Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Day 4

It’s the 34th annual Copenhagen Jazz Festival. MAGNET’s Mitch Myers translates the action.

Have you ever been to a club where they played nothing but Wayne Shorter records all night long? Well, I have, back at the Jazzhouse in Copenhagen for another fine evening watching the Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas “Sound Prints” Quintet. It was all about Wayne, as the Sound Prints band was inspired by Shorter, who just happens to be performing here at the jazz festival this evening. The after-hours DJ was playing all sorts of Shorter material, which includes several essential Miles Davis records, several essential records by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, all of the Weather Report albums and numerous solo records on Blue Note as well as all of the great stuff from more recent decades. I requested the original Davis performance of Shorter’s composition “Orbits” because bassist John Patitucci (from Shorter’s band) told me that was the name of the song that had been haunting me since they played it in Montreal last week.

I had watched the Douglas/Lovano ensemble with Patitucci and pianist Danilo Perez (also in Shorter’s band), and although the Lovano group was more meditative and moodier than the previous night, trumpeter Douglas was practically spitting fire on the bandstand. Of course, Lovano was a total saxophone pro, and while drummer Joey Baron was more restrained than usual he was still amazing to watch.

Anyhow, Perez and Patitucci really wanted to go see saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi at the Christiania Jazz Club, so my good Danish buddy Georgina took them, drummer Jorge Rossy (who’s playing with Shorter tonight in place of Brian Blade) and bassist Linda Oh (from Lovano’s band) to the Christiania Jazz Club—also known as The Kid’s Theater from a previous incarnation.

In case you don’t know, Christiania (also known as Freetown Christiania) is kind of like this strange neutral Interzone within Copenhagen that has it’s own set of laws or lack of them, as the case may be. The cab actually dropped us off at the border of Christiania, and we all walked down the unlit streets (passing by the odd burning trashcan) until we reached the club. Although the whole place looked as dubious as hell, it was a blast and everybody inside was very cool. Boston-born Jerry Bergonzi was an absolute force on the tenor saxophone, playing with shattering intensity and grand creativity. People were drinking, dancing, smoking everything you can think of and basically enjoying the music in a totally uninhibited, free environment—as it should be. We left before the early-morning jam session began since the guys in Shorter’s group still had their big gig ahead. And I slept until noon today.

Now, that’s the jazz life. So, bring on Wayne Shorter already!