Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (1946-2005), bassist

Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (1946-2005), bassist

noten bass sheet music Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen

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Bill Evans – Beautiful Love (Jazz Piano Workshop Berlin 1965), with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Alan Dawson

Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, NHØP

After studying piano for six years, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (May 27, 1946, Osted, Denmark – April 19, 2005, Ishøj Municipality, Denmark), chose to play bass influenced by a famous classical instrumentalist. His improvement was so rapid that at the age of fourteen he was already playing with the best jazz groups in his country.

In 1960 he joined a professional jazz quintet and the following year, in January 1961, he recorded his first album with a trio that included pianist, Bent Axen. His fame in Denmark increased significantly and this gave him the opportunity to play between 1962 and 1969 in the formation of the ‘Danish Radio Orchestra’, the public radio of Denmark, a job that he expanded when in 1964, he was invited to be part of the big band. of said institution.

In 1962, a year before joining pianist Kenny Drew’s trio, he had the opportunity to perform at the Café Montmartre in Copenhagen with the piano master, Bud Powell, who confessed himself admired by the quality of that Danish double bassist. With Powell, Pedersen had the opportunity to record his first album of international relevance. That meeting with Powell opened the doors of jazz throughout Europe and his presentation in subsequent years at the most important European jazz festivals such as Montreux, Nice, or Molde.

In the 1970s his professional career was definitively consolidated when he met Dexter Gordon, based in Copenhagen, and with whom he became so close that for Dexter, Pedersen was one of his essential musicians, recording thirteen albums together. .

In 1964, Ørsted Pedersen was elected best Danish jazz musician of the year, just at the time in which he played with the multi-instrumentalist, Roland Kirk. In 1965 he had the opportunity to tour Europe with the tenor sax master, Sonny Rollins, and with the pianist’s trio, Bill Evans. In 1968, a survey among critics specialized in jazz by the North American magazine, ‘Down Beat’ ranked him as the best European jazz double bassist.

In 1969 he made a new European tour and that same year he met the pianist, Oscar Peterson, a key musician in Pedersen’s career and with whom he spent about five years. With Peterson, Pedersen would establish himself as one of the great jazz bassists in the world and during the 1970s, his work with the greatest jazz bassists multiplied. For two consecutive years, Jazz Forum magazine chose him as the best European jazz bassist and in 1977, he obtained the same worldwide consideration when he was chosen by Melody Maker magazine.

His discography is very extensive as a sideman of other musicians, highlighting his albums with saxophonist Dexter Gordon, with Oscar Peterson, with a magnificent live performance at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1979 with Ella Fitzgerald; with Stephane Grapelli, with guitarist Joe Pass; with alto sax player Jackie McLean; with our admired Tete Montoliu, especially on the album recorded for Stepplechase in 1994: «Catalonian Fire»; with Anthony Braxton or with Philip Catherine.

The albums under his name have almost all been for the select Danish label: ‘Stepplechase’, beginning in 1975 with the album: ‘Jaywalkin’ and ending in 1998 for the same label with a live performance at the Montmartre café in the Danish capital. Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen’s last visit to Spain was on March 4, 2004 at a concert at the Kurssal in San Sebastián, together with the alto saxophonist, Phil Woods. Pedersen was one of the great creators of modern jazz in Europe and his mastery was recognized by the most demanding musicians.