Danish saxophonist, Benjamin Koppel, continues innovating jazz expression by furthering the international reach of modern jazz by collaborating with four other musicians from Bulgaria, Sweden, France and Switzerland to create European Jazz factory.
In what could be viewed as a nod to the way traditional jazz was recorded in the 1950s and 1960s, Benjamin Koppel and bassist Thommy Andersson collectively composed several themes and melodies. The duo then brought in the rest of the quintet and recorded their concerted improvisations on those jazz themes in a recording studio in Paris. The resulting work is nothing short of magnificent for any fan of modern or traditional jazz. The selections on the CD move fluidly from one track to the next, almost as if the combo is playing a live gig at a Parisian jazz club instead of the Studio de Meudon in Paris.
This work has several notable songs that stand out beginning with the song "Tout le monde est tout le monde/Everybody is Everybody." This selection sets the pace for the remainder of the album. The piece begins with an outstanding piano intro by Cedric Piromalli, and the rhythm section lays a strong foundation for Koppel and trombonist Gueorgui Kornazov to solo over. Their contrasting solos on soprano sax and trombone complement each other rather naturally. Daniel Humair provides a clinic for playing drums with a jazz combo before the quintet returns to the main theme of the song and wraps up.
The album progresses with several songs that could easily become regulars in the repertoire of any jazz combo. At the midpoint of the album, the quintet’s "Poor Shostakovich," which is presumably a dedication to Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich, parallels Shostakovich himself through its melancholy yet haunting melody. In the song "Free-Bop-A-Lula" the quintet pays homage to the era of Bop, and Koppel conjures comparison to Julian "Cannonball" Adderly through his bold improvisation on alto sax.
The quintet closes the album similar to the way it began by showcasing very technical musicianship and improvisation skills. This album is sure to become classic, and worthy of any listener that considers themselves a connoisseur of traditional, straight-ahead, avant-garde or modern jazz.