Jensen & Bugge - Hav Og Land

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Jensen & Bugge
Hav Og Land
GO' Danish Folk Music (

Everyone experiences times when life gets heavy, and for many of us music is a remarkable tonic. Over the past few months, when my soul has needed restoration I've been turning to the new CD from Jensen & Bugge. This collection, Hav Og Land, consists primarily of traditional Danish dance tunes, and I can't help but smile when I put on this record.

Both Jensen and Bugge are well-connected in Nordic music circles and are involved in multiple ensembles. I first heard accordionist Mette Kathrine Jensen in the trio Zenobia, and my first exposure to fiddler Kristian Bugge was through his work with Baltic Crossing.

Jensen and Bugge have been playing together for ten years. They make a great duo, and that pairing is well demonstrated here, particularly on the "Peder P°hls Hopsa." They also play with a full band consisting of the always impressive guitarist Morten Alfred H°irup, clarinetist Bjarke Kolerus, and Thomas Hedegaard on bass. The band is stellar, and the arrangements sparkle.

I'd been listening to the record often and thoroughly enjoying it before I started listening with my reviewer ears. I was surprised to realize how many of these dances are in minor keys. As happy and upbeat as these songs made me feel, I hadn't stopped to register that they were often done without using major scales or modes. I also became even more deeply appreciative of the caliber of musicians in this band. They make the difficult phrases sound deceptively simple. And the way they work together through arrangements and interplay kept making my jaw drop. The technique, taste, and musicality of these players is extraordinary, almost magical.

Regardless of whether I listen to Jensen & Bugge purely for the emotion and joy they exude or I use my analytical skills to decipher how this music is put together, I am completely satisfied on every level. This is a strong contender for my best album of 2011 and I know I'll be enjoying it for many years beyond. - Greg Harness

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CD available from cdRoots

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CD available from cdRoots

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