Upon Duke Jordan's initial visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by his decision to make the move as an expatriate permanent, he was tempted to stay by playing with some extraordinary Scandinavian rhythm sections. Bassist Mads Vinding, one of many skilled Danish jazz bassists, is here on the date performing in fine style. Drummer Ed Thigpen, who left the U.S. to take up permanent residence in Europe, was an even bigger influence in making Jordan's decision a good one, and is an equally skillful musical partner on this date. This is an expanded edition from the previous original issue on the Steeplechase label; a Japanese import with several alternate takes. It's an understated session for the most part, equal parts melancholy and hopeful, as one might expect with the trepidation of leaving home for new, unknown horizons to be discovered in a foreign land. The upbeat songs, as the modal, popping, tom-tom driven "No Problem" (from the movie soundtrack Les Liason Dangereuses) and the famous bop flag-waver "Jordu," bookend the CD.
Onwards To Mars! is the twentieth anniversary release from the big Balkan brass band that is Fanfare Ciocărlia. One of the finest live acts on Earth, the band's energy, musicality and sheer unfettered sense of fun readily translate to record, making this album one of the most uplifting and cheerful collections one could wish to hear.