Portrait: Alex Riel at the original jazz venue, Montmartre

Alex is a significant figure in international jazz. Together with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen he has been one of the most important ambassadors for Danish jazz – The Great Danes as they were called. This year Alex Riel Trio feat. Dado Moroni will be performing at Copenhagen’s premier jazz venue.

Article by The Copenhagen Post. Photo by Gunnar Birk Kristiansen


Alex  Riel and The Great Danes

Alex Riel has played with many of the greatest tenor saxophonists of all time. Now he is one of the legends others mention as a musician they are proud to have played with. A legend that generations of musicians worldwide have listened to and have been inspired by. It is exactly 50 years since Alex Riel played an entire month with Dexter Gordon, Tete Monteliu and NHØP in this room. Jazz’ finest school. Along with the terrific Italian pianist Dado Moroni and super bassist Jesper Lundgaard, Alex Riel will show why he is regarded as one of the most important drummers of all time. Let us pay a tribute to a true master.

Montmartre’s musical director, Christian Brorsen, says that the theme for the venue’s programme this year is a focus on the many great musicians in Copenhagen. “We call it Alex Riel & The Great Danes (Tomas Franck, Jesper Lundgaard, Carsten Dahl, Thomas Fonnesbæk, Henrik Bolberg) meets the New Masters of Jazz (Charenee Wade, Danny Grissett, Dado Moroni, Abel Marcel, Gabor Bolla and Lee Pearson)”, explains Christian.

Christian has participated in the festival for about 30 years or so, and says that he stated to hang out around 1979, and his first gig was in 1983-1984. “The meeting between Danish and foreign musicians at Montmartre excites me about the festival, perhaps one of the best rooms in the world to play jazz – as Alex once put it: “That’s where you start, playing at clubs – having fun, then suddenly you sit on big stages, where you can’t hear or see who you are playing with”, he explains.

Regardless, Montmartre remains the venue that jazz artists from all over the world keep coming back to perform at.

There has been much excitement in anticipation of Alex’s performance. Christian says that much focus has been on the drummer, however he does urge Festival goers to try and see as many local Danish performances as possible. “I would suggest that you get your tickets to Tomas Franck’s set, as he is one of the most important tenor players in Europe at present. He is known worldwide and deserves more attention”, he urges.


 Alex Riel at Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2014:

Sunday July 6, 20.00: Alex Riel Trio feat. Dado Moroni (DK/IT) → Jazzhus Montmartre

Monday July 7, 20.00: Alex Riel Trio feat. Dado Moroni (DK/IT) → Jazzhus Montmartre

Tuesday July 8, 20.00: Alex Riel Quartet feat. Gabor Bolla (DK/HU) → Jazzhus Montmartre

Thursday July 10, 18:00: The Kenny Werner Quintet feat. Randy Brecker & Alex Riel (US/DK) → Prøvehallen

Thursday July 10, 20:30: The Kenny Werner Quintet feat. Randy Brecker & Alex Riel (US/DK) → Prøvehallen