Duke Jordan Trio – Flight to Denmark {SteepleChase}

Review by Michael G. Nastos (allmusic.com)

Upon Duke Jordan’s initial visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by his decision to make the move as an expatriate permanent, he was tempted to stay by playing with some extraordinary Scandinavian rhythm sections. Bassist Mads Vinding, one of many skilled Danish jazz bassists, is here on the date performing in fine style. Drummer Ed Thigpen, who left the U.S. to take up permanent residence in Europe, was an even bigger influence in making Jordan’s decision a good one, and is an equally skillful musical partner on this date. This is an expanded edition from the previous original issue on the Steeplechase label; a Japanese import with several alternate takes. It’s an understated session for the most part, equal parts melancholy and hopeful, as one might expect with the trepidation of leaving home for new, unknown horizons to be discovered in a foreign land. The upbeat songs, as the modal, popping, tom-tom driven “No Problem” (from the movie soundtrack Les Liason Dangereuses) and the famous bop flag-waver “Jordu,” bookend the CD. The bulk of the recording showcases the softer side of Jordan, with takes of the somber ballad “Here’s That Rainy Day,” the slightly brighter “Everything Happens to Me,” and two versions of the polite waltz “Glad I Met Pat,” dedicated to a nine-year-old girl Jordan knew in New York City prior to her being kidnapped. The pianist employs chiming piano chords for “How Deep Is the Ocean?,” is lighthearted in his slight interpretation of the well worn “On Green Dolphin Street,” does two takes on the light, bluesy swinger “If I Did, Would You?,” and ramps up to midtempo the bluesy original “Flight to Denmark,” reflective of the insecurity and consequential optimism that followed his leaving the States. This is Duke Jordan at his most magnificent, with the ever-able Vinding and expert Thigpen playing their professional roles perfectly, producing perhaps the second best effort (next to Flight to Jordan from 13 years hence) from the famed bop pianist. [Originally released in 1973, Flight to Denmark was reissued as an import-only Japanese CD in 2002.]

01 – No Problem
02 – Here’s that Rainy Day
03 – Everything Happens to Me
04 – Glad I Met Pat (take 3)
05 – Glad I Met Pat (take 4)
06 – How Deep is the Ocean?
07 – On Green Dolphin Street
08 – If I Did – Would You? (take 1)
09 – If I Did – Would You? (take 2)
10 – Flight to Denmark
11 – No Problem (take 2)
12 – Jordu (take 1)

Duke Jordan – piano
Mads Vinding – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Recorded November 25 & December 2, 1973 at “Sound Track”, Copenhagen.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork