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sabato 14 marzo 2009

Ib Kai Olsen jazz band: Messin´Around


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Ib Kai Olsen (IKO), born june 1919 in Copenhagen, is one of the pioneers of danish traditional jazz. After WW2 he joined the then newly established Hot Club of Denmark, among whose members a club band - the first danish trad band - was formed around 1948, mainly inspired from the early british jazz clubs.

As could be expected the beginning was rather mediocre, so Ib felt he could do better than that and bought himself a cornet. After having practised for some time he joined Hot Club Jazz Band and started playing 1. cornet. Later on it separated itself from the now fading Hot Club and became Ib K. Olsen’s Jazz Band.

The Band managed to stay together with only few changes in personnel for more than a quarter of a century, playing with great power and enthusiasm and with a large and varied book of tunes. The set-up usually consisted of two cornets, clarinet, trombone, banjo, string bass and drums. At times a piano was added.

IKO is, however, a Jack of many trades, and to most of the Copenhagen jazz fraternity his daily whereabouts were rather unknown. Ib is a skilled lithographer by trade and worked for many years with graphic designs for books, magazines and ads as well as an illustrator and painter, also running a studio of his own. In a recent TV portrait program (Feb ’07) his artistic as well as musical legacy was highlighted.

Since the late seventies the declining public interest in traditional jazz has forced Ib and his men into periods of inactivity, but whenever possible a new group would emerge again. IKO’s present band - his Jazz Friends - has a Hot Five line-up, occasionally increased with a bass player. IKO is a modest and highly estimated Gentleman, and hopefully his horn, reflecting the sound of King Oliver, Papa Celestin and Sam Morgan, shall be with us for still many years.

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