Copenhagen Jazz Festival – Django Bates’ selections

An invitation arrived at LondonJazz to go and write about the 32nd Copenhagen Jazz Festival (July 2nd-11th). This is a hard job, but someone has to do it.

Copenhagen is a vast festival with over a thousand gigs, in different venues across the city. International stars are there: Herbie Hancock, Caetano Veloso, Joe Lovano, Mike Stern… But who better to be our guide to this year’s programme than Copenhagen resident Django Bates. Here are his thoughts about the festival, and a few gig recommendations. Virtually all the gigs Django is recommending have free admission.

Django Bates writes:

There is a certain logic to the festival programme in that each venue pretty much sticks with a particular area of jazz. For instance, if experimental is your thing then venues like Stubnitz or Literaturhus are for you, if you want something more in the comfort zone check out clubs like the Copenhagen Jazz House. If you hear a band you enjoy, ask the musicians what gigs they recommend: they’re all part of the same big jazz community! Having worked here since 2005 I can promise you Copenhagen is probably the most beautiful city in the world so use the Jazz festival as an excuse to experience it.


2nd July, 21:00 – Café Blågårds Apotek

‘People Are Machines’. Four young virtuosi who are not bashful about celebrating their skills! Sophisticated acoustic jazz with masses of joyful energy.
Line-up: Marius Neset – sax, Petter Eldh – Bass, Anton Eger – drums, Magnus Hjorth – piano.

3rd July, 17:00 – Venue: Huset i Magstræde, Gårdscenen

‘Orpheus’. Groovy drums and warm analogue synths support intriguing and detailed intertwining saxophones. One of their pieces has the most surprising ending I’ve ever heard.

Line-up: Aske Drasbæk: sax, Frederick Menzies: Sax/synth-bas, William Larsson: rhodes/synthesizers/programming Magnus Friis: drums.

5th July, 16:30 – Frue Plads

Marc Ducret Quintet (DK/FRA). Superb French guitarist now resident in Copenhagen, presents a great new band. Marc is known for his ever-inventive work in hardcore N.Y jazz groups like Tim Berne’s Bloodcount. For me he is an oxymoron: an immensely subtle Rock guitarist.

Line-up: Marc Ducret (g), Fred Gastard (bas sax), Kasper Tranberg (c), Matthias Mahler (tb) , Peter Bruun (dr)

6th July, 16:30 Frue Plads

‘Reptiles’. A chance to stand in the sunny (hopefully) square of ‘Frue Plads’ and hear legendary Danish saxophonist Tchicai parleying with UK trumpeter Chris Batchelor. Tchicai played on Coltrane’s ‘Ascension’. Here he is the main soloist in Danstrup’s new reptilian project that blends traditional jazz with plangent brass harmonies.

Line-up: John Tchicai (ts, bcl), Chris Batchelor (tp), Lise Munch (fr. horn), Claus Højensgård Andersen (alto horn), Peter Dahlgren (tb), Daniel Herskedal (tuba), Peter Danstrup (b), Kresten Osgood (dr)

7th July, 21:00 Borups Højskole

Mark Solborg “4+4+1”. Mark Solborg’s quartet plus a 4 piece horn-section, plus soloist Chris Speed. What an impressive line-up. They are all virtuosi; they are all individuals.

Line-up: Anders Banke (reeds), Mark Solborg (g), Jeppe Skovbakke (b), Bjørn Heebøll (dr) + Jakob Munch (tuba, tb), TBA (tb), Gunnar Halle (tp), Torben Snekkestad (reeds) + Chris Speed (sax/cl)

9th July, 21:00 – M/S Stubnitz – Jazz Club Loco

Fred Frith (UK) & Lotte Anker. This concert takes place on the old GDR ship that is currently docked in Copenhagen. Its former cargo holds are used as venues for live music, exhibitions, performances and media art. There will be many gigs here during the festival and I chose to recommend this one because I don’t think Lotte and Fred play together very often: I’d expect masterful, immediate and unique improvisation in a fascinating environment.


The Rhythmic Music Conservatory will present many bands during the festival. Here’s a couple that I know to be excellent:

5th July 2010, 16:30 – Det Kongelige Danske Haveselskab

‘Clara Bryld’: the singer and pianist, who conducts explorations into irony with her band of angels.

10th July 2010, 21.00 – Byggeriets Hus
‘Marc Méan Trio’


10th July, 22:00 – Charlottenborg / Something Else
‘Efterklang’. Well, by this time you might need to reacclimatize yourself with some Danish indie pop-rock at the venue which provides an alternative view of Jazz throughout the Festival.

Django Bates will be bringing his Beloved Bird project to Ronnie Scott’s on Thursday July 5th as part of the BritJazz Festival.

And he will be appearing twice at Kings Place in the autumn.

He will be celebrating his 50th birthday with a performance with Human Chain on Saturday October 2nd, and with the Bad Plus at the London Jazz Festival on Saturday November 20th.

Categories: miscellaneous

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