Jeppe Zeeberg – Universal Disappointment
(ZEE201901. Review by Peter Slavid)
Jeppe Zeeberg is a young Danish pianist who has a Masters degree from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and was a key member of Barefoot Records, a collective of Scandinavian improvisers. I really enjoyed his last album which was a solo piano album called Eight Seemingly Unrelated Pieces Of Piano Music.
This is a very different album but could equally also be called Nine clearly Unrelated Pieces.
We saw Zeeberg in the UK last year with his band Horse Orchestra as part of Dave Morecroft’s Match and Fuse. This album features a mixture of those Horse members guesting on various tracks along with the core quartet which usually performs as The Absolute Pinnacle of Human Achievement (Zeeberg, Henrik Olsson, Casper Nyvang Rask & Anders Vestergaard).
When I listened to this album for the first time, I jotted down single-word notes about each track. They included words like burlesque, cinematic, swing, rock, ragtime, ’50s, and several others. A collection of totally different styles.
The album opens with a 90-second track Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity with some louche jazz that could have been straight out of a 1950s film.
The second track is Jesus on Bongos and opens with a drawling American voice from the same era saying “What you are about to hear is not designed to scare you, but it might”, followed by some jazz-rock, some electronics and a fierce squealing sax. After that, we go into the next track with a real ragtime feel to it, once again with sax and trombone added. Then we have a track featuring a keyboard over a Surfer Rock rhythm, then the rather dramatic sound of Untitled, England 2016.
And so the variety continues with bits of free jazz interspersed with straight-ahead melodies all over various funky rhythms and retro sounds. The final track is the stand-out track for me. It’s built around a doo-wop song before the musicians start to distort it, and there’s some great interplay between sax and trumpet before everyone goes a bit mental, before subsiding into some dreamy electronics.
In his press material Zeeberg says that he likes his albums to tell stories, and that this album is the same but he adds “I’m not sure exactly what this album is about, but I worked hard on telling the story right”. For me the thread that holds this album together is a sense of fun. There’s plenty of serious music, but it never takes itself too seriously, and you end the album smiling and wanting to hear it again.
Peter Slavid broadcasts a programme of European Jazz on several internet stations including mixcloud.com/ukjazz
Jeppe Zeeberg – pianos, synth, organ etc
Henrik Olsson – guitar (2-4, 7, 9)
Casper Nyvang Rask – el. bass (2-4, 6, 7, 9)
Anders Vestergaard – drums, percussion (2-9)
Erik Kimestad – trumpet (6, 9)
Laura Toxværd – alto sax (1, 3, 5)
Ingimar Andersen – alto sax (6, 9)
Petter Hängsel – trombone (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Anja Tietze Lahrmann – vocal (9)
Jeppe Skovbakke – double bass (3, 5)
Universal Disappointment is released today 5 August 2019
Categories: CD review