Ole Matthiessen

Portraits, Poems and Places

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Ole Matthiessen has been active in the Danish music scene for some time, but he has had little exposure outside of Europe on record as a leader. The pianist has a fondness for ballads, recording ten originals that he wrote over several decades and recorded with different lineups, though he is more interested in featuring his guests than taking extensive solos himself. The heartfelt "Requiem" is a showcase for tenor saxophonist Bob Rockwell, an American who has made a name for himself working extensively in Denmark for years. "One for Ben" was written shortly after the death of tenor sax great Ben Webster; though inspired by Webster's version of the standard "That's All" and sharing its chord changes, it is a feature for rising fluglehornist Mads La Cour. There is one misfire. The tearjerker ballad "You Have My Heart" features a breathy vocal by Marlene Mortensen, though it is undone by the leader's trite lyrics (which include "When you left I was crying/And I felt just like dying"). Overall, this is a memorable session by the veteran pianist/composer.