Alex Riel was born September 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has since the sixties remained firmly established as one of the most significant and influential jazz drummers in Europe. His career began in the early sixties where he was the house drummer at the legendary jazz club Montmartre in Copenhagen. The rhythm section also included bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and alternately pianists Tete Montuliu and Kenny Drew. During this time Alex Riel got to accompany a vast number of visiting international stars as Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Dorham, Don Byas, Donald Byrd, Yusef Lateef and many more.
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Riel, the Great Dane of European jazz drummers, joins the realm of the New York neo-bop crowd for his fourth disc as a leader. Tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, bassist Eddie Gomez, and either guitarist Mike Stern or pianist Niels Lan Doky, are more than equal partners, while Michael Brecker joins Gonz on the front line for two tracks. Riel is an exceptional timekeeper and unique in that he is able to create improvisations within a steady rhythmic framework that is intense and frenetic. [... ] It's clear these are experts in their field, and Riel is comfortably in their league