For the past twenty-seven years, European traditional jazz fans flocked to the Femo Jazz Festival. Held on a tiny island in the Baltic Sea, the island's 150 full time residents play host to thousands on the last weekend of July.
Danish sound engineer, Jorgen Vad, records the various acts and makes CDs available at the following year's event. The Danish public can find the CDs at most local jazz clubs. Jorgen Vad is one of Europe's most experienced mastering technicians. He is the engineer responsible for the re-mastering of the superb Harlem Kiddies 1940-45
album released by Little Beat Records. The Best Of Femo 2004
features nine bands from Europe and Australia. New Orleans Delight
from Copenhagen requires no introduction to JazzReview readers. They appear on this recording with their guests trumpeter Norbert Susemihl and Australian singer Lee Gunness.
An outfit with the unlikely name The Band Who Knew Too Much
is from Australia and delights the crowd with a couple of original novelty numbers. Doohackedoodle's Jazzband
is composed of musicians from both Holland and Germany. Their rendition of Nick la Rocca's "Fidgety Feet" is firmly in the spirit of the Original Dixieland "Jass" Band but decidedly up to date. Very nice!
Denmark's Vestre Jazzvaerk
pumps out a couple of energetic tunes, one of which features an infectious Danish vocal by Lack Lauwersen.
The band led by Jean Baptiste and Olivier Franc
will turn some heads. The swinging little outfit offers a blend of traditional jazz, boogie-woogie and rock & roll. "Gille's Boogie" is typical of the band's style and they follow up with a lovely reading of Sidney Bechet's "Georgia Cabin" featuring Olivier Franc on soprano saxophone and Bechet's only son, Daniel Bechet on drums. This band is impressive and versatile.
Sweden's Second Line Jazzband
is one of the older bands and was certainly one of the first revival bands to use an internet website in about 1995. The Second Line musicians churn out a fine version of "For Once In My Life" and a novel treatment of the old standard "Ice Cream."
Nick La Rocca's compositions return to the forefront when Spar To 1+1
takes the stage. Led by baritone saxophonist Soren Nielsen, the unusual sextet delivers a seven-minute version of "Tiger Rag" featuring two clarinets. Exciting! Neander's Jazzband
romps along with their authentic treatment of the New Orleans perennial "Eh La Bas" featuring a fine vocal by leader Per Neander. They follow up with a Chuck Berry item "Roll Over Beethoven" to get the audience moving. As if challenged by Neander's band, the Jazz Five
end the CD with Berry's "You Never Can Tell." The young band has a sense of humor too. The Jazz Five is actually a seven piece combo with a delightful fresh attack. The crowd must have been dancing in the aisles. Hot! The Best Of Femo 2004
is available by email from Jorgen Vad.
Price is 100 Danish Kronner or about $16.00 US plus postage.