Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen


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A virtuoso bassist who graced hundreds of recordings during his career (which began in his teens), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen's debut as a leader is a bit of a mixed bag. His band includes guitarist Philip Catherine (who alternates between electric and acoustic instruments), drummer Billy Higgins, and pianist Ole Kock Hansen, the latter unfortunately playing an electric keyboard, which causes many of the songs in which he takes part to sound dated. Playing in settings ranging from solo to quartet and including six originals, the best tracks are the acoustic arrangements. Pedersen's unaccompanied solo interpretation of the standard "That's All" is majestic, while a trio settings of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "A Felicidade" and a breezy original bossa nova ("My Little Anna") with the full band are also enjoyable. But the electric piano sucks the life out of an otherwise excellent take of Charlie Parker's "Cheryl" (which Catherine sits out), while the funky originals "Jaywalkin'" and "Interlude" also don't make much of an impression. Fortunately, Pedersen rarely utilized electric piano on future sessions as a leader.

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