Danish pianist, composer and arranger Kathrine Windfeld is a rising star of European jazz. In January 2020, she won the Europe edition of the “LetterOne ‘RISING STARS’ Jazz Award”. This award involves a tour of several major festivals in Europe. This will take her and her band to Ronnie Scott’s on November 15th as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Preview by Charles Rees:
London Jazz News: Tell us about the music you will be bringing to London? (Have you adapted the ORCA music for sextet or will it be a new work?)
Catherine Windfeld: Yes, we will be playing some songs from my ORCA album. Many of my big band tunes can also work for the sextet – in rearranged forms – often leaving more room for solos. I like to play my tunes in different constellations – but of course some of my big band tunes are too complex and symphonic in texture to fit into a three horn section.
LJN: Does your sextet have a stable staff?
KW: Most of the time, but the lineup has changed several times over the years based on my own musical development. It’s very exciting and important to play with musicians who understand your visions and can take tunes to a new level.
LJN: You have always had Poles in your groups – what’s the story?
KW: Many outstanding young Polish musicians have come to Denmark to study in our conservatories. They have become an important part of the Danish jazz scene, bringing technical virtuosity and an open mind. I don’t want to generalize, as they are all strong individuals, but I think they have a high level of artistic integrity in common: a natural approach to free forms and odd materials and not just sticking to language. traditional jazz. And that’s exactly what my music needs.
LJN: What opportunities has the Letter One award given you? … And is there more to come?
KW: The award was a milestone in my musical journey in terms of concerts and media coverage. It has been fantastic to meet a large audience outside of Scandinavia and develop the sound of our band. It is difficult to say if we will manage to play more gigs in this context since the numbers for Covid are on the rise again. But in the meantime, we were booked for a project in Brazil and recently went to play in Iceland. We are also working on a Poland-Germany tour in 2022, so I’m very optimistic!
LJN: You said three years ago that listening to other musicians had been very enriching… is it still the case, and who have you been listening to recently?
KW: Indeed, I think it is inevitable for all musicians to learn from others. Recently, I transcribed an incredible Chris Potter solo from his album “Pure” and I was spellbound by its lines and harmonic approach. Every now and then I go back to one of my all-time heroes, Kurt Rosenwinkel, who has created so many exceptional tracks in hyper-advanced harmonic language. He’s a master of the art of combining a catchy riff with sophisticated changes and unpredictable lines.
LJN: What other projects besides the sextet are in the works for you?
KW: I just released my fourth big band album, this time with the great Swedish Bohuslän Big Band who ordered 8 tunes from me. In 2022 I will be visiting Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, maybe Brazil as a guest composer, and my own big band will be playing in Portugal as well as a handful of concerts in Scandinavia.
LJN: Are there any album projects…?
KW: Since I just released “Determination” with new compositions for a full big band in October (DETAILS HERE), I have no other release plans at the moment. But I play the piano as a sideman on two other releases in 2022.
LJN: And other wishes / ambitions…?
KW: I am always looking for new projects and opportunities to perform my music with exciting musicians and ensembles from all over the world. I work regularly every day on my projects and my general conception of music – whether it’s practicing or composing, arranging or discovering new music.
LINKS: Kathrine Windfeld website
Ronnie Scott’s bookings for November 15
Kathrine Windfeld’s sextet performs in two-part ‘Letter One Rising Stars’ party to Ronnie Scott’s who will also feature Israeli trumpeter Itamar Borochov