|This buoyant trio disc was recorded on the occasion of Alex Riel's 60th birthday. Joined by pianist Kenny Werner and bassist Jesper Lundgaard, the veteran drummer leads off with Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," followed by a positively smoking "Bye Bye Blackbird." (Lundgaard's arco solo on the latter summons the spirit of Paul Chambers.) A stormy, mid-tempo "Autumn Leaves" culminates in a gorgeous piano cadenza that sets the stage for Horace Silver's glimmering ballad "Peace," which in turn segues directly into Thad Jones' "A Child Is Born." The trio gradually starts to cook again with "On Green Dolphin Street" and climaxes with a roaring "You and the Night and the Music." Werner concludes the program alone with his inventive, moving rendition of J.S. Bach's "Siciliana." There's an abundance of swing, simpatico, and sheer virtuosity to be heard. Frankly, these tracks testify to Werner's brilliance as effectively as anything he's recorded under his own name. ~ David R. Adler, All Music Guide
This is some of the recordings from an outstanding birthday-concert at Copenhagen JazzHouse.
When Lars Thoprborg from Copenhagen JazzHouse and the birthday boy made the plans for the week of celebration there was no doubt in Alex's mind: On the very day, the week should culminate in a trio concert with Kenny Werner and Jesper Lundgaard.
Those of us who were in the audience on September 13th experienced a matinee of outstanding jazz.
On stage, right before our very eyes, Alex Riel Trio proved to us how beautifully tradition and renewal can be combined in the world of jazz. How openness and inventiveness are necessities in jazz. Alex Riel himself is living proof that even after 43 years in the business it's possible to maintain your curiosity and enthusiasm".