Pierre Dørge and New Jungle Orchestra

Sept. 2 - 2012

The personnel of Denmark’s New Jungle Orchestra has changed during its 30-plus years together, and so have its creative outposts. Having traveled to such places as the Middle East and China for inspiration, the NJO recently booked passage on the Trivandrum Express for its latest recording, Sketches of India. But with Pierre Dorge as its inspired conductor, the band continues to dwell in a special place where the music of Duke Ellington’s Jungle Orchestra of the late 1920′s and the music of West Africa criss-cross as primary influences.

One of the best of the “little big bands” that cropped up in the ’80s, the NJO specializes in pungent harmonies and fleet improvisations spearheaded by Dorge’s high, ringing guitar. The band’s ravenous appetite extends to the jazz of Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra, Balinese gamalan and South African township sounds and the modern classical music of Stravinsky and Ligeti. With the exception of Norwegian trumpeter Gunnar Halle and Swedish bassist Thommy Andersson, the band is Danish through and through: reed players Morten Carlsen, Jakob Mygind and Anders Banke, trombonist Kenneth Agerholm, keyboardist Irene Becker (Dorge’s wife), drummer Martin Anderson on drums and conga player and percussionist Thomas Dyani.

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