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"Torben Waldorff may have composed one of the best albums I’ve heard so far in 2010."

(Torben Waldorff - guitar, Donny McCaslin - tenor sax; Jon Cowherd - piano,
fender rhodes, organ; Matt Clohesy - bass; Jon Wikan - drums)
Torben Waldorff may have composed one of the best albums I’ve heard so far in
2010. He plays the guitar, but lets his band stay in the forefront for most of
the entire album. Shining Through, a rather Bruce Hornsby and the Range jam,
is simply amazing. Donny McCaslin on tenor sax commands the incredible performances on the first
two tracks, and throughout the entire piece of work.
After touring the world in 2009, Torben got together with the guys late that year and put together
American Rock Beauty. There’s nothing hokey here, it’s straight up jazzy rocking jams. This album
does not sound over-produced or forced. It’s a wonderful experience for a new listener of Torben’s
and I really appreciate this album for what it is: a truly enjoyable album of jams and impromptu
sessions. An hour of wonderful music for the backyard cook-out or cocktail party.
This isn’t your typical fan-funded project album either. These guys are very tight and polished jazz
and rock musicians. Being an Artist Share release you can see and learn first hand on Torben’s
website what it actually took to get this album released:
1. Shark
2. Shining Through
3. Waves
4. American Rock Beauty
5. Late
6. Lama
7. Song-Ella
8. Scape
-- Paul Pelon IV - Audiophile Audition

"Torben Waldorff - American Rock Beauty (2010)"

by Pico

A couple of summers ago I was treated to the pleasing but discerning modern jazz found all over Torben Waldorff's Afterburn. The great Dane guitarist/composer who resides in Sweden is a household name in our little 'berg on the internet, and needs no intros on this site. But his issuance of a brand new record at the beginning of this year gives us reason to revisit Waldorff and pass along the lowdown on his latest project.

American Rock Beauty is, like Afterburn, an ArtistShare project, one that Waldorff worked on since 2008 and for much of 2009. As it comes in the aftermath of such a highly-acclaimed album, it had much to live up to. But Waldorff has succeeded in creating his own template and all he had to do was to be himself, again.

"Being himself" meant surrounding himself with fellow musicians he was most comfortable with, and so he brought back in mostly the same crew he used for Afterburn: his old Berklee classmate Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), Matt Clohesy (bass), and Jon Wikan (drums). Sam Yahel was replaced on keyboards by Jon Cowherd, a member of Brian Blade's Fellowship.

As before, the music resides in a sweet spot where jazz overlaps with a generous smattering of other distinctly American strains of music, which in itself isn't a difficult task. It's making it come across naturally and uncontrived that is where the big accomplishment lies. For Waldorff, that's simply a matter of letting the music come to him, not vice versa: "The tunes are all written from an extremely intuitive place," he explains. "I usually conceived them in minutes. It has been as though the songs and the melodies were hanging there right above me all the time --- I just had to get myself to a place where I was ready to just reach out and pull them in."

All of the Waldorff trademarks are present on American. As a leader, he seems to sense where it's right to take charge and when it's more appropriate to sit back and let his band become equal partners. As the solo composer, he's going to set the overall tone and dictate the basic character for the songs. However, he writes these songs with these musicians in mind, and together they work out the ultimate personality of each song. Heck, with accomplished musicians as these are, they couldn't help but to do so.

The songs contains meter and harmonic shifts, oscillations between major and minor chords, and intricate interplay and yet remains richly lyrical. Waldorff himself describes the songs as being "very vocal in character," a point driven home in his vocal tracing of the basic theme contained in "Song-Ella", an idea that's long served to heighten the strong melodicism on many Pat Metheny Group songs, too. The use dichotomy is employed well in "Lama," a free-flowing melancholy piece that switches midstream into a progression of six chords played staccato while Wikan along rumbles with abandon underneath.

Many tunes blur the lines the supposedly separate jazz from other music forms. "Shining Through" only lacks inspirational lyrics and maybe a pedal steel from being called a straight up country-gospel tune, but Cowherd's Sunday piano and Wikan's brush work keep the song chugging along in an irresistible way. "Shark" is more overtly rock-jazz than the other tracks, but McCaslin's cascade of notes and Waldorff's acute improvisation can only come from players well-versed in Parker and Gillespie. The soft, contemplative "American Rock Beauty" melds in folk harmonies to create a song that is ripe with colorful modalities underpinned by Cowherds' Rhodes while supplying Waldorff, Clohesy and McClasin plenty of space to express themselves.

Even where some selections stick closer to the jazz aesthetic, such as "Waves," or "Late," there's an overall characteristic present on these cuts that pervades throughout the whole album. It's one that thrives on the melody following a natural course that's pleasing to hear but avoids predictability. Also, there's enough subtleties to keep the songs fresh after many listens (check the bass/guitar/sax interplay in the middle of "Late," for a terrific example).

But Waldorff and Company never come on too strong with their artistry. They let the radiant beauty that is found in American Rock Beauty come to the listener in a intuitive, natural way. Much the same way these songs came to Torben Waldorff. - SOMETHING ELSE!

"American Rock Beauty"

Guitarist Torben Waldorff does not shy away from a challenge. He channels the unknown for germane ideas that he plumbs with resolute imagination. And it does not matter if inspiration comes on the path to invention or flies from the written note.
Waldorff's wrote the music for this CD with his band in mind. Having played together, he knew just where they could take the written note. Their communication is fertile and the end result is persuasive in its logic and resolution.

Donny McCaslin and Waldorff are often the complement, and the foil, to each other. They set this in motion on "Shark" with McCaslin letting the melody be the sentinel for invention as he takes off into cogent tributaries. Waldorff's ruminative chords serve as the backdrop before he rocks out in a dramatic, yet melodic sequence, and changes the countenance completely.

The creative process in the evolution of each song is constant. "Waves" builds its impact slowly. The leisurely pace is set in motion by McCaslin in tandem with Jon Cowherd who brings in a lithe pulse that gets deeper into the groove and more dazzling as the tune evolves. Waldorff adds to the impetus with winsome swing. The changes are seamless and document the ease with which the musicians feed each other to elevate the music.

"Song-Ella" gets off to a buoyant, dancing beat on the guitar and then settles into a lovely Brazilian motif. Cowherd instills an extended swinging interlude on the piano while McCaslin bookends the melody, serving up grace and surging waves in appropriate measure. It is a marvelous piece of music.

"Scape," a hymnal drenched in soulful harmony, becomes the perfect closer; a gentle, graceful tune that is the culmination of music that is diverse, rich in detail and abiding musicality. - Michael Ricci

"Torben Waldorff American Rock Beauty Album Review"

American Rock Beauty is an intellectually captivating and aurally stimulating album by modern-jazz guitarist Torben Waldorff. Playing the role of performer, band leader and composer-arranger, Waldorff has brought together a strong ensemble, featuring Donny McCaslin sax, Jon Cowherd keys, Matt Clohesy bass and Jon Wikan drums, to compliment the eight original compositions on the album.

These five musicians are at the top of their games on this recording as each melody line is cleverly stated, solos are technically virtuosic and sonically engaging and the band plays together with a sense of cohesion that borders on E.S.P. A quality that is often lacking in a day an age when working bands are become a rare commodity and more and more jazz recordings are done quickly, and with minimum rehearsal time. These musicians sound like they’ve been on the bandstand together for years, which is one of the reasons for the albums success as a whole.

Waldorff draws from a variety of backgrounds and influences in his writing and arranging. As with any modern-jazz guitarist, his tunes meld modal jazz, rock, blues and funk grooves, producing a unique sound that is fresh and exciting, without being too over the top or jarring. The overall vibe of the album is laid-back, but with an underlying aggressiveness and intensity that is not lost on the listener. Instead of bashing his audiences over the head with his compositions, Waldorff chooses to ebb and flow between the intense and quieter moments. By doing so, Waldorff is reaching out to the listener. Leading them along his musical path, rather than playing over their heads, something that is missing from a section of the modern-jazz scene.

From a guitar standpoint, Waldorff is as conscientious about his playing as he is his composing and arranging. The album’s title track is a great example of Waldorff’s subtle, yet engaging, approach to soloing. His solo is built out of small, melodic fragments that proceed to grow into longer phrases and melodic ideas. Never overplaying, Waldorff seems to tease the maximum amount of emotion from every note he plays. Holding certain notes for dramatic effect, cutting lines off seemingly mid-sentence to create tension and a dramatic use of space are all present in this solos, as they are throughout the album. His high-level of musicality allows Waldorff to take chances, without sacrificing lyrical or emotional content, allowing the guitarist to reach out and relate to the audience on a very intimate level.

American Rock Beauty is a strong release for Waldorff, and another example of why the Artist Share Network is quickly making a name for itself as the go to label for modern jazz musicians. While jazz music in general seems to be taking it from all sides these days in an increasingly competitive market, it is albums like this that help keep the music moving in a forward direction while not isolating the general audience along the way.
By Dr. Matt Warnock - Guitar International

"TORBEN WALDORFF American Rock Beauty (ArtistShare)"

Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff is a supple, respectful player and a composer of breadth and depth. His third solo album spans the widescreen title track; the swinging, relatively orthodox ”Song-Ella”; the rock-inflected ”Shark”; and softer tunes like ”Lama” and ”Scape,” the churchy piece that ends the disc on a sweet, luminous note.
The empathy between Waldorff, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, keyboardist Jon Cowherd, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon Wikan is appealing. What’s less frequent is the fire that destinguished a mood piece from a masterpiece. Waldorff clearly has put in long hours at the school of Metheny, but he’s less showy if no less virtuosic, and he knows how to use silence, particularly in the title cut, the album’s best. ”American Rock Beauty” has earfeel as a fine Burbundy has mouthfeel.
Some tracks sound unfinished. Despite its rhythmic variety, ”Waves” seems unrounded, though Waldorf and Wikangenerate a welcome head of steam, and ”Lama,” which sounds as if Waldorff wanted it to be a union of the melancholic and the madcap, misses a neccesary bridge. Others, however, compensate. ”Shining Through” is particularly winning, as Cowherd’s piano launches a hoedown that quickly turns heraldic. A third of the way in, Waldorff adds voicelike guitar and Cowherd detours into the blues. ”Shining Through” never turns serious. There’s something unusually arch and winning about this tune, its melody evoking ”Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” Steams big hit from 1969.
- JazzTimes

"Doug Ramsey"

Torben Waldorff, Afterburn (ArtistShare). The Danish
guitarist accomodates his early rock leanings to absorption
with expansive jazz of the kind that thrives in downtown
Manhattan and Brooklyn and is spreading around the world.
Waldorff, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin and pianistorganist
Sam Yahel are leaders among the articulate
standard bearers of the movement. They play off one
another with fiery inventiveness and with grace that allows
the music to breathe. Bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon
Wikan are fully immersed in the new sensibility. All of the compositions but one are
by Waldorff. The one is Maria Schneider's "Choro Dancado," first recorded on her
Concert in the Garden CD. The curve of its Brazilian melodic shape and the
elegance of its harmonies inspire a superb performance. Waldorff's chromaticized
"Skyliner" (unrelated to the old Charlie Barnet piece) is another high point. -

"JazzTimes nov-08 Milkowski"

Scandinavian guitar-composer surrounds himself here with some of the finest young players on New York's underground jazz scene in tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, keyboardist Sam Yahel, drummer Jon Wikan and Bassist Matt Clohesy. A fluent post-Rosenwinkel player, Waldorff swings persuasively on "Espresso-Crescent" and "Squealfish" while navigating challenging unisons with McCaslin on "Daze." His affecting "JWS" falls into Metheny-Frisell heartland territory and he explores freely on the darkly introspective rubato number, "Eel Thye Deeflat." - JazzTimes

" by PICO"

By Pico.
Used to be that whenever the term "Scandinavian jazz" would come up, one could summarize it by pointing to the sterile, pristine folk-jazz popularized by Jan Garbarek and the ECM label from the seventies on. In recent times, it's come to mean such a variety of styles and tendencies that the jazz scene there has become every bit as complex and nuanced as it is on American shores. Nowadays it can also mean the Nu Jazz of Bugge Wesseltoft, the indie leanings of the late Esbjörn Svensson or the anything-goes whack jazz of the Scorch Trio.

What they mostly share is a deft assimilation of American, Nordic and Continental influences that's typically both sophisticated and at or near the cutting-edge.

Danish-born, Swedish resident guitarist Torben Waldorff has been opening up another facet for Scandinavian jazz, one that finds as much in common with the current NYC jazz scene as it does with the jazz of his locality. While Waldorff cites many American blues and rock guitar legends like Jimi Hendrix as his main influences early on, he's since forged his own stamp on modern jazz while still retaining an appropriate smidge of his old inspirations.

These days, though, he's more apt to approximate Kurt Rosenwinkel, the guitarist who Waldorff comes closest to in terms of melodic construction and guitar tone. Which is to say, it's pretty advanced stuff.

This past spring, Waldorff put out the latest volume of his brand of modern jazz that's the followup to his widely-acclaimed Brilliance: Live at 55 Bar NYC from 2006. He calls this latest one Afterburn.

For Afterburn, Waldorff carries over his tenor saxophonist, bassist and drummer from Brilliance: Donny McCaslin, Matt Clohesy and Jon Wikan, respectively. For piano, Fender Rhodes and organ he also adds a top-shelf player in Sam Yahel.

Utilizing a method famously employed by Miles Davis, Waldorff laid out the basic melody and general direction to his bandmates but left it up to them to fill in the details. In doing so, he induced what he calls "beautiful mistakes." Of course, the mistakes are only beautiful as long as listeners don't notice these unscripted turns as mistakes.

What is noticed instead are the tightly-constructed compositions mostly written by Waldorff performed with some of the spontaneity of a jam session. It's almost like having it both ways. And that's where the real magic in these recordings lay. Songs do stretch out a bit, but never overly so. No one seems to be overly concerned about coming to the song, they're letting the song come to them.

Furthermore, there's a distinctive, highly melodic pulse throughout the recordings and it's centered on the intense chemistry between Waldorff and McCaslin. As fellow students at the Berklee College of Music back in the 1980s, their rapport is beyond telepathic at this point. The closeness of this musical partnership really reveals itself on tunes like the uptempo "Squealfish" penned by Joel Miller, which has some remarkable unison lines that seem to go every place imaginable except outside the underlying melody.

The odd-metered "Daze" has that same quality, too, but alternates with a more conventional, rock-based chorus. It's a mashing of two styles that melds together so well, it's not even noticeable.

"JWS" (see video below) is a sublime gospel-folk tune which Waldorff is content to let McCaslin take the lead duties and the saxophonist understated work fits the mood. But this is also a showcase for Yahel; his perfectly calibrated organ swells that give the song a huge boost show why he's one of the best organists in the business today and his solo is the right mixture of church and grease.

"Expresso Crescent" is an airy combination of Pat Metheny and straight bop and a fine showcase of what the players can do in a more conventional format. McCaslin in particular burns on this track but knows to avoid going over the top. "Skyliner" has some European qualities to the chord structure while being married to a rumba style beat.

Big band arranger/composer/leader Maria Schneider's "Choro Dancado" is covered here, which even as it's a scaled down rendering, still exudes an orchestral eloquence.

"Heimat," perhaps my favorite selection on the album, is a slowly unfolding tone poem that paces itself naturally. Yahel's electric piano is as thoughtful as the effort he puts into his organ playing while Waldorff's supplies an eloquent solo during which Wikan's sympathetic mini-fills accentuates to perfection.

"Eel Thye Deeflat" is slower-paced still, with a chord progression that is similar in style to some of Michael Brecker's ballads, but with a looser conveyance. The album concludes with Wikan's own "Man In The Black Hat" is darker, bluesy jazz that has interesting intricacies that serve make it more than just blues. McCaslin again rips on his solo turn while Waldorff provides stark relief with angular, pensive soloing.

Afterburn is one of those rare ones that does a great job combining musicality and technical eminence without compromising either. It's a real triumph for Torben Waldorff, and only enhances his standing as a composer, guitarist and bandleader of much distinction.

"All Music Guide"

Torben Waldorff is a new electric guitarist on the scene deserving a close listen and keen attention. His distinctly contemporary
stylings certainly fall along the lines of Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Adam Rogers, Steve Cardenas, Joel Harrison, Ben
Monder and the like. More relaxed and frugal, less dependent on effects and pedals, Waldorff offers an amplified sound that is
warm, effusive, and uncomplicated. His quintet, featuring the marvelous tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, hits on six shared
cylinders of trust, unification, symmetry, balance, benevolence, and spirit. While Waldorff wrote most of this original music, the
strength of its sound is centered not so much in his ability to lead, but his concept in pulling the load alongside his quite capable
sidemen. Sam Yahel in particular is a great member of the mule team, switching up tracks on Fender Rhodes, organ, or
acoustic piano. Bassist Matt Clohesy, a modern jazz player deserving wider recognition, plays his central figure in these
dialogues well, while drummer Jon Wikan is a new name to most, asserting his musicality in a professional, finite, and
unobtrusive manner. The symmetry between Waldorff and McCaslin is obvious from the start on the uncomplicated and breezy
"Daze" done in a 7/8 time signature trickle charged by electric piano, as well as the simple laid-back waltz line of "Espresso
Crescent" and the spacious, unhurried deep blue ballad "Eel Thye Deeflat." Measured steps are doled out in increments, not
giant steps, during the light Brazilian piece penned by Maria Schneider "Choro Dancado" with Waldorff switching up rhythm and
lead lines, while Yahel's piano measures the precise proportions for the singsong "Skyliner," a piece that approaches both bop
and New Orleans shuffle. Yahel's Fender Rhodes work is best heard on the serene and soulful "Heimat" with Waldorff's slight
echo guitar, and his organ playing for "JWS" approaches country and hymnal refrains alongside McCaslin's sweet tenor. A
bluesy creep "Man in the Black Hat" is written by Wikan in a darker and modal slink, while "Squealfish" (soli composed by Joel
Miller) is the quickest, most angular number in 3/4 time, with Waldorff's tiny notes contrasted against a steely tone. A very
consistent and enjoyable date, it is one that most guitar fans will find refreshing. Waldorff's further efforts should easily prove as
enlightening as this one. - Michael G. Nastos

"Ottawa Citizen"

Guitar-sax combinations on the frontline of jazz groups have become a trend.
Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner set the standard, but dynamic music has also
come from Torben Waldorff and Donny McCaslin, together for the second time on
CD. The heady unison playing by the Danish guitarist and American saxophonist,
especially on Squealfish and Espresso Crescent, is exhilarating. On Maria
Schneider's Choro Dancado it's sweet and lilting. Their solo work is terrific
throughout. McCaslin's romp on Daze is scorching, worth the price of the CD on
its own. Waldorff's expansive solo on Heimat is rich and soulful.
While the CD doesn't match Rosenwinkel's recent The Remedy for its command
and creativity, it is nevertheless an impressive display of jazz played at the
highest level.
Doug Fischer - Doug Fischer

"Montreal Gazette"

Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff has a decidedly New York sound - edgy and
intense, yet lyrical and accessible - in this exciting session, and how can it be
otherwise in a quintet with some of that city's finest younger players. They are
Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), Sam Yahel (piano, Fender Rhodes and organ), bassist
Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon Wikan. McCaslin's vibrant tenor and improvisational
drive is dominant on virtually every track, easily a CD highlight. Waldorff is certainly
a fluid player, recalling the timbre of Pat Metheny, and fine composer
of six of nine tunes, with Montreal's Joel Miller and Maria Schneider and Wikan
contributing the others. As a leader, Waldorff likes music and arrangements that
bite, but also give pause to reflect and savour. Rating 4 - Irwin Block


Guitarist Torben Waldorff’s latest release Afterburn is a collection of cruising bop melodies
with lively harmonies that seam the instrument layers as inlays of avant-garde
improvisations are made, which the musicians spontaneously compose while living in the
moment of the pieces as they respond to each other’s ideas. Though Waldorff was born in
Denmark and is now resides in the Oresund Region of Malmö, Sweden, he pursued his
studies at Berklee College of Music from 1984-'88, where he met saxophonist Donny
McCaslin, who, along with bassist Matt Clohesy, drummer Jon Wikan, and pianist Sam
Yahel, make up Waldorff’s quintet on Afterburn. Torben Waldorff’s guitar playing works to
compliment the saxophone and piano themes, more so than it does to create
grandstanding interludes. As a listener, you have a sense that the musicians act as a
cohesive unit and no one particular instrument masts the sails entirely. Rather, everyone
works together in making the band’s proverbial schooner reach its destination.
Produced by Torben Waldorff and co-produced by Maggi Olin and David Carlsson, Afterburn
is a tribute to Waldorff’s grandmother, Lore Woger, who graces the CD’s cover. Waldorff
tells in a press release that she “was a variety artist working venues and clubs in central
Europe through the 1920’s.” Her talent to improvise skits and choreography may have
affected Waldorff subliminally as, like his grandmother, he is an avid fan of improvised
scores. The opener “Daze” bangs out a flurry of twittering horns and jamboree piano keys
in an array of combinations with the rhythm section producing intervals of hurried stomps
and widely spaced flaps. The guitar parts are subdued and act as an integral part of the
entire fast paced cycling, though the guitar takes a more prominent role in “JWS” and
“Espresso Crescent” coating the melodies In folk-jazz cobblestones. The tunes have an
upright jazz stride that allows the music to stand up straight and proud. Notes show
contrasts as their flowering buds and receding lines crisscross. There are moments when
the notes are not neatly stacked but stray away from each other and sprayed haphazardly
as the band indulges in improvised phrasing and experimental urges. Very little is
regulated in these compositions, which opens them up to liberating sensations.
The tango steps of Waldorff’s rendition of Maria Schneider’s classic piece “Choro Dancado”
have sharp and fluid movements that segue into the smooth smoldering jazz nocturne of
“Heimat,” which dips into a buffet of reflective modulations. The twittering shutters are
lightweight as the notes move like silky waves. The interlacing motifs of “Squealfish”
translate into multiple babbling brooks with designs that fit into each other like a
complicated jigsaw puzzle. The quintet seem to have established their own code to tell
each other what to play, but the listener feels absolutely clueless as to what is going on
and how the band is making this all happen. The lounging jazz orifices of “Eel Thye
Deeflat” allow the instruments to deflate and roam about casually while picking up speed on the following track “Skyliner,” which is scenic in it statuesque piano lines and a swing
jazz vibe perched by the horns and rhythm section. The rambling bluesy horns of “Man In
The Black Hat” are cushioned by lounging jazz piano sequences and drum strikes that fall
into the pockets and sometimes they hit outside of them.
The compositions have minimal structures which allows the musicians to open themselves
up to experimental verses and odd links in the pieces. Waldorff says in a press release
about his avant-garde approach to creating music that “Some people actually get a little
bit frustrated by this approach. They want to know exactly what is going on with the
music. But I like to keep things open enough so that weird things can happen, where you
end up with those beautiful mistakes. That’s where really exciting things happen.”
Afterburn takes listeners into that world where rationality slips into the subconscious mind
which is called upon to make a decision with only a gut instinct for guidance. It’s like flying
without a safety net and without a rule book to tell you how not to fall. It’s totally
dependent on sheet instinct, very similar to Torben Waldorff’s grandmother who relied on
her instincts to come up with the choreography for her performances on stage. - Susan Frances

"Jazzman France(translated) "Choc Du Mois" highest rating"

Good grief, what a hit! To start with, the Waldorff-McCaslin couple. In this genres ideal association between a guitarist and tenor sax we have recently heard Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner or Ben Monder and Jerome Sabbagh. But this new collaboration of the danish guitarist (residing in Sweden) and the saxophonist revealed to us through Maria Schneider and Dave Douglas goes even further in matter of interplay and potential: with diabolic precision, their phrases makes - together or successively - great moments of dishevelled lyricism. On ride hell for leather tempos, they indulge amused in unison lines and controlled skids with extreme musicality. In 2006, as a quartet, they released the well-named” Brilliance” (4 stars in Jazzman in November 2006). The great idea this time is to have the same band and add the keyboards of Sam Yahel (unexpectedly and mind-blowing at the piano on Squealfish and Skyliner). The young rhythm section is at insolent playful ease from beginning to the end: level of Drew Gress and Nasheet Waits… But over all, it is enormous McCaslin that pushes everyone to give more than their best. The ”reduced” version of Maria Schneider’s Choro Dançado is thus played in a state of grace… If it were time for a group emblematic to the topic 2008 of the Jazz Festival à La Villette (” Jazz is not dead”), it would be this. Terribly good jazz, insolently extrovert, incredibly revitalizing. Brilliant. - Alex Dutilh

"Jazzman in french"Choc Du Mois" Highest rating"

Bon sang, quelle claque! À commencer par le couple Waldorff-McCaslin. Dans le genre association idéale entre un guitariste et un sax ténor, il y a eu récemment Kurt Rosenwinkel et Mark Turner ou Ben Monder et Jérôme Sabbagh. Mais la nouvelle collaboration du guitariste danois(installé en Suède) et du saxophoniste révélé par Maria Schneider et Dave Douglas pousse le bouchon encore plus loin en matière d’osmose et de potentiel: d’une précision diabolique, leurs phrasés sont – ensemble ou succesivement – de grands moments de lyrisme échevelé. Sur des tempos à bride abattue, ils d’amusement d’unissons et de dérapages contrôlés d’une musicalité extrême. Ils avaient publié en 2006 un bien nommé ”Brilliance” en quartet (4 étoiles dans Jazzman de novembre 2006). La grande idée cette fois est de reprendre les mêmes et de faire aux claviers de Sam Yahel (inattendu et époustouflant au piano dans Squealfish et Skyliner). La rythmique juvénile est insolente d’aisance d’un bout à l’autre: du niveau de Drew Gress et Nasheet Waits…Mais par dessus tout, c’est un énorme McCaslin qui pousse tout le monde à donner plus que le milleur de lui-même. La version ”réduite” du Choro Dançado de Maria Schneider est ainsi jouée en état de grâce… S’il était temps de donner un groupe emblématique au thème 2008 du festival Jazz à La Villette (”Jazz is not dead”), ce serait celuilà. Terriblement jazz, insolemment extraverti, sacrément vitalisant. Brillantissime.
- Alex Dutilh


Jazz guitarists are oft-times forgotten in this post-
Metheny/post-Scofield era. But there are many
rising stars such as Lage Lund , Miles Okazaki and
Mike Moreno who are poised to carry the flame
even farther. Torben Waldorff is another torchbearer
whose Afterburn pinpoints his growing
This is his second ArtistShare release, following
2006's Brilliance: Live at the 55 Bar, further showing a player with a distinct
presence whose music conveys modernism and his Scandinavian roots.
Thoughtful compositions unfold with the working quintet from Brilliance
comprised of saxophonist Donny McCaslin (Maria Schneider Orchestra,
Dave Douglas Quintet), B3 organ-guru Sam Yahel (Joshua Redman, Peter
Bernstein, Norah Jones), and bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon Wikan,
both with extensive credits.
Afterburn is kaleidoscopic. The bright lights of “Daze,” a hip upbeat rocker
with exhaustingly detailed guitar/sax unison and McCaslin's devastating
solo, or the mellow Sunday morning vibe of “JWS,” with Yahel's angelic
organ, all illustrate the band's chemistry as well as Waldorff's playing. Hints
of the “Nordic vibe” are present on “Choro Dancado” and “Skyliner,”
tunes that mix old world melodies with new influences. There's fast
blowing, mid-tempo and also slower pieces like “Eel Thye Deeflat,” that are
filled with melodic acuity.
With a slightly processed tone, Waldorff's is equally impressive whether
soloing or comping. He fluid precision rips the swinging “Espresso
Crescent” and expands a soulful solo on “Heimat” as Clohesy and Wikan
hold everything together superbly. His performance alone would be enough,
but when paired with McCaslin's fiery tenor, the recording is all the more
Having known one another since the 1980s, Waldorff and McCaslin have a
communication reminiscent of other contemporary guitar/sax
collaborations: Kurt Rosenwinkel/Mark Turner (The Remedy
(ArtistShare,2008)) and Ben Monder/Jerome Sabbagh (Pogo
(Sunnyside,2007)). Their combined voices on “Squealfish” are stunning,
inspired and driven by each other's, and while McClaslin's voice is sonically
the strongest; it is a clear testament to Waldorff's confidence and
unselfishness as an emerging leader with much promise. - Mark F. Turner


Torben Waldorff "American Rock Beauty" on ArtistShare 2010
Torben Waldorff "Afterburn" ArtistShare 2008
Torben Waldorff Quartet, Brilliance, live at 55 Bar, nyc. (2006)
"Squealfish" 2004, "No Bass/Hello World" 1999, at LJ-Records (iTunes)



On American Rock Beauty, out on ArtistShare, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Jon Wikan join leader Waldorff once again. Helping to take the music to a new level of intensity is new man onboard, pianist Jon Cowherd (Brian Blade Fellowship, Rosanne Cash). Together they make what critic Doug Ramsey, writing about their previous CD Afterburn, calls “...expansive jazz of the kind that thrives in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and is spreading around the world. Waldorff, McCaslin and Yahel are leaders among the articulate standard bearers of the movement.”
Critics have praised Waldorff’s previous efforts for their spirit, balance, and the telepathic understanding among band members. These same qualities are all present on American Rock Beauty, as the quintet leads the listener through a sophisticated blend of styles and beats. There is range of musical atmospheres at play on the album, but they all become one in the hands of these dynamic musicians..”
“Music has a way of making everything beautiful,” Waldorff says. “Music can express feelings that come from any range of positive or negative within a human. Even a very difficult emotional condition expressed through music will have a beauty to it.”
Torben Waldorff’s new “American Rock Beauty” is a compelling celebration of the power of music to transform the human experience into beauty.

Press Quotes

”American Rock Beauty” has earfeel as a fine Burgundy has mouthfeel. -Carlo Wolff, JAZZTIMES, May 2010.

Never overplaying, Waldorff seems to tease the maximum amount of emotion from every note he plays.- Dr. Matt Warnock, MODERN GUITARIST

Torben Waldorff may have composed one of the best albums I’ve heard so far in 2010. -Paul Pelon IV, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION

It is a marvelous piece of music… -music that is diverse, rich in detail and abiding musicality. -Jerry D'Souza,
.. paint vivid pictures with music full of great playing and soul. -John Heidt, VINTAGE GUITAR

It's all built brick by brick, always moving forward but never getting ahead of the point, and the end result is so rewarding… - J. Hunter,

A totally sophisticated outing that a populist can enjoy, that this cat is here to stay as a leader is undisputable. - C. Spector, MIDWEST RECORD

With deep empathy, the title song is superb. Its slowed tempo captures a vivid moment in time. -Mark F. Turner,

It's making it come across naturally and uncontrived that is where the big accomplishment lies. --- They let the radiant beauty that is found in American Rock Beauty come to the listener in a intuitive, natural way. - Pico, SOMETHING ELSE! REVIEWS.

Waldorff shows himself to be a virtuoso guitarist with a great sensitivity for image, emotion and expression, all of which take precedence over his technique. His writing eschews pomp and circumstance, veering toward simplicity and melody over musical devices.- Raul d'Gama Rose,