|It's not without pride that Stunt releases this, its greatest venture so far. In 1996 Alex Riel and Stunt won a Danish Grammy for the cd "The Riel Deal", and for a couple of weeks "Unriel" from 1997 was in the Ame- rican jazz charts, which is highly unusual for European jazz recordings. More than 10,000 copies of the cd were sold, which makes it one of the best-selling Danish jazz cd's ever. For Alex Riel it was natural to continue his collaboration with the musicians from the previous projects. The result is probably the most perfect of all Alex Riel's recordings, characterized by musical playfulness and respect for the tradition in an astonishing interaction among some of the world's greatest musicians.
Mention Copenhagen to an American jazz musician who has spent time there, and you are likely to hear a dissertation on the abundance of jazz resources that the Danish city has to offer. Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz actually lived there, and the list of American improvisers who have recorded in Copenhagen is long and impressive. One Danish musician who has played with his share of American artists is veteran drummer Alex Riel who has backed such heavyweights as Getz, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, and Wayne Shorter. Recorded during a visit to New York in 1999, Rielatin' finds Riel leading a team that includes a fellow Dane (bassist Chris Minh Doky) as well as American players Michael Brecker (tenor sax), Jerry Bergonzi (tenor sax), Mike Stern (electric guitar), and Kenny Werner (acoustic piano). Although some of Stern's guitar solos are rock influenced, Rielatin' is essentially a straight-ahead hard bop/post-bop date rather than a fusion date. Nothing terribly surprising occurs, but all of the improvisers are in good form on a hard-swinging CD that ranges from various Bergonzi originals to Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," Ben Webster's "Did You Call Her Today," and the standard "I Fall in Love Too Easily." Brecker really tears into John Coltrane's "Bessie's Blues," which lasts 11 minutes and is the longest track. Rielatin' falls short of essential, but it's a likable disc that never fails to swing. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide