Palle Bolvig

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If the trivia challenge is who provides great-sounding jazz trumpet in a film noir potboiler, try dropping the name Palle Bolvig. The tough John Payne melodrama Hidden Fear was filmed in Copenhagen in…
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If the trivia challenge is who provides great-sounding jazz trumpet in a film noir potboiler, try dropping the name Palle Bolvig. The tough John Payne melodrama Hidden Fear was filmed in Copenhagen in the '50s, making use of both waterfront atmosphere and architectural perversions. The production put together a recording orchestra for the soundtrack, making use of local musicians such as Bolvig, an active player in big bands since the early '50s. That was when he joined the Ib Glindeman Orchestra after completing several years of formal training. The pragmatic Glindeman needed a lead trumpeter who could punch the high notes like a bouncer clearing away the front row at a fight and he also needed that person to be able to scribble good arrangements.

Bolvig had been trying to sound like Maynard Ferguson for years and was no slouch with pen and ink. Obviously he fit the bill; what was not so apparent at first was that this would be one of the cases where a young musician's first professional contact becomes one that consumes a large share of the total career. As Bolvig soared through the '50s with Glindeman, he did manage to break away for important events on his own: Hidden Fear, the Newport International Youth Jazz Band at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, a triumphant series of solos at the Brussels World's Fair. The Newport ensemble cut an album for Columbia and the trumpeter would be recording for the label again in 1985 in the orchestra for the Miles Davis project entitled Aura. By then he had graduated from the Glindeman outfit to the prestigious Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra.

That large ensemble has backed many a visiting musical dignitary, handling assignments from Sahib Shihab's portable bebop to Mike Mantler's melancholy esoterica and even satisfying Stan Kenton along the way. Audiences that have enjoyed such events had much to be concerned about by the year 2003 as social budget cutbacks hit even countries such as Denmark, slashing away at the budgets that allow such orchestras to exist and document their activities professionally.