Archive for jazz

China in her Hand — Sinne Eeg

Posted in boom boom magazine, danish music scene, jazz, sinne eeg with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2009 by boomboommag

Jazz has gone from lobby to hobby in China, which is good news for songstress Sinne Eeg. Asia has  served as her springboard to the rest of the world.

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Sinne Eeg has taken both Danish and international jazz audiences by storm in recent years. Whether singing her own songs or interpreting classics, she has been widely praised for her soft, elegant phrasing with just a hint of danger.

Early on in her career, Eeg realized that if she was ever going to get anywhere she’d have to make it happen herself. “You have to take it from the bottom up,” says Eeg. “You get nothing from sitting and waiting for Blue Note Records to call, or waiting to be asked to plays tadium gigs. I’ve learned that you have to take the less lucrative jobs first if you want to forge the right contacts. I paid for my first recordings myself and did most of the practical work associated with the releases. I made sure that jazz clubs and the media knew all about my music by making lots of phone calls and sending lots of e-mails.  It has been a long, slow process to reach the stage I’m at now. It takes patience.”

Big in Japan
Eeg’s journey began back in 2003 with the release of her self-titled debut album, which was to take her, somewhat by chance, to Japan  and China. She found herself in Japan as the conductor of an amateur  choir, which enabled her to meet new people and led to a tour of the country with the Martin Schack Trio. Pianist Martin Schack’s brother was living in Shanghai at the time, which opened the gateway to China. “We punted my CD around various clubs in Shanghai,” she recalls. “One owner wanted to hire us  for three months. That was a bit unusual, but of course we said yes. It was in Shanghai’s oldest jazz club, which is owned by a famous Chinese actor who is also a jazz enthusiast. It was a great job.”

Wild response

Eeg has learned that there are big  differences between Japanese and Chinese jazz audiences. “The Japanese have a long tradition of being into jazz and listening to the music in clubs,” she says. “The first time I played a gig there, I was a bit taken aback by the enthusiastic response. The audiences are definitely not as shy and polite as you might think. They holler and join in, and a lot of them have an almost nerdy interest in Scandinavian jazz. Jazz is a bit more of a recent phenomenon in China, but a lot has changed since our first visit. A few years ago, jazz was mainly confined to expensive hotel lobbies –  s little more than background music. Now, you can tell that a lot of Chinese listeners have acquired a  deeper interest in the music and its artistic dimensions, which is nice.”

Eeg’s music is also starting to win over audiences beyond China, Japan and her home country. Sweden, Norway and Germany are showing interest, and her most recent Danish-language album – “Kun en drøm” (“Only a Dream”) – has just been reissued in English as “Remembering You”. Curiously enough, she first met the album’s Danish producer, Chris Minh Doky, in Tokyo. “I often meet Danish colleagues abroad, which says something about the impression that Danish jazz has made,” Eeg explains. “I met Chris Minh Doky via Diana Krall’s manager Mary-Ann Topper, who had heard us play a club in Tokyo. Later, she met Chris, who was also touring Japan, and encouraged him to go to one of my gigs. He did  so, and a few months later we were recording “Kun en drøm” together, which includes interpretations  of old Danish film and stage classics.”

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Made in Europe — Caroline Henderson

Posted in boom boom magazine, caroline henderson, danish music scene, midem - cannes with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by boomboommag

From jazz to trip-hop and back again. Caroline Henderson is a smooth operator across a broad spectrum of genres.

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Jazz singer, pop beauty, actor, TV presenter and much more – Caroline Henderson has been nothing if not versatile since she started singing in jazz bands as a teenager. In 1989, she made it big in Denmark as the alluring frontwoman in the pop group Ray Dee Ohh, and then broke through again in 1995 with the seductive and genrebending album “Cinemataztic”, whose trip-hop finesse was a hit with both music fans and critics. After a brief attempt as a disco queen, Henderson has once again returned to jazz.

Her most recent album “No. 8” was lauded by critics – and even though jazz albums seldom make the charts in Denmark, this one climbed even higher than the number of its title. It has since gone gold. The impeccable “No. 8” also helped to cement Henderson’s position as an international jazz diva who performs all over the world. Surprises in store

Surprises in store
“I never take anything for granted, but my last four jazz albums have all been extremely well received and sold really well, both in Denmark and abroad. I do have to focus a lot on particular countries though. Right now it’s Germany, France and Scandinavia,” says Henderson. She also finds that life on the road sometimes brings its surprises. “My records have been released in 10–15 countries, and from time to time I find out that audiences in certain places are far more enthusiastic about my music than I xpected. For example, it was fun in Thailand last year when I discovered that I was the main attraction at a festival for 25,000 people. But things like that don’t happen overnight. Success is usually the result of a lot of hard work.”
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The well-travelled, cosmopolitan singer doesn’t think her audiences vary that much around the world. Actually, I think the differences are surprisingly small considering the geographic distances. Whether it’s Japan, Norway, a village community centre in the Danish provinces or a sweaty nightclub in Paris, people are far less different that you might think.”

More drama
Henderson is well known as an actor in Spain for her role in the film “Tuya siempre”, which won three prizes at the Malaga Film Festival. In Denmark she has appeared in films and on stage and hosted a series of jazz programmes on TV. She believes that it’s all about thinking creatively in order to get your style out there, something Danish jazz musicians have traditionally been very good at. “All musicians – irrespective of genre – dream of an international career, and it’s great if you can expand your horizons. The live scene is in the best of health right now, probably more so than ever. You have to fight for it.

Text: Anders Houmøller Thomsen
Photography: Stephen Freiheit

MB