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Still Life
(2020 - Dacapo Records - Germany)

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 Prolific Danish composer and keyboardist (among many other instruments) formerly known for co-founding (with his brother Thomas Koppel) the early psychedelic avant-garde band Savage Rose, and being in the trio Bazaar for over 3 decades, has released brilliant solo albums and explored the many facets of jazz, folk, world, and classical. With this project, he teams up with musical associate Henrik Dam Thomsen, a solo cellist in The Danish National Symphony Orchestra. One might think things would be limited with just organ and cello as main foundation but all the elements of suspense, eerie atmosphere, good times, beauty, just enough surprise, and even a sly dose of humor when needed.

While the framework of the music are written compositions by Koppel, the rest is kept open for interpretation and allows both artists to improvise freely. This is what keeps the music fresh and with those aforementioned qualities. It is a successful recipe Koppel has used multiple times in his career. If you wish to know something particular about this recording, it does feature the original Hammond organ from 1970 that was bought for Anders by his father, and a cello from 1680 owned by Thomsen. Going through a bundle of styles to create the 15 pieces of musical imagery, the listener gets a carousel of impressions and brain food.

If you wonder about the title, it ably refers to the time of night. One can instantly hear the almost film noir flavor in some tunes, although not at all in total. The variety of climate depends on the song's subject matter. Just understand it all is intended to be situations in the evening to late hour times. Koppel has said before that he has never written in terms of genre. Since loving his early work and deeming his masterful solo (which was issued on CD some years back) album 'Aftenlandet & Regnbuefuglen' (1977) one of my all time favorite recording in the "extraordinarily unique" category, I have followed his output. He ranks as one of my most admired artists period! Thomsen already said their work as a duo will continue so we do have more music to look forward to. I will be sure to delve into more of Henrik's releases as well. I for one will be ready for the next collaboration with these two superb creators. RECOMMENDED.

 ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson  12 - 20 - 2020

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