The double bass came a long way in jazz between the 1930s and the 1960s, from plodding marker of the beat and the chord change to fully-fledged countermelodic, and sometimes even frontline instrument. The career of the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, who has died aged 58, was a product of that evolution and a significant contribution to it. In jazz circles, he was usually referred to simply as NHOP. He was a bass virtuoso, who made his unwieldy instrument sound almost impossibly agile. Like a finger-style guitarist, he could pluck the heavy strings with all four fingers of his right hand, where most bassists relied on repeated leverage from one finger, or two at the most.