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Album Review

Mention Copenhagen to an American jazz musician who has spent time there, and you are likely to hear a dissertation on the abundance of jazz resources that the Danish city has to offer. Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz actually lived there, and the list of American improvisers who have recorded in Copenhagen is long and impressive. One Danish musician who has played with his share of American artists is veteran drummer Alex Riel who has backed such heavyweights as Getz, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, and Wayne Shorter. Recorded during a visit to New York in 1999, Rielatin' finds Riel leading a team that includes a fellow Dane (bassist Chris Minh Doky) as well as American players Michael Brecker (tenor sax), Jerry Bergonzi (tenor sax), Mike Stern (electric guitar), and Kenny Werner (acoustic piano). Although some of Stern's guitar solos are rock influenced, Rielatin' is essentially a straight-ahead hard bop/post-bop date rather than a fusion date. Nothing terribly surprising occurs, but all of the improvisers are in good form on a hard-swinging CD that ranges from various Bergonzi originals to Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," Ben Webster's "Did You Call Her Today," and the standard "I Fall in Love Too Easily." Brecker really tears into John Coltrane's "Bessie's Blues," which lasts 11 minutes and is the longest track. Rielatin' falls short of essential, but it's a likable disc that never fails to swing.


Born: 13 September 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '90s, '00s

b. Alex Poul Riel, 13 September 1940, Copenhagen, Denmark. After drum lessons in his teens, Riel started playing with local trad jazz bands in the 50s. He soon moved on to modern jazz and became the house drummer at the Montmatre Jazzhus, Copenhagen (1963-65). He spent a short time at the Berklee College Of Music in 1966. Although he was playing with Danish Radiojazzgruppen (1965-68), he had become very committed to free jazz and worked with saxophonists John Tchicai and Archie Shepp and bass player...
Full bio
Riel Atin', Alex Riel
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  • Partial Album
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 2000

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