The dulcet sounds of the suburbs

Once a year, the day-to-day rhythms of Valby become syncopated and, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the sleepy Copenhagen suburb is the hippest and coolest place to be. Since 2010, the passion and dedication of Danish saxophonist Benjamin Koppel has seen his labour of love, the eight-day Valby Summer Jazz festival, add a touch of vibrancy to the suburb. The festival is rapidly emerge as one of northern Europe’s most distinguished jazz festivals. With international artists merging into one-off ensembles, the festival boldly proclaims its intention to reinvent jazz, mingling and merging genres during the whole festival.

Last year was a resounding success, with jazz giants such as Randy Brecker, Jim Hall, Lee Konitz and Brian Blake receiving rave reviews. The 2013 festival promises to push traditional boundaries even further by exploring seemingly impossible fusions between jazz, choral, electronica and classical. All concerts during the festival carry the distinctive Koppel brand: an open, playful approach to music and an aim to broaden the concept of jazz to entirely new audiences.


Admittedly the little brother of the bigger Copenhagen Jazz Festival, the more intimate Valby event welcomes a whole host of great international stars such as Davíd Sanchez, Scott Colley, Joe Lovano, Audun Kleive, Palle Danielsson, Kenny Werner and, quite a scoop this, a rare visit from The Cookers, the legendary band of the golden age of the Blue Note Jazz Club, featuring jazz giants Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart.


The concerts are spread across a number of different venues, including the plush historic setting of the 500-seat Betty Nansen theatre in Frederiksberg, and a converted porcelain factory and now arts centre, Prøvehallen, which will have a more intimate atmosphere with just 250 seats.


The festival kicked off in a fun way with three days of free music from June 28-30 in the open air of the Spinderiet shopping centre. However, the real jazz enthusiasts have been waiting for the main event: eight glorious days of incredible music starting on Saturday July 6. Here is our selection of the best concerts on offer.


Valby Summer Jazz
Prøvehallen, Porcelænstorvet, Valby & Betty Nansen Theatre, Edisonvej 10, Frederiksberg; starts Sat, ends July 13; tickets prices vary,;



The Cookers
These jazz veterans and kindred spirits frequently perform at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.  You won’t find a more authentic or talented ensemble than this all-star band. The spirit of the mid ‘60s and American jazz club atmosphere is recreated with the pyrotechnics of some of the heaviest hitters on the scene. It’s a concert you don’t want to miss.
Prøvehallen; Mon 18:00 & 20:30; tickets 245kr

Joe Lovano & Benjamin Koppel Mezzo Sax Meeting
An evening of saxual healing is in store as American legend Joe Lovano, one of the all-time tenor saxophone greats, duets with Benjamin Koppel. American jazz and Scandinavian sounds will be backed up by Palle Danielsson’s 50 years of professional experience on double bass and Audun Kleive on drums.
Betty Nansen; Tue 18:00 & 20:30; tickets 270kr


Ars Nova Copenhagen
It will be a family affair when the festival explodes into life as pioneering jazz violinist John Blake Jr and his son and whirlwind drummer Johnathan Blake are joined by Anders Koppel on the Hammond organ and saxophonist Benjamin Koppel in two compositions written by the dads. The Ars Nova choir ensemble join them on stage to create a fascinating cocktail of Danish choral music and American jazz.
Betty Nansen; Sat 18:00 & 20:30; tickets 270kr

Tiger presents: Klezmofobia
Valby kicks off the festival in a festive atmosphere. You might have come across their CDs on sale in the ubiquitous Tiger shops. Klezmofobia mixes energetic Balkan jazz and Scandinavian melancholia.

Prøvehallen; Sat 18:00 & 20:30; tickets 20kr

Anders Koppel & Kenny Werner Duo
Anders Koppel and Kenny Werner have an uncannily telepathic musical relationship. Combine a laid-back brunch from sponsors Annes Gademad  with the meditative melodics of a Hammond organ and piano.
Prøvehallen; Sun 11:00; tickets 200kr

Scott Colley Quintet feat David Sanchez & Kenny Werner
Scott Colley is an energetic US bandleader and virtuoso bassist. On Sunday evening, Valby gets to taste the vibes of the legendary Blue Note Jazz Club. Scott Colley is joined by prominent musicians Benjamin Koppel, Kenny Werner, Jonathan Blake and Puerto Rico’s finest: the one and only jazz tenor saxophonist David Sánchez.
Prøvehallen; Sun 18:00 & 20:30; tickets 195kr

The BigBand and The Vocals feat Katrine Madsen & Tupac Mantilla
Enjoy the dusky tones of Danish jazz vocalist Katrine Madsen, Mads Pagsberg’s 20-strong BigBand, and one of the most versatile and creative percussionists of his generation, Columbia’s Tupac Mantilla, whose spectacular body solos often steal the show. The concert will range from swing and Latin to film scores, and from classical compositions to minimalism.
Prøvehallen; Fri July 12, 19:30; tickets 195kr

Erann DD + Maria Montell + Bobo Moreno + Marie Carmen Koppel
An all-star evening of jazzy glamour as Danish pop, soul and jazz crooners Maria Montell, Erann DD and Marie Carmen Koppel take the audience on a nostalgic trip down memory lane with soulful renditions of evergreens such as ‘Smile’, ‘What a Wonderful World’ and ‘When I Fall In Love’, backed by one of Denmark’s finest jazz quartets. Book early as this concert is bound to be popular.
Betty Nansen; Fri July 12, 18:00 & 20:30; tickets 270kr


Marilyn Mazur & Hans Ulrik + Mirako Hirabayashi + Klavs Hovman+ Tritonus Choir
This is an inspired way to end the festival, with the brilliant Marilyn Mazur Quartet’s rhythmical and melodic improvisations impossibly fusing with the uplifting classical chorals of the Tritonius Choir. Mazur, who has worked together with no less than artists such as Miles Davis and Jan Garbarek, is one the most prominent percussionists in Denmark. The concert features Mazur’s irregular meters and compositions by Tritonius choir conductor Lise Christensen Bjerno, creating a rather potent and poignant musical cocktail.

Betty Nansen; Sat July 13, 19:30; tickets 220kr

Ole Kock Hansen’s A Very Big Band feat Marie Carmen Koppel, Benjamin Koppel & Alex Riel
Pianist Ole Kock Hansen is a true legend of Danish jazz and brings his own ‘A Very Big Band’ to Valby together with Benjamin and Marie Carmen Koppel, and one of the giants of Danish drumming, Alex Riel. Swing, gospel, jazz ballads and bebop will be showcased to the dulcet vocals of Marie Carmen Koppel
Prøvehallen; Thu 18:00 & 20:30; tickets 195kr

Markus Stockhausen + Kenny Werner + Anders Koppel + Benjamin Koppel + Audun Kleive
One of Europe’s most distinguished trumpeters, Germany’s Markus Stockhausen, the son of composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, brings his talents to the fore in an all-star band that will play an exciting blend of classical and rhythmical music.
Betty Nansen; Mon 19:30; tickets 220kr

Double concert: Katrine Gislinge + Benjamin Koppel + DJ Noize – Jacob Anderskov’s Strings, Percussion & Piano
In a ‘jazzical’ double concert, two phenomenal piano players from Denmark bring their skills on the ivories to new arenas: classical concert pianist Katrine Gislinge goes head to head with Benjamin Koppel on saxophone and DJ Noize on the turntables in an intriguing set. Then, jazz pianist Jacob Anderskov, joined by a string trio and drums, presents a mix of new compositions and improvisations.
Betty Nansen; Wed 19:30; tickets 220kr