Listen To The Bass Player: Part 2, NHØP

Let us pursue the music appreciation method outlined in Part 1 (see the following exhibit). The theory is that concentrating on the bass lines of superior players can sharpen your perception of the music. Today’s lesson is from another great bassist. It’s Niels Henning Ørsted-Pedersen in 1971 at the Café Monmartre in Copenhagen. Niels Jørgen Steen is the pianist, Jørn Elniff the drummer, Finn Ziegler the violinist.
NHØP was 25 years old. He had already established himself as the bassist most in demand by American musicians visiting Europe. Concentrate on his notes and you will be rewarded. Shortly after the video begins, Ben Webster and Charlie Shavers, the co-leaders of the band, discuss the premise.

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Comments

  1. says

    NHØP was one the finest,if often underrated bassists. His work with Oscar by itself, is justification enough It’s not well-known that when Bill Evans first worked with him in Europe in 1964-65, he asked him, rather aggressively, I am told, to join the trio (as Oscar Peterson had as well). But Ørsted-Pedersen, of course, had no wish to leave Denmark. From the limited available video of Bill working with him, it sounds like it would have been an ideal combination.

  2. Larry Kart says

    Usually I like NHOP, but by comparison with the Heath-MJQ clip, he sounds rather obvious to me here, as though he were too much caught up in stating the beat rather than letting it breathe. By contrast (in addition to the Heath-MJQ clip) check out Scott LaFaro on this broadcast with Richie Kamuca, Frank Rosolino, Victor Feldman, and Stan Levey:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gzwXQGvXgc
    (LaFaro was going to be Part 3 of this chain, but Larry’s link does the job. — DR)

  3. Marc Edelman says

    “Usually I like NHOP, but by comparison with the Heath-MJQ clip, he sounds rather obvious to me here, as though he were too much caught up in stating the beat rather than letting it breathe.” Letting it breathe? How about keeping it going? He should be praised for that alone. I think it’s foolish to knock NHØP for his performance here on a dirge-y blues with less than stellar rhythm mates or to compare him unfavorably to LaFaro or Percy playing rehearsed music in top-flight bands. In Percy’s case he is playing with a long-established group and behind Bags, one of the most intensely swinging and rhythmically secure soloists of all time. Circumstances do matter.