Born: July 6, 1963 Primary Instrument: Guitar, electric
After garnering international critical acclaim for his previous ArtistShare albums, Afterburn and Brilliance, guitarist Torben Waldorff returned with another varied and potent set of songs on American Rock Beauty (ArtistShare).
On American Rock Beauty, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Jon Wikan join leader Waldorff once again. Helping to take the music to a new level of intensity is new man onboard, pianist Jon Cowherd (Brian Blade Fellowship, Rosanne Cash). Together they make what critic Doug Ramsey, writing about their previous CD Afterburn, calls “...expansive jazz of the kind that thrives in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and is spreading around the world. Waldorff, McCaslin and Yahel are leaders among the articulate standard bearers of the movement.”
Critics have praised Waldorff’s previous efforts for their spirit, balance, and the telepathic understanding among band members. These same qualities are all present on American Rock Beauty, as the quintet leads the listener through a sophisticated blend of styles and beats. There is range of musical atmospheres at play on the album, but they all become one in the hands of these dynamic musicians.
Waldorff worked on the new music for the band throughout 2008-2009. “The tunes are all written from a extremely intuitive place,” he says. “I usually conceived them in minutes. It has been as though the songs and the melodies were hanging there right above me all the time ” I just had to get myself to a place where I was ready to just reach out and pull them in. Then they become creations, almost like babies. All are really songs, very vocal in their character. There is a variation of vibes and styles in the songs, but they all draw on the same melodic undercurrent, they are all part of the same work.”
The program is diverse. The group weaves intricate harmonies, goes rock, charges through compelling unison lines, paints haunting melodies, and engages in blistering virtuosic exchanges. “Shark” is a rousing jazz-rock fusion tune, played with fire and intelligence. “Shining Through” has a country-gospel flavor that features a lyrical Waldorff solo that almost seems like one long improvised song. The title track is a heart-rending ballad full of longing and sadness. “Song-Ella” has a gorgeous Brazilian lilt. Other compositions, like “Waves” and “Late” (which features a towering solo from McCaslin) are intricate, tightly constructed pieces that are beyond easy categorization.
..However, there is an underlying unity to the album, despite the variety of material. “There is a theme of beauty, sorrow, and happiness running through the record,” Waldorff continues. “There is a story of real life in here”a print or an image of human reality and truth. Born in Denmark, Torben Waldorff attended Berklee College of Music studying with Herb Pomeroy and Charlie Banacos and gigging the Boston clubs.
After signing with ArtistShare Torben released his third CD, Brilliance, featuring Berklee classmate Donny McCaslin, along with Jon Wikan, and Matt Clohesy. In 2008 Afterburn (ArtistShare) Torben’s second on ArtistShare was released adding Sam Yahel on keyboards to the band with McCaslin, Wikan, and Clohesy. This CD gained a new level of international critic acclaim and lifted Torben’s music well above the radar.
He has toured throughout Europe and North America and performed with Sam Newsome, Ingrid Jensen Ben Perowsky, Dave Berkman, and Gary Thomas, among many others. Recent performances include Earshot Jazzfestival, Seattle, the JazzBaltica Festival, Germany, Aarhus InteRnational JazzFestival and Copenhagen JazzFestival, Denmark.
“Music has a way of making everything beautiful,” Waldorff says. “Music can express feelings that come from any range of positive or negative within a human. Even a very difficult emotional condition expressed through music will have a beauty to it.”
Torben Waldorff’s new “American Rock Beauty” is a compelling celebration of the power of music to transform the human experience into beauty.
Never overplaying, Waldorff seems to tease the maximum amount of emotion from every note he plays.- Dr. Matt Warnock, MODERN GUITARIST
“The dialog between Waldorff and McCaslin is the main attraction on this recording (Afterburn), with many rich moments featuring the two in near perfect alliance.” -Mitch Myers, DOWNBEAT
Torben Waldorff may have composed one of the best albums I’ve heard so far in 2010. -Paul Pelon IV, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION
It is a marvelous piece of music… -music that is diverse, rich in detail and abiding musicality. -Jerry D'Souza, allaboutjazz.com
.. paint vivid pictures with music full of great playing and soul. -John Heidt, VINTAGE GUITAR
It's all built brick by brick, always moving forward but never getting ahead of the point, and the end result is so rewarding… - J. Hunter, allaboutjazz.com
A totally sophisticated outing that a populist can enjoy, that this cat is here to stay as a leader is undisputable. - C. Spector, MIDWEST RECORD
With deep empathy, the title song is superb. Its slowed tempo captures a vivid moment in time. -Mark F. Turner, allaboutjazz.com
It's making it come across naturally and uncontrived that is where the big accomplishment lies. --- They let the radiant beauty that is found in American Rock Beauty come to the listener in a intuitive, natural way. - Pico, SOMETHING ELSE! REVIEWS.
Waldorff shows himself to be a virtuoso guitarist with a great sensitivity for image, emotion and expression, all of which take precedence over his technique. His writing eschews pomp and circumstance, veering toward simplicity and melody over musical devices.- Raul d'Gama Rose, allaboutjazz.com
American Rock Beauty
Shark; Shining Through; Waves; American Rock Beauty; Late; Lama; Song-Ella; Scape
Personnel: Torben Waldorff-guitar/composer; Donny McCaslin- tenorsaxophone; Jon Cowherd-keys; Matt Clohesy-bass; Jon Wikan-drums
Daze; JWS; Espresso Crescent; Choro Dançado(Maria Schneider); Heimat; Eel Thye Deeflat; Skyliner; Man In The Black Hat(Jon WIkan)
Personnel: Torben Waldorff-guitar/composer; Donny McCaslin- tenorsaxophone; Sam Yahel-keys; Matt Clohesy-bass; Jon Wikan-drums
Alice; Jurotrash; Astro; Seen From Above(Donny McCaslin); Jeep
Personnel: Torben Waldorff-guitar/composer; Donny McCaslin- tenorsaxophone; Matt Clohesy-bass; Jon Wikan-drums
Quintroll; Linedown; Eye Of The Cow; Ellabella; Squealfish; The Table Run; Big West; Sila; The Penguin Affair; Four Guys One Door
Personnel: Torben Waldorff- guitar/composer; Karl-Martin Almqvist- tenorsaxophone; Mattias Svensson-bass; P-A Tollbom-drums
No Bass/Hello World
Fulof; Hello World; Goldi; Femme; Detaille; Mickiday; Deleric; Peach; On This Day
Personnel: Torben Waldorff- guitar/composer; Henrik Frisk- tenorsaxophone/Bassclarinet; Maggi Olin-keys; P-A Tollbom-drums
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