Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
|Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen|
|Also known as||NHØP, The Great Dane with
the Never-Ending Name
27 May 1946|
Osted, Zealand, Denmark
|Died||19 April 2005
|Genres||Jazz, bebop, hard bop, avant-garde jazz|
|Associated acts||Albert Ayler, Chet Baker, Count Basie, Kenny Drew, Roy Eldridge, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Milt Jackson, Roland Kirk, Tete Montoliu, Joe Pass, Oscar Peterson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Sonny Rollins, George Shearing, Archie Shepp, Ben Webster|
Ørsted Pedersen was born in Osted, near Roskilde, on the Danish island of Zealand, the son of a church organist. As a child, Ørsted Pedersen played piano, but from the age of 13, he started learning to play upright bass and at the age of 14, while studying, he began his professional jazz career in Denmark with his first band, Jazzkvintet 60 (Danish for 'Jazz Quintet 60'). By the age of fifteen, he had the ability to accompany leading musicians at nightclubs, working regularly at Copenhagen's Jazzhus Montmartre, after his debut there on New Year's Eve 1961, when he was only 15. When seventeen, he had already turned down an offer to join the Count Basie orchestra, mainly because he was too young to get legal permission to live and work as a musician in America.
The Montmartre was a regular stop-off for touring American Jazz stars, and as a member of the house band, the young Ørsted Pedersen performed with saxophone legends such as Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Stan Getz, and Bill Evans, with whom he toured in Europe in 1965. During the 1960s, Ørsted Pedersen played with a series of other important American jazzmen who were touring or resident in Denmark, including Ben Webster, Brew Moore, Bud Powell, Count Basie, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Jackie McLean, and vocalist Ella Fitzgerald. He also played with Jean-Luc Ponty, and became the bassist of choice whenever a big-name musician was touring Copenhagen.
Ørsted Pedersen worked in duo and trio arrangements with pianist Kenny Drew, recording over 50 albums together. He also worked with Stéphane Grappelli and Joe Pass and recorded extensively as a leader. His best known songs are "My Little Anna", "Jaywalkin'", and "The Puzzle", as well as jazz arrangements of traditional Danish folk songs. A duo performance with Rune Gustafsson at Vossajazz 1980, concluded on the album Just The Way You Are on the label Sonet Gramofon, recorded half a year after this first meeting. He was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1991. This was the first time this prize for composition was awarded to a performing musician, and this must be ascribed to his great international standing. He was presumably the most sought-after Danish instrumentalist internationally ever, and has travelled and recorded with a series of the greatest jazz soloists internationally.
Ørsted Pedersen has also a particular ability to interpret Danish songs and folk melodies. He often played within trio ensembles, partly collectively with the trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and the keyboard player Kenneth Knudsen, and partly under his own name, usually with guitarists like Philip Catherine and Ulf Wakenius. In 1999, he co-led a duo with pianist Mulgrew Miller, touring Europe, Japan, Australia, and Korea. This format was later enlarged into a trio featuring drummer, Alvin Queen. This trio remained intact until Pedersen's death.
- 1974: Grammy Award. Best Jazz Performance by a Group, The Trio - Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
- 1981: Best Bass Player of the Year by Downbeat Critics' Poll
- 1991: Nordic Council Music Prize
- 1976: Jaywalkin' (SteepleChase)
- 1976: Double Bass (SteepleChase) with Sam Jones
- 1976: Pictures (SteepleChase), with Kenneth Knudsen
- 1979: Dancing on the Tables (SteepleChase)
- 1981: Just The Way You Are (Sonet), with Rune Gustafsson
- 1983: The Viking (Pablo), with Philip Catherine
- 1984: The Eternal Traveller (Pablo Records)
- 1992: Scandinavian Wood (Caprice Records)
- 1992: Uncharted Land (Pladecompagniet)
- 1993: Ambiance (Dacapo)
- 1993: To A Brother (Pladekompagniet), NHØP Trio including with Ulf Wakenius & Adam Nussbaum
- 1995: Scandinavian Wood (Caprice Records)
- 1996: Those Who Were (Polygram)
- 1997: Friends Forever (Milestone)
- 1998: This Is All I Ask (Verve)
- 1998: In The Name of Music (BMG Denmark), NHØP & Trio Rococo
- 2005: Friends Forever (Sony BMG Music Entertainment Denmark), compilation
- 2007: The Unforgettable NHØP Trio Live (ACT Music), including with Ulf Wakenius & Jonas Johansen
- "Bassisten Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen er død" (in Danish). Politiken. 20 April 2005. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
- Yanow, Scott. "Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen". Biography. AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
- "Ørsted Pedersen Recording With Ben Webster 1965–71". Danish National Library, statsbiblioteket.dk. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- "1981 DownBeat Critics Poll". Downbeat.com. 31 August 1981. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
- "N-H. Orsted Pedersen, 58, Bassist in Danish Jazz Scene, Dies" (21 April 2005) New York Times
- Peterson, Oscar (2006). "Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (5.27.46–4.19.05)". Jazztimes.com. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Scandinavian Wood": The musical career of Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen in the light of his discography by Jørgen Mathiasen. Books on Demand 2010. ISBN 978-3-8423-5157-8.
- Official website
- Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen – Danish virtuoso bassist who kept pace with Oscar Peterson by John Fordham, 21 May 2005, at The Guardian
- Profile and discography at allmusic.com
- Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Autumn Leaves on YouTube