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    Pedersen, Niels-Henning Orsted (27 May 1946 – 19 April 2005)

    Bassist from Osted, Denmark, who started out on the piano and gravitated to the double bass by the time he was thirteen years old.  A year later, he was already playing professionally with Jazzkvintet 60. 

     

    By age sixteen, he was the house bassist at the Montmartre Jazzhus in Copenhagen.  The club was a magnet for American jazz musicians, so The Great Dane, or NHOP, as he was known for expediency’s sake, got a chance to perform with artists such as Count Basie, Roy Eldridge, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jackie McLean, Brew Moore, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins and Ben Webster. 

     

    Count Basie must have been impressed with him, because he offered him a job.  Pedersen had to respectfully decline, as he was not yet old enough to obtain a work visa in the States. 

     

    Instead, he remained in Denmark, where he became the stuff of legends.  He was a member of the Danish Radio Big Band from 1964 to 1982.  From the ‘60s through the ‘80s, he also appeared on 400+ long-play records. 

     

    He joined The Oscar Peterson Trio in the ‘70s, along with Joe Pass, with whom he recorded Chops, circa 1978.  The bassist, who could practically play in a finger-picking style usually reserved for guitarists, was well-known for his signature tunes, “Jaywalkin’”, “My Little Anna” and “The Puzzle”.  His arrangements of Danish folk music also captured the public’s imagination.  In 1991, he won the Nordic Council Music Prize. 

     

    He was also active in music education, as an instructor at Copenhagen’s Rytmiske Musikkonservatorium. 

     

    In later years, he collaborated more and more with European musicians, including Allan Botschinsky, Philip Catherine, Maria Joao, Kenneth Knudsen, Palle Mikkelborg, Michel Petrucciani and Ulf Wakenius.  He continued to perform live and record until dying of a sudden heart attack on 19th April 2005. 

     

    For a generous sampling of his unique bass stylings, check out Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen Bass in the Background:  A Great Selection 1962-1992.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niels-Henning_Ørsted_Pedersen
    2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2005/may/21/guardianobituaries.arts
    3. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=5823
    4. http://www.amazon.com/Niels-Henning-Orsted-Pedersen/e/B000AQ2BWO
    5. http://www.cduniverse.com

               

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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