Swinging In Paradise




Pianist and conductor Niels Jørgen Steen – a Danish jazz institution – is now immortalized on ‘Swinging In Paradise’, a new album from Storyville Records featuring vocalist Bobo Moreno and the ever so swinging Monday Night Big Band.

In the Danish jazz world, Niels Jørgen Steen is the personification of an institution. As pianist, bandleader and arranger he has worked with all the giants like Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Shavers and Lockjaw. He has been a stand-in for Count Basie on a tour of Italy and has fathered his own bands like Saxmaniacs and the A-Team, but his big baby these days is Monday Night Big Band, now over 20 years old and beautifully immortalized on this live album.

“If we play Singin’ in the Rain”, says Steen, “the audience already knows the tune, so we can ‘play with it´ and take the listener out of their comfort zone, but we always bring it home to the melody. Sure, the arrangements can be difficult, but the musicians love playing something good. It gives a special sense of fulfillment.”

While the line-up has changed over the years, some have been in MNBB since the beginning. These include Roger Berg, Peter Marott, Vincent Nilsson and Jan Harbeck, all of whom smile as they reminisce about how this unique, continuously morphing entity of collegiality, competition, enthusiasm, stress and satisfaction was the catalyst for their careers. It’s the magical, fat sound of a real big band, of a real Danish institution that swings its ass off. Brace yourself …