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Jacob Roved Quintet feat. John Ruocco & Thomas Fryland – Remembering Billy Strayhorn

 

John Ruocco clainette, saxophone
Thomas Fryland trompette
Rasmus Ehlers piano
Jesper Bodilsen contrebasse
Jacob Roved batterie

 

Are you familiar with Duke Ellington’s immortal classics Take the ’A’ Train, Chelsea Bridge, or Lush Life? Then you also know Billy Strayhorn, the man who composed them.

 

Billy Strayhorn is one of the most highly regarded composers in the history of jazz. He was an extraordinarily gifted pianist, but lived in the shadow of the great Duke Ellington as a composer and arranger for his famous orchestra.

 

In 2015 the Jacob Roved Quintet released the album ’Remembering Billy Strayhorn’ as a celebration of Billy Strayhorn’s 100th anniversary. The album highlights saxophone and clarinet virtuoso John Ruocco (US), who finds an ideal setting for his improvisational ideas in Strayhorn’s soulful compositions, but also ‘Ben Webster Prize’-winning trumpet ace Thomas Fryland (DK) excels in Strayhorn’s universe, and treats the listener with beautiful melodic solos and arrangements of Strayhorn’s tunes, that tie obvious connections back in time to the bebop and swing eras that Strayhorn helped to shape. The band is led by drummer Jacob Roved, and the rhythm section features two other great musicians from the Danish jazz scene, Rasmus Ehlers on piano and internationally renowned Jesper Bodilsen on bass.

 

George Harris of jazzweekly.com reviewed ‘Remembering Billy Strayhorn’ with these words:

 

“Ruocco’s clarinet usage was a stroke of genius, as it melds wonderfully on the snappy “Johnny Come Lately” and glows on the dreamy “A Flower is A Lonesome Thing”…. Roved himself is sleek on the brushes during the chamber-sounding “Lotus Blossom” and gives a clever Latin tinge to the usually somber “Chelsea Bridge.” Even more surprising, and pleasantly so, is the extroverted read of “Day Dream” with a ¾ pulse a perfect vehicle for the horns. Strays would give a salute here.”

 

The Jacob Roved Quintet gives compelling and memorable live performances, and effortlessly shows that Strayhorn’s music is both modern and highly relevant, even if today the composer would have been 100 years old!

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