Cecilie Strange, Blikan Review
by Jeff Becker
Cecilie Strange is a jazz saxophonist and composer who grew up in a musical home who began playing the saxophone at 12. Strange has studied music in the Danish city of Odense with the great jazz saxophonist Hans Ulrik and in New York with top saxophonist Chris Cheek, and her deep and soulful tenor sound has gained international acclaim. Strange has released two solo albums and is now releasing her third solo album, Blikan, on April Records. Strange is joined by Peter Rosendal, piano, Thommy Andersson, bass and Jakob Høyer on drums. “Blikan” is an Icelandic word derived from the Old Saxon language meaning “to shine” or “to appear.” The album was recorded at The Village in Copenhagen on June 10 and 11, 2019; the two-day session was the first time Strange had ever played with the three artists she intuitively knew were the ideal ensemble to manifest her vision.
“Eudaimonia” has a relaxed straight-eight feel built around a piano figure for an intro. Strange enters with a haunting melody, folk-like in nature, and her tone matches the hue. Pianist Rosendal and bassist Andersson provide the structural support as Strange and drummer Høyer converse through Stange’s solo choruses. The collaboration between the ensemble is creatively inspired, and each intensely listens to the other for inspiration and input.
“The Clearing” continues in the mellow vein as the opening track. Here Rosendal holds a piano figure that the ensemble uses as an anchor as each player explores the harmony and intimacies of interactions. The Scandinavian influence can be heard in the melody, and to a lesser extent, the improvisations as the influence of American and European jazz languages take over.
Strange’s second album, Blue, came out on April Records in May of 2020, and Blikan brings the session full circle and is an essential companion recording to Blue. Both establish Strange’s arrival as an exciting new voice in today’s dynamic Copenhagen jazz scene. Strange paints sketches of Scandinavia with an easy-going elegiac palette of tonal colors that also emanate optimism and light.