Sahib Shibab and the Danish Radio Jazz Group – Oktav

by | Jul 13, 2008 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Sahib Shibab and the Danish Radio Jazz Group – Oktav OKCD1111, 37:10 ***: 
(Sahib Shibab – bari sax, flute, and cowbell; Palle Bolvig – flute and trumpet; Svend Age Nielsen – tuba; Torolf Molgard – tuba and euphonium; Alex Riel – drums; Bent Nielsen – bari sax, flute, and clarinet)
The last tune on Sahib Shibab and the Danish Radio Jazz Group’s self-titled album is a sweet little ballad called Little French Girl, sung by Shibab. Listening to that song really brought home to me what is right and wrong about the album. What’s right is how natural and melodic all of the arrangements and solos sound; what’s wrong is how boring that naturalness can sometimes seem. The Danish Radio Jazz Group sound best backing a vocalist, their bright, clear tones perfect for highlighting a song’s vocal melody. I could also imagine the group scoring a movie, perhaps a bouncy Howard Hawks romantic comedy full of intrigue and witty repartee.
The two highlights of the album, Mai Ding and the aforementioned Little French Girl, succeed because they step outside the album’s pleasantly symphonic big band sound. Mai Ding begins with a raucous cowbell solo by Shibab that sounds like he’s playing a set of silverware. From the solo, the band shifts into a 3/4 time signature that grooves with the beat of the cowbell. A few more strange choices like that and the album could have been a lost treasure.
There’s a lot to like about Shibab and DRJ group, but not a lot to love. For those looking for gorgeous background music, the album won’t disappoint. But closer listening just doesn’t reveal enough substance to merit a glowing recommendation.
TrackList: Di-Da, Dance of the Fakowees, Not Yet, Tenth Lament, Mai Ding, Harvey’s Tune, No Time for Cries, The Crosseyed Cat, Little French Girl.
– Daniel Krow

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