørgensen and Hans and I had been playing for a long time in various projects. I heard Martin play with Django Bates and also knew him from First House (ECM recording band with Ken Stubbs, Bates and Mick Hutton, informally co-produced by the legendary Evan Parker). Martin suggested that Julian Argüelles joined the band – a perfect match. The band played music written exclusively by me in a somewhat minimalistic style with moments of strong and vital improvisation. The group played concerts in Denmark and made a recording also in the legendary studio Rainbow Studio in Oslo, Norway, which is released on the Dacapo label.
Josefine Cronholms Ibis
Swedish singer Josefine Cronholm is a true master of the intimate as well of songwriting using a melodic minimalistic approach.
In Ibis, which also included Lisbeth Diers, Henrik Sundh and Thommy Andersson, we worked intensely on form and refinement in order to balance lyrics, sound and improvisation. Josefine is capable of singing with a deep expressive phrasing and an extraordinary variety of sound qualities. I learned a lot playing with these beautiful musicians and our two records Wild Garden and Hotel Paradise is among the recordings I appreciate the most.
A trio performing electronic and free improvisations while experimenting with music forms in the trio format. The group was formed in 1993 on initiative by drummer Lars Juul including keyboardplayer Jakob Davidsen and myself. The band released its first CD called Takuan in 1997 and received a Grammy in March 2001 for the album Push, released on Dacapo Records 2000. It has led the band to festivals like Umeå International Jazz-Festival, Rencontres Internationales de Jazz de Nevers and Rive de Giere in France and to clubs in Denmark, Sweden and France.
Frisch – Lundin - Agerskov
Actually it all started here – with my lifelong friend Gert Frisch whom I met when I was 15. Gert is a musician beyond any description. He has access to musicality from deep within and has a wonderful touch and sensibility on the piano. We shared a huge interest for Steve Reich and free improvisation, Paul Bley and much more. Gert asked me to join a duo he had with Fredrik Lundin and this was my first glance into a kind of music and a way of thinking that I would never leave. Gert and Fredrik are great improvisers in their own ways and the constellation led to a record called LEGEND published on Salut record in 1989. We played concerts in Copenhagen and went on tour to Prague Jazz festival winning the International Jazz Contest 1990. Later we toured Prague again – this time with another great saxophonist Claus Waidtløw.
Diers, Ducret, Müntzing, Cronholm, Diallo, Agerskov
Although not a specific band this project was an interesting one assembled by Lisbeth Diers for the GAS Festival in Göteborg, Sweden. The Relay part was to play concerts through the summer adding a new musician for every new concert and follow the impact it would have on the music. Marc Ducret, Herman Müntzing and Lisbeth Diers started out as a trio and I, Josefine and Moussa Diallo followed. We played the last concert in Kalv - a very beautiful spot in Sweden. A small village dedicating itself to new experimental music. Go there.
Morten Kargaard Septet
Also a lifelong friend, Morten, gathered a group of classical young musicians in this group, challenging him to write for strings and oboe and flugelhorn/trumpet plus acoustic double bass and classical guitar. The arrangements are beautifully written in a somewhat impressionistic style and challenging in the sense of finding mutual ground in different traditions, both in terms of ensemble playing and soloing. This is a rare gathering of nice musicians and personalities and Morten is leading the ensemble in a rare unselfish and respectful manner - enabling everyone to make good music.
Jakob Davidsen - The Crossover Ensemble
Jakob Davidsen is a devoted composer, arranger and bandleader. This band is ambitious and ever-changing in character and set-up. Always combining the elements of improvised music with elements of a more modern classical approach and combining different types of musicians, makes Jakobs music both exploring and personal at the same time. The music is challenging and fun to play and the combinations of strings, vocal and lyrics not to mention free and outspoken improvisations are a lively experience.
An orchestra led by Hans Andersson who also participated in my Face to Face group. Other members were saxophonist Hans Ulrik, guitar player Mulle Holmqvist and drummer Jonas Johansen.
The material that Hans wrote for the band did often have an almost exaggerated melodic structure urging an anarchical desire. What the band strived for was the clash between the more simple material and the rougher playing. Wet Paint did mostly perform at clubs in Sweden and Denmark but also at Copenhagen Jazz Festival. The group also recorded a radio program in 1999 at Swedish Broadcasting Corporation P2.
Composer and pianist Kim Kristensen formed this group with Thomas Agergaard, Peter Danemo, Hans Andersson and me. The music was mainly written by Kristensen, but also Agergaard made contributions to the repertoire. In the unusual and enchanting landscape of nordic medieval elements, blended with improvisation and the sound of Kristensens keyboards, the band made many interesting projects including cooperation with artists and a Jazzpar Prize Project with Guests like the russian frenchhorn player Arkhady Shilkloper and argentine bandoneonist Gustavo Toker and Danish saxophonist Jesper Zeuthen.
Decoy Quintet was a group playing new acoustic jazz written by saxophonist Flemming Toft and myself. The influence was post-bob and modern jazz with strong harmonic progressions and rhythmic drive. It was a group with a strong sense of commitment and a huge amount of time and energy put into the development of the group. We performed in Denmark, recorded Mr. and Mrs. O and went on some wonderful tours – among them a long tour of the Baltic’s playing clubs, radio transmissions and festivals at a time when the Baltic’s was still influenced by the Soviet Union but slowly finding their own identity with a little help from Mikhail Gorbatjov. An experience in our youth which contributed to the awareness of how fortunate we were, living in a free world.
Con Tempo Trio
A long time acquaintance since the mid 80´s with composer and pianist Jørgen Messerschmidt started with the forming of this trio with bassist Ole Rasmussen as the third member. The trio performed music exclusively written by Messerschmidt in a style of lyric jazz with inspiration from ECM artists like Egberto Gismonti, Azimuth and Oregon. The music also contained impressionistic moods and a classical approach to composition and chamber interplay. The group toured in Denmark and Iceland - Snowscootering Vatnajökull and enjoying Reykjavik in the summer of 1992.
Ane Ramløse Sextet
A sextet playing the music of female singer Ane Ramløse, including musicians like Fredrik Lundin, Hans Ulrik, Henrik Sveidahl, Thomas Clausen, Peter Danemo and Hans Andersson. Ane´s beautiful writings were affecting me a great deal due to my interest for Norma Winstone´s work and music. I found a room for playing music that corresponded with my feelings and instrumental preferences and thus this project among others became a guide for my later career. Ane is a harmonic extremely strong composer and the musicians of course were brilliant and inspiring – my first time to play with Thomas Clausen for instance. The year was 1992.
Jazzgruppe 90/Copenhagen Art Ensemble
A group founded by Frans Bak and Ole Thøger as a result of two different projects joined. The repertoire in the beginning consisted of arrangements originally written for the Danish Radio Jazz Group formed in 1961 by The Danish Broadcasting Corporation as a nine piece band led by Erik Moseholm. The project was thrilling to me due to the fact that I followed the radio broadcasts from the age of 12 or 13 listening to the band at late night. Especially Palle Mikkelborgs recording of The Mysterious Corona with great musicians like Niels Henning Oersted Pedersen, Bent Jædig, Thorolf Mølgaard, Alex Riel and many others was extremely fascinating. Jazzgruppe 90 rapidly developed its own new approach to enhance new music by danish composers. Works were written by i.e. Michael Hove, Thomas Blachman, Jens Winther, Irene Becker, Fredrik Lundin. I wrote a piece called “Matutin” for the band. In 1996 Ture Larsen and Lotte Anker took over leading the band and the name was changed to Copenhagen Art Ensemble making projects with Tim Berne, Django Bates and Ars Nova and many more.
Peter Danemo Kapell
Peter Danemo is a great composer and arranger. He manages to let a medium large orchestra sound intimate and allowing the music to be as free and expressive as if the group was only a small one. Writing music always with a comprehensive and strong idea and with sound textures that blend across the traditional barriers of rhythm group and wind instruments. His always tasteful and balanced drumming is a superb invitation to great ensemble playing and improvisations. Krister Jonsson, Cenneth Jönsson, Staffan Svensson, Per Texas Johansson, Fredrik Lundin i.e. In 2000 the band recorded a live recording simply called “Alive”.
Beiijbom/Kroner - Big Band
Erling Kroner has a place in many musicians’ hearts. He was initiative, energetic and passionate in all his projects and I had the privilege to play in The New Music Orchestra 1991 with Erling in a project with Herb Pomeroy – a leading conductor, arranger who played as a young trumpet player with Parker, Ellington and Stan Kenton. Later in the 90´s I joined Erling in his band which was co-lead by Swedish drummer Lasse Beijbom – including also Ed Epstein, Claus Waidtløw, Cennet Jönsson, Henrik Frisk, Jacob Karlzon, Hans Andersson and Thomas Fryland.
Kjellberg – Agerskov Duo
Jeppe and I went on a few days trip to Samsoe and recorded som strange music enjoying every minute. Later it would become the record Discoveries In Slow Motion.
We played and rehearsed in different environments and played mostly in Copenhagen’s Cathedral at the popular Night Church concerts. Jeppe is a marvelous and extremely open minded musician and he taught me how to find new ways.
Flemming Agerskov Trio
A trio playing jazz mostly from the standard repertoire. Guitarist Morten Kargaard and bass player Hans Andersson were two close friends and great musicians. The role model of course was the Chet Baker recordings with Niels Henning Oersted Pedersen and Doug Raney. A good time and a fundament of classic education in the field of jazz exploring the possibilities of styles, roles and musical expressions. Always educational to play without the drummer. We played in clubs in CPH and at CPH Jazzfestival.
The idea was to get familiar with the trio format which I have played a lot and continue to love working in. The possibilities and the necessity to be creative in the way you think form and improvisation in an intimate set up is a never ending challenge. Other trios I worked with is: Con Tempo Trio, Takuan, Joakim Milder-Søren Nørbo & Agerskov Trio, Frisch-Lundin-Agerskov Trio, Hanne Skov-Jakob Anderskov Agerskov – Binocular(Hirabayashi-Cali-Agerskov)
Morten Kargaard Group
In the days of fusion we played in this group playing the music of Morten. Makiko, Hans Andersson, Anders Mogensen and me. A music with a great love for sound, complex rythms and forms including elements of rock and ethnic music like many of the great fusion jazz bands. Weather Report, Entrance and Pat Metheny were great inspirations and adding Mortens talent for combining long and melodic lines with great progressions, made this a period of valuable musical experience for us all.
A special project and collaboration between Swedish and Danish composers. Ten different composers wrote music for this rather large band, ten members. as the title of the project indicates.
Flemming Agerskov (trp) Peter Jensen (trb) Lis Wessberg (trb) Simon Spang-Hanssen (alto, fl, sopr) Emil Hess (ten,bascl)
Pernille Bévort (ten, bascl.) Søren Nørbo (p) Kasper Bai (gui) Jonas Johansen (dr) Niels Præstholm (b)
A beautiful constellation of compositions ,written by bassplayer Eva Skipper and saxophonist Michael Blicher. it has become a recording that I hold in high esteem, hence the calm and slowly progressing changes through the repertoire, nurturing a very special atmosphere. Apart from the composers, musicians on the record is Janus Templeton (Dr.) Thomas Bornø, (P). Gustaf Ljunggren, (pedal stell), Flemming Agerskov (trpt.)
Swedish band with pianist Thommy Berndtsson and his twisted melodic lines and humoristic compositions. Peter Danemo (dr.) Hans Andersson (b.) Thommy Berndtsson (p.) Flemming Agerskov (trpt.) Inge Petersson (ten.sax.)
40 Years of Celebrating Miles Davis
Copenhagen Jazz Festival - A project formed to celebrate the 40 year anniversary of th Live - Evil album by Miles Davis released in 1971. The band members being Jakob Dinesen (ts), Flemming Agerskov (trpt.) Anders Christensen (b)
Aske Jacoby (gui), Ben Besiakov (Fender Rhodes), Rune Harder Olesen (perc), R. J. Miller (dr)