Christian X Variations (Audial Records, 2011) is a social and political statement by pianist Soren Moller. Named for King Christian X’s effort to protect Danish Jews from Nazis during World War II, the set is Moller’s celebration of everyone who stands against discrimination and mistreatment of minorities.

The music was recorded live in concert at Ronshoved Hosjkole in Denmark. Although the performance sounds like what you might expect from a live show, the recording does not include audience reaction or any vocal introduction.
Two tracks are done by the quartet of Moller; Dick Oatts , saxophones; Josh Ginsburg, bass; and Henry Cole, drums. For the other songs, the Kirin Winds join in. The players are Jorunn Solloes, flute; Sai Kai, oboe; Nicolai Eghorst, clarinet; Jeppe Rasmussen, horn; and Catarina Zeh, bassoon. Rather than thematic or inspirational titles, the tracks are simply titled sequentially, according to the lineup.

“Nonet I” is a 10-minute piece that digs deep into Moller’s musical consciousness. From the first bar, it explores several moods, featuring different leads. At times, it’s a cool jazz song, but then it shifts into something of an orchestral overture. Oatts plays the soprano sax with the kind of verve reminiscent of Coltrane.

“Kvartet II” is a straightforward piece. With a bright tempo, the leads of Moller and Oatts carry the tune. Cole shines in the background but also has a brief solo, mixing some deft work on the high hats with timely cymbal crashes and tom rolls. The piano is intense in its support of the tenor sax. Oatts makes the latter instrument scream during some of the more passionate phrases.

Moller began playing piano at age 8, and has studied in Copenhagen as well as New York City. His educational and professional associations include Kenny Barron, Chris Washburne, Ole Mathison and Fred Hersch. Christian X Variations further solidifies Moller’s standing as a composer and musician.