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World Music CD Reviews Europe


By Sule Greg Wilson
Published March 3, 2006

The Element Of Swing

Drummer Ed Thigpen, Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson alumnus, has been living in Denmark for the past 30 years. Now he's made a record with two Danish sidemen, Carsten Dahl (piano) and Jesper Bodilsen (bass), with sax man Joe Lovano out front. The point of this recording was the "feel good pulse," the Element of Swing: they got it. Recorded live at the Copenhagen Jazz House, the musicians have something to say, and stand by it. They don't need tricks. Sit down, hold on and groove. In the opener, "Sweet Mama," Dahl is so close to Lovano on the head they become a brass section. "Emperor Jones," written by Lovano, harkens back to the heyday of Ramsey Lewis, with its cool/soul influences.  Thigpen is known for being a solid groove player; here he's so solid in the back that he's right out in front, too. "Chelsea Bridge," the Billy Strayhorn standard, fills with tension as Lovano overblows his reed against the cool rhythm section; Dahl breaks it back down.