20 years with BSD+B – artistic development with long-term value

“Blood, Sweat, Drum + Bass’ 20-year success is a concrete example of the Academy’s ambition to create artistic development with long-term value in Danish music life”, says Principal Claus Olesen in his birthday greeting to the orchestra.

On Tuesday 31 August 2021, Blood, Sweat, Drum + Bass big band will mark their 20th anniversary with a concert at Musikhuset Aarhus, where star trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and oud player Maher Mahmoud from Damascus, Syria, will be guests . At the concert, the audience can experience the orchestra’s extensive repertoire with big band jazz, which is strongly colored by e.g. drum’n’bass, world music and electronics.

The Aarhus-based Blood, Sweat, Drum + Bass big band is a mega-big band of 25 musicians with a greatly expanded rhythm group, i.a. with two drum kits and percussion. With great power and overwhelming energy, the orchestra plays a very unique mix of styles and genres. The orchestra expands the traditional big band concept and manages to reach a new and younger audience, i.a. at performances at Roskilde Festival in 2007 and 2012. BSD+B has collaborated with a wide range of soloists and ensembles, including Randers Chamber Orchestra, and has been on several trips abroad, for example to the Cairo Jazz Festival.

Close ties to the Academy

BSD+B originated from the Academy at Aarhus Festival 2001. After a very successful student concert, the young musicians and their conductor, Jens Christian “Chappe” Jensen, decided to continue the collaboration as an independent orchestra with its very own profile, strongly inspired by drum’n’bass music. Ever since, BSD+B has been one of the most innovative jazz orchestras in the Nordic region.

All the musicians are former students at the Academy, and for all 20 years the orchestra has been led by Jens Christian ”Chappe” Jensen, who is today a professor at the Academy. Throughout the years, there has been a close interaction between the orchestra and the Academy, primarily through Chappe’s role as conductor, artistic director, composer and arranger of the orchestra.

Through the connection to the Academy, BSD+B has always been in close contact with new generations of musicians and with new musical trends, such as electronic music. Through Chappe’s development and research projects at the Academy, the band has been able to continuously get new inspiration.

Recently, Chappe has worked on the project: “The Electroacoustic Experience – orchestral music in a newly developed electronic context”, where a large number of different and experimental concerts ended with three concerts with BSD+B, Randers Chamber Orchestra and Palle Mikkelborg.

Previously, Chape’s study stay in Damascus, Syria, have spawned several major works inspired by Middle Eastern music and performed by BSD+B. And in 2009, Chappe arranged a new edition of Palle Mikkelborg’s tribute to Miles Davis, “Aura” from 1984. The new version was performed by BSD+B with Mikkelborg and Chappe at Det Kgl. Theater on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the work.

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