Hans Ulrik: Hey, Mambo.

19 August 2002 | 12:00 am | Deb Morrice
Originally Appeared In

Sax Machine.

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The Hans Ulrik Group plays the 4MBS Studio on Thursday.

A 'Great Dane' of Sax who is into melodies, groovin' and movin' sound, will tour the country this month. This brilliant artist Hans Ulrik has also packed a clarinet and a few flutes for his second official tour of Australia and a Brisbane performance debut.

In 1998 he and the Joe Chindamo Trio apparently received standing ovations in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart. This latest visit exposes the audience to his ability to lead a Quintet formation made up of Danish and Australian members. Bassist Ben Robertson and drummer Dave Beck are both from Melbourne and the Denmark talent features Niclas Knudsen on guitar and percussionist Mikkel Hess.

Hans has built a successful career from musical education he received during High School, studies in New York and at Berklee (Boston) the World's largest independent music college, renowned for their exceptional contemporary music programs.

"Over the years I have listened a lot to saxophone giants like Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, as well as younger ones like Jan Garbarek and Michael Brecker. And the last couple of years I have felt a little more associated with the ‘cool’ players - I love Stan Getz, and the fairly unknown wonderful clarinettist Jimmy Giuffre," reveals Hans.

Ulrik confesses that the recording aspect of his career didn't seem fun till his third album project in 1992, Day After Day. From this point professionally it became obvious to him he had the potential to be a recording artist. A few years later he organised surprising material for the album Strange World. Hans had really embraced 'Nordic Jazz'. He admits, "I was very proud of Strange World, I felt I was not ready for another CD till '98."

During 1998 Ulrik worked on Danske Sange with pianist Thomas Clausen. The following year Hans chose to move away from the 'Nordic Jazz' sound and deliver latin beats and grooves in the project Jazz & Mambo. His creative efforts resulted in a Danish Grammy and of course plenty of recognition.

By 2000 an opportunity to record with John Scofield and Peter Erskine surfaced. The previous year Hans was leader of The Jazzpar Combo so he had already made a connection with these artists before hitting the studio to create Short Cuts.

Jazz & Latin Beats is Hans Ulrik's latest mix and also the discerning person will realise it's a follow on project as Hans explains: "This one should be actually entitled Jazz & Mambo Volume 2. That's what it is, but with a difference. There are some of my own compositions and I play a lot of clarinet (an instrument Hans has only picked up in the last few years) on the album."

Hans excels as a leader! If he is not realising a new music dream with his own jazz unit/s or receiving a jazz award he keeps good company and studio time with artists like: Marilyn Mazur, Gary Peacock, Mino Cinelu, Adam Nussbaum, Niels Lan Doky and the Danish Radio Orchestra. The 'Tenor Lion' with so many creative abilities is a roaring success.