Denmark is not a country that you readily associate with the warm flush Brazilian tones of Bossa Nova. However it is that country that has brought us The Bob Nova Project, a band made up of experienced and well traveled musicians. Utilizing their undeniable talent they bring us a refreshing mix of Bossa Nova , Jazz and Pop. The band consists of Sverre Stein Nielsen (vocals / acoustic guitar) , Thomas Engelhardt Rasmussen (electric guitar) , Peter Bjerrum (Drums), Freddy Rasmussen (Saxophone (tenor and soprano)) , and Ole Ulvedal (Bass).
Well, Thomas and I – who produce and write all the Bob Nova Project material – met each other a couple of decades ago and since then we’ve been on a never ending musical journey through different genres like rock, pop, electronica and Americana. After releasing three albums with the Americana/rock band Funky Nashville, we were looking for a new music style to work with. After a few goes on techno and reggae (yeah, we are weird) we ended up with bossa nova. I had a couple of very old bossa nova compositions in my drawer and we arranged them and invited some jazz people to record a demo. Actually just for the fun of it, but we fell in love with the result and decided to go all in for recording an entire album with original bossa material. One and a half year later we released our first album New View.

The 1964 album Getz/Gilberto with its incredible performances and fantastic compositions is definitely the album that introduced the genre to us all. Thomas and I have been listening to the album a lot before ever playing the genre, but Peter (drums), Ole (bass) and Freddy (Saxophone – Thomas’ dad by the way) have been playing jazz for years so they’ve all been playing the odd bossa nova classics in various contexts.

Bossa nova is not big in Denmark. We do have a few bands playing solely bossa but mostly it’s just the odd bossa nova in a jazz set with standards etc. Often it’s the Brazilian classics that people play or “bossafied” standards or pop songs. In terms of entire albums of original composed vocal tunes we’re the only band in Denmark as far as I know.
As I mentioned before the first album was created almost by accident. A small demo get-together turned out really well and people who listened to the material afterwards responded very positively. We recorded and mixed New View ourselves in our home studios, and the album got some very good reviews. We wanted to get on the road with our new music but we didn’t have quite enough songs to play, so we started creating new music immediately and soon we had enough material to play live gigs.
This meant that when we got around to recording our second album Sleepers Express a couple of years later, we we’re really well prepared. This time we went to a studio and recorded almost everything in a day and the result was a little warmer and more organic live sound. That said, the two albums do have the same sound and atmosphere. On Sleepes Express though we invited Norwegian rising star singer Live Foyn Friis to do a couple of duets, and the outcome was fantastic.
Well, personally as a composer I have always sought the singable melody in the line of especially the Beatles and of course Carlos Jobim. Collectively when performing we try to play simple and beautifully like the mentioned.
Yes, the concept so far has been to play our own music (with the exception of one instrumental cover on the second album). We’re crazy enough to think that our new original tunes are just as good as the old classics. And oh yes, it is not easy in a small country like Denmark to convince venues to book a bossa nova band with original material, but we are stubborn and do our best.
For now it’s just playing gigs over the summer. And we’re about to release our second album in Thailand. We would love to release our music in other countries too as we think it has got a very broad appeal, so that’s another project for the future. And of course continue writing the good songs.