Elektrojazz ‘New York Tribute’ CD/DIG (Giant Sheep) 4/5

Not at all what it may first seem, this is a Danish band, now Harlem based and with American collaboration and input, who have come up with a pictorial twenty-first century fresco of contemporary life in the Big Apple. Composer and trombonist, Anders Larson, would appear to be the band’s leader, and the all-Scandinavian quartet form the nucleus of the band with additional guest vocals supplied by Cary Goldberg and Michael Stephenson (who also doubles up on saxophone and writes the lyrics).

The sound is a lovely mixture of acoustic jazz with electric piano and beat-box, but the name of Elektrojazz is actually misleading and one that the band would do well to drop if they wish to attract the audience that would be interested in their music. They excel on the Fender-led ‘East Village Blues’, which is one of the strongest pieces this writer has heard this year and gives off the jazziest of vibes on the repetitive riff. A jam session groove permeates, ‘Midtown Madness’, with Fender once again in the ascendency. Another real favourite is the soulful beat ballad of ‘Imaginary Love’, with some lovely trombone accompaniment from the leader, a laid back Headhunters’ type rhythm and vocals that recall early Bobby McFerrin. One final gripe, and it is a minor one. The inner sleeve writing is difficult to decipher because of the background photos. That aside, this is a group with a very promising future and the support of the Danish Arts Foundation is worth every penny, or make that every euro. A highly creative concept of soaking up all the everyday noises of the city of New York and Elektrojazz have definitely succeeded in communicating that hustle and bustle milieu. How about giving themselves a New York influenced rename?

Tim Stenhouse