The Jan Harbeck Quartet play modern acoustic jazz with a warm, accessible and expressive delivery. In 2008, the quartet received a Danish Grammy for their release ‘In the Still of the Night’ and they have since become one of the best selling Danish instrumental jazz groups. The quartet play a mix of Harbeck’s compositions and selected lesser-known jazz standards with a focus on strong melody and irresistible swing alongside heart-wrenching melancholic blues.
“The tenor saxophone is the sound of jazz. The soul of the music. Once Copenhagen had Ben Webster to blow that soul to life. Now we have Jan Harbeck.” – Politiken 10/7 2010
The band’s latest release,‘Variations in Blue’, features American sax star Walter Smith III. The album was highly acclaimed by the press and the world’s leading jazz magazine DownBeat wrote the following:
‘Danish saxist Jan Harbeck has put together a gorgeous set of bluesy standards, tangos and originals. Since the tracks are all unhurried – recorded live with no cuts or overdubs – the whole program slips down like a vintage port. Despite the familiarity of “Don’t Let the Sun…” and “Blues In the Night”, Harbeck’s originals fit the rundown like silk stockings, slowly unfurling.’ 4 of 5 stars — Michael Jackson, DownBeat Magazine, March 2015.
The music is indebted to the jazz tradition, but each of the four musicians contribute their own personal modern-day take on the compositions. Henrik Gunde is one of the most in-demand Danish jazz musicians with his eloquent virtuoso piano playing, bassist Eske Nørrelykke is the backbone of the quartet with his unique minimalistic style, whilst Anders Holm unites swing and groove with charisma and understated finesse at the drums. The quartet are able to create an intimate world with a perfect acoustically balanced sound, where nothing comes between the audience and the musicians.
Danish newspaper ‘Politiken’ describes Jan Harbeck Quartet’s show at Copenhagen Jazz Festival, in a review by music editor Thomas Michelsen: “Harbeck demonstrated, that nobody can put their soul into a jazz ballad like he can”, and previously in the same newspaper, he also wrote: “the tenor saxophone is the essential sound of jazz. The soul of the genre. Once upon a time we had Ben Webster in Copenhagen to put the soul to life again. Today we have Jan Harbeck.”