We, Robots is the world’s first piece written for big band and robot. Composed by Signe Bisgaard and Morten Riis, We, Robots explores how artificial intelligence, robotics technology, and spirited jazz musicians can play together in a unique concert installation.
The robot Shimon is one of the world’s most advanced music robots. It plays the marimba and is known for its refined artificial and musical intelligence and its ability to improvise, think creatively, listen, and interact musically with its surroundings. Shimon was developed by Robotic Musicianship at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is one of the most advanced robots in the world. This was the first time Shimon visited Denmark and performed as soloist in a newly written work for big band and robot.
The Tall Ships Races
The Tall Ships Races is the world’s largest annual recurring race for training ships. Ships in the size 30 to 300 feet and with crews from approximately 30 different nation, participates in the event each year. For The Tall Ships Races 2019, the audience could look forward to no less than seven concerts from Aarhus Jazz Orchestra with an abundance of famous soloists performing.
There was children’s jazz, freestyle rap, gospel, and pop on the program when Aarhus Jazz Orchestra took the big stage at the port of Aarhus. Thursday, August 1st the orchestra joined Sigurd Barrett for a catchy children’s concert and then went on to perform with Pede B in a mash-up of big band and freestyle rap. On Friday, August 2nd, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra first performed with the incredible Danish jazz musician and singer Mads Mathias, followed by the well-established and talented Søs Fenger. On Saturday, August 3rd, there were a total of three concerts on the program, first an uplifting gospel concert with Marie Carmen Koppel and Aarhus Gospel Voices, second a blues concert with singer Mike Andersen, and finally a blast of a concert with Erann DD, who was joined by Marie Carmen Koppel and Mike Andersen, for a surprise ending for the audience.
Ridehuset Swinger 2019:
Cuban Big Band Nights
For the 30th consecutive year, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra hosted Ridehuset Swinger at Aarhus Jazz Festival. The anniversary was celebrated with an explosive performance of Cuban Big Band Nights. The audiences were able to imagine the Caribbean skies thanks to Cuban drum virtuoso Dafnis Prieto, who composed the music and even performed as soloist. Joining the stage were Eliel Lazo (percussion) and Yasser Pino (Bass).
For several years now, the orchestra has gone on musical journeys during Ridehuset Swinger, to Brazil, South Africa, Spain, and even on a time travel through the history of jazz - and this year the orchestra traveled to Cuba. The three soloists all grew up in Havana and each have made their own unique mark on the latin-jazz genre. This year they met for the first time performing four exuberant concerts in Ridehuset. The music was written by drum virtuoso Dafnis Prieto and originally came from the album ‘Back to the Sunset‘, which, in 2018, was awarded a Grammy in the category ‘Best Latin Jazz Album‘.
Jakob Buchanan & Helge Norbakken:
Songs To The Green Land
Songs To The Green Land is a new piece for choir and jazz orchestra composed by Helge Norbakken (NO) and Jakob Buchanan (DK). The piece is a musical portrayal of the longing, deprivation, and dreams of the Greenlandic people, inspired by a series of personal conversation with Greenlanders in Denmark and Greenland, about childhood, nature, family, and friends, amongst other things.
Along with two Greenlandic choirs Aningaaq and Avaat, as well as, the soloists Simon Toldam (keyboard) and Jonas Westergaard (bass), Aarhus Jazz Orchestra performed this newly composed piece in Copenhagen and Aarhus with Carsten Seyer-Hansen as conductor. The two composers even participated in the perfomance on flugelhorn and percussion. For the project, Basil Hogios created a series of evocative visuals that encapsulates the soul and landscape of the Greenlandic people and made the concert an experience for all senses. Prior to the concert, a pre-concert talk was arranged with Helge Norbakken and archivist Lene Halskov.
See the trailer for the project here
Christmas concert with Skt. Clemens Drengekor and Aarhus Jazz Orchestra
True to tradition Aarhus Jazz Orchestra performed a Christmas Concert in Aarhus Cathedral, though this time taking a break from the Christmas classics by performing a newly composed work by the orchestra’s own saxophonist, Cesar Joaniquet, titled Sonum Cathadralis.
The Christmas spirit was high when Aarhus Jazz Orchestra along with Skt. Clemens Drengekor: Clemens Knejterne sang with the award-winning singer Indra Rios-Moor. Sonum Cathadralis is inspired Christmas songs from Cesar Joaniquet’s Catalan homeland and is specifically written to be performed in Aarhus Cathedral. During the concert the musicians embarked on a journey exploring the cathedral’s arches to examine the melodic depths of the church room. The rest of the concert featured well-known seasonal tunes, beautifully performed by a soloist and the choir. This magnificent concert was conducted by choir leader Carsten Seyer-Hansen.
Pede B & Aarhus Jazz Orchestra
One of the best rappers in the nation merged with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra in an artistic collaboration. Teater Bremen in Copenhagen was completely sold out when the big band and Pede B took the stage, and Aarhus Jazz Orchestra reinterpreted the rapper’s huge back catalog while the wordsmith did what he does best; freestyling over the elegant rhythms.
Under the direction of conductor Nikolai Bøgelund, 18 professional jazz musicians interpreted and remixed one of largest back catalogs in Danish rap music. A marvelous meeting, because one thing the critics agree is when it comes to Pede B is that he is performes some of the best concerts in the country. Whether it is a release concert with several acts at Pumpehuset, a packed arena at Roskilde Festival or at the P3 Tent at Smukfest, the energy, the audience contact, and level of ambition is always impeccable. Besides the old tracks, there was also time for freestyling where the band strapped their instruments over their shoulders and marched through the pumping hall.
Ridehuset Swinger 2018:
Scandinavian Big Band Nights
The traditional Ridehuset Swinger, as part of Aarhus Jazz Festival, has for many years explored exotic jazz fusions. In 2018, however, the bigband returned to the harmonic and compelling tunes of Scandinavian, with the music consisting of some of the greatest Scandinavian jazz classics of all time. Conductor: Jesper Riis (DK). Soloists: Mimi Terris (SE), Mads Mathias (DK) & Live Foyn Friis (NO).
These evening concerts presented an abundance of wellknown and beloved Scandinavian classics, in addition to a variety of pieces from the soloists’ own repertoires in brand new, big band arrangements. Ridehuset Swinger’s four concert days were beautifully accompanied by youth jazz jams, the premiere of Jan Lynggaard Sørensen’s piece Surroundings for three international youth big bands, a food marked, and daytime concerts featuring some of Denmark’s greatest jazz orchestras and artists.
Danse Macabre combines and unites music, movies, pictures, light, and animations in a lively interpretation of Death, as it was portrayed in art during the era of La Belle Epoque. By Signe Bisgaard and Laura Ratschau with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra.
Alongside electronic musician Bjørn Svin, cellist Ida Nørholm, the award-winning author and historian Søren Hein Rasmussen, and an all-embracing digital scenography, Danse Macabre sets new standards for artistic communication of knowledge and history. Newly composed music and breathtaking visuals show the playful, and almost humoristic, reflection of Death in art history and takes the audience on a peculiar and compelling dance with Death. Watch the video from the concert here.
,,In its duration of one hour, Danse Macabre has stolen my attention. … If this was a dance of the dead, then let it – the dance and Death – last forever.'' VINK Aarhus
Sketches of Barcelona
❤️❤️❤️❤️ in Politiken
In the middle of the twirling streets and evocative neighborhoods of Barcelona, music grows in the most diverse expressions. In Sketches of Barcelona, two of the most magnificent jazz musicians of Barcelona, Cesar Joaniquet and Jorge Rossy, met, accompanied by Aarhus Jazz Orchestra – a musical meeting between two generations of musicians from the expressive Catalan jazz scene.
In Denmark, Spanish multi-instrumentalist Jorge Rossy is mainly known for his work as the drummer in Brad Mehldau Trio. In Sketches of Barcelona the drums were traded in for the vibraphone, as he joined Cesar Joaniquet who is a saxophonist in Aarhus Jazz Orchestra. Cesar Joaniquet is an enormously interesting young musician with great artistic potential and beautiful temperamental and equilibristic expression – an artist we will hear much more from in the years to come.
Watch the video from Sketches of Barcelona here.
The award-winning composer Jakob Buchanan lived in an apartment in the old block 23 in Rosenhøj, Aarhus during his early childhood. In this piece, he returns to his childhood home and invites voices from the area to become part of the piece. It is a story about roots and a child’s imaginary worlds, about everyday life, and dreams behind the walls in the large apartment buildings.
Very different worlds meet in On Rosenhill, which unites big band music, video art, and voices of Rosenhøj into one piece that all together creates a tremendous insight into the universe of the tenements. On Rosenhill was performed in collaboration with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra in September 2017, but an excerpt of the piece had been previously performed at the official opening of Aarhus 2017 – European Capital of Culture in January 2017. Watch the video from the opening parade here.
Great scientific thoughts and issues can be communicated in a variety of ways! In this project, five Aarhus based ensembles collaborated to present new music, which by encouraging preoccupation and thoughtfulness sought to illuminate some of the great questions of science.
Solar Walk is a big band symphony and visual performance about the solar system and conquest of space. Captivating animations, live jazz music, and compelling poetry tell the story of our solar system and our role in it as humans. It is an artistic, and fantastic journey into the science of nature, and the universe. Solar Walk is a new musical work created by Niels Marthinsen and Susi Hyldgaard, with Hyldgaard on vocal, along with a brand-new animation movie by the award-winning animation movie maker Réka Bucsi. Watch the trailer for Solar Walk here.
Solar Walk, as part of the project ‘Origins’, was presented in collaboration with Viborg Kommune and The Animation Workshop in Viborg, and was sponsored by Aarhus Kommune, Statens Kunstfond and Fonden Aarhus 2017.
Furhtermore, the project was performed four additional times at The Animation Workshop in Seuol, South Korea in November of 2019.
Bollywood Beats & Big Band
The Indian raga and the western big band jazz are like night and day if you listen to them separately. But when you combine them in the very same composition the genres melt together to create something entirely new, which sounds exotic yet familiar at the same time.
In this exciting and unique project, the composer Lars Møller along side Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, The Danish Sinfonietta, and two of the leading figures in the classical Indian music Kala Ramnath (violin) and Abhijit Banerjee (tabla), challenged the traditional view on the possibilities and spand of jazz. By combining the traditional, Western big band format with Indian music deeply rooted in tradition, a new space for musical development across cultures and musical understanding is created.
Read more about the project and listen to the music at www.glowofbenares.dk
South African Big Band Nights
Once again, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra opened the doors of Ridehuset in Aarhus, and invited the Aarhus Jazz Festival audience to join the big band for four spectacular days. The theme of this year’s Ridehuset Swinger was South African Big Band Nights, and the concerts combined both extraordinary big band music and great performing arts traditions from South Africa.
Ridehuset Swinger offered South African tunes, wonderful street food, and drinks by Kødbyens Mad & Marked and De Jyske Bryghuse. The event consisted of several concerts and workshops during the day and the main evening attraction with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra featuring the South African vocal group iComplete, dancer Lulu Mlangeni, and the award-winning saxophonist and composer Julian Argüelles. iComplete represent the traditional Isicathamiya style of singing, which originates from the South African Zulus, and its intense sound and polyphony captures the essence of the South African culture.
Watch the video from South African Big Band Night here.
Icelandic, Norwegian, and North American jazz virtuosi transformed Aarhus Jazz Orchestra into an enticing post-rock orchestra, when bass player Skúli Sverrisson, composer Helge Sunde, and drummer Jim Black all joined the orchestra for the Vinterjazz Festival 2017.
The combination of these three exceptional musicians and composers along with the Aarhus based big band created a brand-new and exciting sound, expanding the perception of the classic big band format. This expression looked to the future and gave just as much reminiscence to post-rock as to jazz. Both Skúli Sverrisson (IS), Jim Black (US), and Helge Sunde (NO) have all worked with this modern sound; Nordic melancholy that bedazzles the listener. The concerts consisted of new compositions and arrangements by, and with, the three guests and therefore formed a unique project that challenged the classic big band sound and brought brand-new dimensions to the music.
Combine one of the greatest jazz guitarists with one of the most acknowledged big band conductors, along one of the leading Scandinavian big bands, and you end up with a crisp and tenderly mixed cocktail of luxury jazz of international leagues.
This was the cocktail available for the audience at the Vinterjazz Festival 2016. An excellent collaboration, where Aarhus Jazz Orchestra was visited by one of the absolute greatest jazz guitarists, Kurt Rosenwinkel (US), and the acknowledged big band conductor Geir Lysne (NO). It was an extraordinary fusion of some of the best artists from the international jazz scene who took the stage and led the audience in a mesmerizing musical universe.
The orchestra was on a small concert tour with this project in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
Flamenco Big Band Nights
During Aarhus Jazz Festival 2016, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra under leadership of saxophonist and conductor Perico Sambeat presented a terrific team of the best flamenco musicians in Spain at the time-honored Ridehuset Swinger event.
One of the best examples of the fruitful musical meeting between European and Arabic/Islamic culture is represented by the flamenco tradition. Perico Sambeat created an extraordinary artistic big band project, where jazz and big band combined made a dramatical, expansive musical frame for the expressiveness of the flamenco musicians and dancer.
In 2016, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra cooperated with Kødbyens Mad & Marked for the first time, and invited guests to all sorts of culinary temptations during Ridehuset Swinger.
Watch the video from Flamenco Big Band Nights here.
Brazilian Big Band Nights
Ridehuset Swinger 2015 was all about Latin rhythms and exotic big band interpretations, when the Brazilian drummer Marcio Bahia along side percussionist, composer and, not to forget, singer Joca Perpignan joined Aarhus Jazz Orchestras highly esteemed evening concerts.
The concerts offered a string of classic Brazilian hits arranged for a modern big band – and also music written by the Brazilian guests and the musicians from Aarhus Jazz Orchestra. The music varied from laid-back bossa nova coolness to the most rhythmic dance provoking tunes.
Ridehuset Swinger 2015 – Brazilian Big Band Nights additionally offered plenty of compelling day concerts.
Danish composer and trumpet player Jakob Buchanan created a tribute to the dead – and to life. The modern requiem for choir and orchestra involved Aarhus Cathedral’s Choir, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra and soloists Indra Rios-Moore, Marilyn Mazur, Jakob Bro and Jonas Westergaard.
A requiem is a mass offered for the souls of the deceased in Roman-Catholic tradition, and the intention of Jakob Buchanan was to create a requiem that, besides remembering the deceased, also invites us, the living, to reflect on both life and death.
Buchanan Requiem is specifically written for the involved singers and musicians he knows well. He plays the trumpet in Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, has previously recorded with Aarhus Cathedral’a Choir, has through many years recorded and toured with Jakob Bro, and also produced Indra Rios-Moore’s first album in 2010.
Buchanan Requiem was released on album in 2015 and won two Danish Music Awards Jazz 2016 awards, “Danish Jazz Composer of the Year” and “Danish Album Release of the Year”.
Read more on www.buchananrequiem.com and www.buchanan.dk.
Watch a video from 2012, where the piece had its premiere, here.
ReWrite of Spring
When the piece ReWrite of Spring was published in 2015, praise from both national and international critics came pouring in, and the piece was nominated for two prestigious awards at the Danish Music Awards 2016 in the categories, “Danish Jazz Composer of the Year” and “Danish Album Release of the Year”.
“Rewrite is a milestone in Danish jazz”, was the judgement of the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen in 2015 regarding Lars Møller’s ReWrite of Spring, which is a tribute to Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring/Le Sacre du printemps. This was the first large composition by Lars Møller for Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, where he held the title of artistic director from 2012 until 2015.
ReWrite of Spring is composed over the melodies and musical figures of Stravinsky. But even though the piece has its roots in both European and American orchestra tradition, ReWrite of Spring is an independent, artistic statement with innovative and personal big band sound. Or as the soloist David Liebman says: "This has to be some of the most exciting big band music ever—it had me jumping up and down!”
Read more and by the album on www.rewriteofspring.com