Ensemble Denada - Reviews
All About Jazz by Francesco Martinelli - December 10, 2015
The Guardian (UK) by John Fordham - February 18, 2010
"A cracker of a contemporary big-band album…Sunde’s Denada ensemble has produced powerful work before, but the balance of moods, melodic variety and arranging ingenuity on Finding Nymo (the sax-playing Nymo brothers Frode and Atle are star soloists) ought to raise his standing outside continental Europe."
- The Guardian (UK) John Fordham
"So fresh, so hot, complex, passionate and style-spreading innovative has no big band played for a long time. Wonderful!"
-RONDO Klassik & Jazz Magazin (DE) Werner Stiefele
"Flexible enough to handle the complex writing with aplomb, the band deals dazzlingly with pieces as diverse as the Spanish-flavoured Molto Alghero , an exuberant Obstler and the nocturnal moods of MoonCrier and the dreamlike Valse Trieste."
- Irish Times (IR) Ray Comiskey
"The interaction between lyrical grace and precise executed groove-work, the high level of sound development, the tremendous dynamics in the ensemble play and the breath-taking variety of the arrangements make this Ensemble Denada-album to an “Object of Desire” for everyone that enjoy listening to modern big band jazz with sharpened ears."
- BR Klassikk (DE) Beate Sampson
"Most of the players are featured, but it’s when two come together on the title track to engage in some friendly sibling rivalry—brothers Atle and Frode Nymo, on tenor and soprano saxophones respectively—that some of the album’s most ambitious free play takes place. Atle also takes an extended solo on “Valse Trieste,” another highlight; a lyrical blend of deeper indigo and, finally, blistering red as the ensemble swirls around him in a stunningly vivid arrangement."
- Allaboutjazz.com (US) John Kelman
"Ensemble Denada is no less then one of the best big bands in Europe, greased by equal portions of electronics, pianist Olga Konkova and the percussionist Marilyn Mazur. That fact that the ensemble after years of work has has grown together is not only shown by titles like “Obstler” (a homage to the Norwegians experience of local alcohol following a festival concert in rural Austria), but in particular by the unrestricted, open and inspired way the musicians perform together."
- Concerto (AT) schu
"If you count the snoring voice following the lullaby at the end of the album, Sundes big band adds up to 20 performers. Witty ideas, sampled traffic noise and electronic effects sets the sound of the Norwegian orchestra, and so does the great ability of the musicians. A crazy album!"
- Kulturspiegel (DE), Hans Hielscher
"'Finding Nymo' is a richly entertaining and often humorous record but that humour is derived from an enormous degree of musical sophistication. Sunde’s writing is witty, intelligent and colourful and his horn arrangements masterful, sometimes reminiscent of a more eccentric Mike Gibbs. The way he incorporates electronics into his arrangements is also highly impressive. If Sunde ever brings his ensemble to the U.K. they should be well worth hearing."
- The Jazzman (UK) Ian Mann
"Piano player Olga Konkova also comes forward with strong minded-solos and an almost Michelangelan sensitivity in the “travel letter” “Valse Trieste”, in a brief sequence arranged by Sunde as if it were a love letter from Maria Schneider to Maurice Ravel"
- Dagbladet (NO) Terje Mosnes
"Helge Sundes 2nd album on the ACT-label has a fabulous spirit of inquiry, in particular the arrangements. He is applying a broad selection of expressions for his big band Denada; a street smart approach live side by side with orchestral sounds…..Helge Sunde does not create retrospective music. Electronic stunts on the laptop and a selection of awesome solos are of course included."
- Lira magazine (SE) Andreas Lagercrantz
"Many people on the planet were taken by surprise when album “Denada” saw the light of day 3 years ago. They have even more to look forward to with “Finding Nymo”."
- side 2.no (NO) Tor Hammerø
"Ensembelissimo! Vibrant kicks from groovy art music orchestra. This is intricate music, but far from being introvert and pompous."
- Bergens Tidende (NO) Geir Dahle
"Excellent big band work with innovative richness and a visual appeal that in this country only Dieter Glawischnig would be able to create."
- Kulturnews (DE)
"The Spanish expression «Denada» has more then one translation, but our man from Nordfjord sets the course southwards featuring «When In Rome», «Valse Trieste» and «Molto Alghero» with thunder and lightning in dazzling music arrangements."
- Dagsavisen (NO) Roald Helgheim
"Humor und Freude am Kontrast sind Trumpf in Helge Sundes zweiter Bigband-CD mit Norwegens Top-Jazzern. Ein farbenprächtiges Kaleidoskop, das Tonmann Jan Erik Kongshaug famos produzierte"
- Audio (DE) Peter Steder