MA MUSIC STUDIOS (UK)
ALLAN BOTSCHINSKY JAZZ SOLOIST, COMPOSER & PRODUCER
liner notes from his solo album I've Got Another Rhythm by Neville
When one thinks of being born in the right place at the right time for great jazz music, one might pick New York, New Orleans or possibly Paris. But the release of Allan Botschinsky's new album, I'VE GOT ANOTHER RHYTHM highlights the importance of another great jazz capital. In fact, when Botschinsky started his jazz career, it may surprise some jazz aficionados to discover, the place for jazz was Copenhagen.
Allan Botschinsky was born in the Danish capital in 1940 to a family of musicians and artists. Always encouraged by his parents the six year old Allan would be allowed to sit up late into the night listening to traditional jazz on the radio. By the age of eleven, he was learning the trumpet, his sights set on a place in the Tivoli marching band in Copenhagen. But his musical taste matured rapidly and within three years he had acquired a passion for jazz. So at only fourteen years old he enrolled in the Royal Danish Conservatory and within two years had commenced a professional career, playing in a local big band.
His fellow band members welcomed the young trumpeter and introduced him to a whole new area of music. "One day, one of the trombone players in the band gave me a record and said, 'Go home, listen carefully and try to play like this from now on'." It was a Clifford Brown album and Allan was fascinated by his sound and style. Brown was just one of a host of influences upon the eager young musician. Copenhagen had superceded Paris as the centre of jazz in Europe and dozens of great musicians from around the world were either visiting or taking up residence. All the great jazz heroes would gravitate towards Denmark to play, record and meet people of like minds. As one of the bright local players, they would take Allan Botschinsky into their confidence, teaching him licks, inviting the young trumpeter with the easy manner and the pure, soft tone of jam with them, applauding his own extraordinary talent. Still only a teenager, he found himself playing with the finest jazzmen in the world.
"Dexter Gordon influenced us all", he says, "Oscar Pettiford's infectious feeling for swing forced us to play in a much more direct way than I had know before. And when I played with Stan Getz, also a dominating influence in Copenhagen, I was right in the middle of the west coast scene. Quincy Jones, Ben Webster, Kenny Durham, Sahib Shihab and many other Americans also came to my home town."
Within a few years Allan had become a leading light of that vibrant jazz scene. He was a member of the important "Jazz Quintet 60" and at 21 won a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in New York to study trumpet under Cecil Collins. But what really made the stay important were his nightly visits to New York's jazz clubs. "It was there that I found the soul of jazz. I really changed my view of it. It really opened my eyes and ears to what was important about jazz."
On returning to Denmark his star continued to ascend and by the age of 23 he was voted national "Jazz Musician Of The Year". In 1964, Allan Botschinsky became a member of the "Danish Radio Jazz Group". He also played with and occasionally conducted the "Danish Radio Big Band", whose guest conductors included Thad Jones, Oliver Nelson, Stan Kenton, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson and George Russel. He had reached the pinnacle of Danish jazz music and was acclaimed throughout the country.
In the 70's he rejuvenated his interest in classical and avantgarde composition, taking private study under Professor Svend Erik Werner. He had always been a keen composer. "When I started playing trumpet I didn't have any young musical friends. So my father would play piano so that I could improvise. Since he came from a classical tradition and had to play from notes, I was forced to write everything down."
Not even Allan Botschinsky knows how many compositions and arrangements he has written over the years. But many of them have been acclaimed around the world. His prize-winning suite for large orchestra and voice, "Sentiments", was premiered in the "Nordring Radio Festival" in 1983 and the same year he was awarded Denmark's most coveted jazz award, "The Ben Webster Prize". In 1984 his music was celebrated in a special television tribute, "The Music Of Allan Botschinsky", featuring his works for duos, different jazz formations, a string quartet and even a rock band.
As Allan Botschinsky's career progressed, he also began to take a leading role in promoting the cultural contribution that jazz composers made. Jazz has always been a difficult artform from which to make a living, but with many compositions published by the early 80's he was surprised at the low royalty statements he was receiving. He challenged the Danish copyright organisation KODA. Being held in high regard by the entire Danish music fraternity they took his views so seriously that they invited him to join the board. Through his efforts, he significantly improved the lot of non-classical composers in Denmark.
By 1984, Allan Botschinsky had become a very big fish in a small pool. A household name in Denmark, he would be recognised on the street and was a regular face on television. But he had also found enormous respect elsewhere in the world. His regular and acclaimed touring and recording with Peter Herbolzheimer's "Rhythm Combination and Brass" as well as Ali Haurand's "European Jazz Ensemble" and "European Trumpet Summit" featuring Allan, Enrico Rava, Ack van Rooyen and Manfred Schoof, led him to Hamburg, where he set up home and business.
In 1985 he began a partnership with music publisher and producer, Marion Kaempfert, the daughter of the late German bandleader and composer Bert Kaempfert. He and Marion created M.A Music in 1987. The label set out to bring the finest jazz to a new audience and rapidly succeeded. The first releases, FIRST BRASS and DUOLOGUE (an album of duets with his friend Niels-Henning Oersted Pedersen), spread Botschinsky's fame to America. FIRST BRASS in particular featured arrangements, compositions and the production of Botschinsky and received the highest acclaim from critics and colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic. The success led to a string of outstanding albums produced by Botschinsky and Kaempfert, featuring the world's finest jazz musicians and establishing M.A Music as a label which stands for quality in music and sound.
It also carried Botschinsky's name around the world. In 1991, he held masterclasses and performed at the "International Music Festival" in Cascavel, Brazil. In March 1992, he was featured at the "New Zealand International Festival Of The Arts" in Wellington and in July the same year at the "Copenhagen Jazz Festival" in his home town. At the same time he found more and more demand as a teacher, lecturing at the Conservatory in Hilversum, Holland.
In between teaching, producing, performing and composing, Allan Botschinsky has always found time to release his own albums. In 1992, he released LAST SUMMER, a critically acclaimed collection of performances, recorded in New York with his friends, Dave Stryker, George Mraz and Victor Lewis.
1995 sees another addition to the Allan Botschinsky collection, I'VE GOT ANOTHER RHYTHM, with Dave Stryker, Charles Fambrough and Jeff Hirshfield. Botschinsky had formed the brilliant quartet in New York with Stryker. Dave had recommended his friends, Fambrough and Hirshfield, whose pedigrees were unquestionable. It was a combination that reaffirmed the love of Euro-American coalitions that he had developed in the early days in Denmark.
"When I started in Copenhagen I played a lot with American musicians and with LAST SUMMER I wanted to make a quartet recording with a very American influenced style of music. So to record in New York and to use musicians from there gave it the drive I was after. When it came to the 1994 tour, I asked Dave Stryker to suggest some of his friends to work with us. What we were doing on that tour wasn't better than European musicians but it was different. There's something about musicians from New York. There's something about that town that has a very specialised kind of rhythm that I needed for this tour." To that rhythm, Allan added the instrument which had played an important role in his solo work for the last ten years, the fluegelhorn.
Combined with Dave Stryker's smooth and melodic guitar style it gave a wonderful, mellifluous tone to this new Allan Botschinsky Quartet that attracted television appearances and rapt audiences. The tour so inspired Allan that he felt compelled to stop off at his new home in London to record an album of new compositions by himself and the members of the band.
The result demonstrates Botschinsky's uncanny ability to break down the boundaries between music, bringing together the best of European, Latin and New York jazz into one clear, subtle and sensitive performance. I'VE GOT ANOTHER RHYTHM is a vibrant example of what makes Allan Botschinsky one of the finest jazz composers, arrangers and performers. Once again, the warm-natured Dane with the soft tone has produced an album to charm the world.