R.I.P. Jens Winther

Danish trumpeter, composer and arranger Jens Winther died in his sleep while in Geneva on Thursday Feb. 24. Jens was 50 and had been living in Berlin since forming the JW Berlin Quintet in 2009. I only saw him perform three times: first with drummer Ed Thigpen’s Scantett at the Toronto Jazz Festival, then with his own group at the Nordic Jazz Festival in Washington D.C., and finally at the late night hotel jam session during the Vancouver Jazz Festival. He liked to hang and talk music, and he always seemed to be reaching into his bag to hand me a CD of his latest project. Jens sounded good in every setting, from big bands and funk to intimate ballads. But I loved to hear him do his hard-bop thing. Here’s a clip showing Jens backstage in his red jacket jamming with fellow trumpeter Tom Harrell and bassist Anders Christensen. The video quality is amateurish but worth watching, especially after the first 30 seconds. It captures his command of the language and his playful, soulful spirit. Thank you, Jens.



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