Death of a great jazz trumpeter
February 28, 2011 by Norman Lebrecht
Jens Winther, the meditative Danish master, has died in Geneva, aged 50. He appears to have suffered a stroke, while asleep.
Jens Winther was born in Denmark in 1960 and started to learn the trumpet at age 10. In 1978 he became a professional freelance trumpet player in the jazz area. In 1982 Jens was appointed solo trumpet player in the Danish Radio Big Band which he began writing for three years later.
In 1989 he left the Big Band and made the big move to New York, due to an invitation to join a two-year workshop under the direction of Bob Brookmeyer. He worked as a professional trumpet player in New York with various groups and musicians such as Toshiko Akoishi Band, Eddie Palmieri, Kenny Barron, Max Roach, Tito Puente, Marie Bauza Orchestra, George Mraz, Xavier Cugat Orchestra, and others. He has worked full time since 1991 as a composer and trumpet soloist besides having his own small group (Jens Winther Group).
On May 5th 1994 Jens performed his first Trumpet-concerto for Symphony Orchestra, “Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra”. The concerto was subsequently performed at an international music festival in Riga.
In 1998 Jens was commissioned to work for the Metropole Orchestra in Holland (60 piece orchestra) where he also acted as a soloist. He was then commissioned to work for the Danish Radio Big Band and the Danish Radio Concert Choir. Jens toured with George Gruntz Concert band in Oct-Nov 1998.
On April 29th 1999 Jens teamed up with Århus Symphonic Orchestra for the first performance with the 2nd. Trumpet concerto “The Eagle” in Århus Musikhus.
Shortly after that he composed “Pluto and Beyond”, a 40 min. commissioned work for the Metropole Orchestra.
Since then Jens has been touring with his own group and various German small groups internationally.
Throughout the years Jens Winther has toured with such great musicians as Joe Henderson, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Bob Brookmeyer, Thad Jones, Al Foster and George Gruntz.
Jens has also had the opportunity to perform with Miles Davis (on “Aura”), Abdullah Ibrahim, Hermeto Pascoal, Michel Camillo, Dizzy Gillespie, Cella Cruz and Clark Terry to name but a few.
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