Jensen Band, Simon - All You Can Eat

Year of Release:
Label: Blue Beat Productions
Catalog Number: BBP004
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:35:00

The Simon Jensen Band are a jazz quartet from Sweden and All You Can Eat is their first release. Some of you dear readers may recognize Jensen's name from his days with Grovjobb as flautist and saxophonist. Here with his own band, he "only" plays flute. Joining Jensen are Oskar Bergenheim on drums and percussion, Per Fenger-Krog on keyboards, Peter Nilsson on bass, and various guests including Erik Fridell on accordion and Joel Gröndahl on tenor sax (both of whom were in the short lived Någon with Jensen).

On the menu is 10 dishes of jazz in classic style, sounding very much like a movie score. Of course, the Gershwin/Gershwin/Heyward classic "Summertime" was written for Porgy and Bess, which has been a stage play and a movie (and a movie for television, too, no doubt). No particular movie comes to mind with the music on whole, but it's a sound that recalls the 40s and 50s. Only "Summertime" and the opener "Take Five" are not originals. And while performance-wise "Take Five" is good, it does seem a little hurried. Or maybe I'm just too used to Dave Brubeck's take. Everything else is allowed to evolve and take form, to bring you along on an audio journey.

Flute is, as you might expect, the main course... that is, lead instrument. And what sounds like sax - though could still be flute - takes over a bit during "Minimum," however, creating a circus or carnival like feel with its short, stuttering, bleats. Here the full quartet is heard, no one taking a "backseat" - flute trills, keyboards hum, drums play an easy tattoo, and bass strolls along, each noodling along in a piece that could easy spin off into chaos (off the table?) if each instrument were allowed to follow their own muse too much. Don't think RIO or that kind of thing, this isn't four disparate parts somehow working together; more cohesive parts yearning to trek out on their own. And they almost get there during that carnival-like section.

"Summertime" here is rendered with deeply felt, smoothly flowing flute given room to breathe by sparse backing instrumentation. Fenger-Krog's keyboards have a crisp piano-like sound, as he momentarily takes lead. Another quieter piece is "Windflower" is a lilting and flowery flute solo over sustained keyboard notes, with just a bare amount of drumming. It's vaguely Celtic at times, the way Jensen's flute gently glides along the twists and turns of the arrangement; but there's also a hint of Spanish, in the spicy sax of Gröndahl.

"Something With Cheese" could have been written for a hip spy film - Bond, maybe, or, maybe even more so, The Pink Panther. It manages to both sneak around and strut about at the same time - like a... cat and mouse game. Keyboards and drums both provide this urgent, throbbing beat over which both flute and tenor sax (Gröndahl) slinkly play, the big, brassy sax notes truly do recall the Pink Panther theme. "That Blues" is also a playful piece, coy... with sauntering drums, percussion and bass and flirtatious flute. A smoky, muted trumpet (Ruhi-Deniz Edrogan) adds quite a bit smoldering sexual heat... and not really "bluesy" at all.

Drums and bass take over for the throbbing ambient "Phenomenon," that ambience provided by spacey keyboard textures. The contrasts create a uncertain urgency... the pay off coming when flute and accordion are added to the mix... engaging in a duet. "Blue Glass," featuring "Brain," is darker piece, despite a trilling flute, made so by the slightly droning keyboards and deeper tones of the bass. It's a piece that reminds me of the thicker German jazz-rock-prog of the 70s... an experimental, improvisational feel. Like "Minimum," instruments threaten to "go their own way" and seem to even more so here. A melancholy, middle-eastern flute tone takes over on "Baghdad 2003," a somber piece, the type that would back images of sadness, of grief... with mournful cello, sparse piano and a slowly walking bass. At the 5:20 mark or so... we get a brief burst of percussion, militaristic, the come to sound more funeral-march-like.

This is a very nifty jazz release - a smorgasbord of jazz styles - from somber to playful -- all quite tasty. Pull up a chair and dig in.

Take Five (2:24) / That Blues (4:10) / Summertime (5:20) / Phenomenon (5:25) / Minimum (5:18) / Something With Cheese (4:19) / Windflower (6:50) / Blue Glass including Brain (5:36) / Baghdad 2003 (8:03) / Blueberry Soup (5:05)

Oskar Bergenheim - drums, percussion
Per Fenger-Krog - keyboards
Simon K Jensen - flutes
Peter Nilsson - bass

Sara Wulcan - cello (9)
Ruhi-Deniz Erdogan - trumpet (2)
Anni Egecioglu - cello (5, 8)
Erik Fridell - accordion (4, 5)
Joel Gr?ndahl - tenor saxophone (6, 7)

All You Can Eat (2005)

Genre: Jazz-Trad. Jazz

Origin US

Added: February 5th 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 976
Language: english


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