Aarhus and all that jazz

By Tamkinat Tariq, Jutland Station, photos by Guki Giunashvili

The second day of the SPOT festival brought more opportunities to experience artistic performances from some of the most talented musicians Denmark has to offer. With an air of growing anticipation in the Rhythmic Hall of the Musikhuset (Music House) people awaited the band, I Think You’re Awesome who this time was performing in collaboration with The Aarhus Jazz Orchestra.

Founded in 2009, I Think You’re Awesome is a Danish band that dabbles in Indie Jazz and Nordic Folk, while The Aarhus Jazz Orchestra is one of the leading jazz bands in Europe. This year, for the 10 year anniversary of I Think You’re Awesome, the compositions of its bass player, Jens Mikkel Madsen were rearranged and adapted on stage by the massive orchestra with the help of the composer, Signe Bisgaard.

Around 150 people have gathered in a hall draped in hues of purple and blue. Amidst deafening applause, the band and the orchestra made its way to the stage, filling up the intricate arrangement of chairs: saxophones to the right, trumpets and trombones to the left. A grand piano, an electric guitar, drums and bass took centre stage, all under the graceful watch of Bisgaard, the composer.

The result was a grand ensemble of groovy contemporary jazz, where the trumpets set the mood and people came alive with the bass. The passion of Madsen was contagious and could be seen reflected in the crowd, as they moved to the beautiful mix of a melancholic rhythm and melodies of elation. A little 4-year old girl stood right in the front, gripping the rails, genuinely curious of the amazing symphonies unfolding on stage. The air was truly electric in the pauses tinkled by the piano, building towards the swell of the crescendo.

The star song of the night has been Warm Milk from the Album, Kiss Your Darlings, released by the band in 2018. The presence of the orchestra added a certain depth and warmth to the rendition with the saxophone serenading the senses somewhere serene.

“They’re fantastic! We’re big fans.”, said Held talking about I Think You’re Awesome as he was joined by his friends Henrik and Elaine from England, all in their 50s. “I have their first record!”, he adds proudly.

“Their music is spiritual”, said Emma (23) who was attending the band’s concert for the first time. Her friend Kenneth, also present at the concert, has been following the band for a while and really liked their “Nordic jazz and folk roots.”

The collaboration between I Think You’re Awesome and The Aarhus Jazz Orchestra was a fierce amalgamation of classic and contemporary jazz that came together to create something akin to magic, the afterglow of which could be observed in all the happy smiles leaving the hall at the end of the concert.

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