I have often heard non-bass-playing players talk about the bass, saying things like, You have to be able to handle the instrument, you have to take control of it, it is so unwieldy. You need long, strong fingers and a strong sense of harmonic foundation. The double bass, acoustic bass, or stand-up, however you wish to describe it, is a music-making machine. It can appear to be a formidable one, though. Its size evokes a sense of demand. Like piano players, bass players may be spoken of as having a command of, or needing to have a command of, their instrument.

Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen commanded, and with that command made you forget all about the physicality of the instrument and instead experience its depth and richness of sound. It’s a pitch and register that sounds like an organic expression of soul.

When I listen to recordings of whale sounds or watch a nature documentary featuring some of those magnificent, massive animals, I am transported and lost in a beautiful distraction that almost erases the size and optic and holds with a sensory wash. Pedersen’s bass sings, leads and guides as it sweetly takes away focus on the immensity of the viol, just like the glorious sounds of whales in communication with each other. No doubt telling us all something we must know, it can take you, transport you, into story and message.