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Europe Jazz Media Chart

Oktober 2023


Krzysztof Komorek, Donos kulturalny

Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: FAMILY (WeJazz)

Gard Nilssen has managed to create an orchestra that, in this competitive environment, is at the very top, if not on the top step of the podium. The friendly and even – as the title suggests – familial understanding within the orchestra paid off with sensational music. I will repeat here one of the compliments that came to my mind after hearing the group live: they are simply cosmically superb.


Jan Granlie,


Todd Sickafoose: BEAR PROOF (SHC54)

Todd Sickafoose is an American jazz and rock musician, composer and producer from San Francisco. He is best known for playing acoustic bass and keyboards with rock vocalist Ani DiFranco but has also led his own group: Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors. On his new release, he collaborates with Jenny Scheinmann (vln), Adam Levy (g), Erik Deutsch (p), Ben Goldberg (cl), Kirk Knuffke (cnt), Rob Reich (acc) and Allison Miller (d), while Sickafoose (b) is responsible for the nine compositions. And it’s a tough and varied record that we get to listen to. Sickafosoe writes interesting compositions that challenge the driven “team” of fellow musicians, and the composition of instruments works extremely well throughout the recording. Of course, we allow ourselves, as always, to be fascinated by Knuffke’s playing. Here, there is as much tradition as innovation in the game, and Levy fits perfectly into the context. But I am most impressed by the bass and Miller’s fine drums, which draw the music into a fine landscape. And where Scheinmann gets to shine with her violin playing, it sounds brilliant. And Goldberg’s clarinet playing is ongoing and fine, and where he gets to frolic, it swings impeccably. The music is extremely varied, with inspirations from many different musical genres, from swing, via klezmer and Americana to solid free jazz. And all the way through, the music is fun, interesting, and exciting, and throughout, the band performs excellently.


Dick Hovenga, Written in Music


Matthew Halsall: AN EVER CHANGING VIEW (Gondwana)

The soulful spiritual jazz that Halsall makes is by now a world all its own. To a benevolent body of work, he now adds an insanely beautiful new album. Halsall, with his constantly beautiful melodic trumpet lines, sets the beacons on which he allows the other musicians to improvise. Halsall is not so much a virtuoso soloist as he is a perfect creator of atmosphere, exactly what his compositions need to keep them captivating. A true bandleader, then, who understands exactly what is needed where and trusts the musicians around him optimally.


Christine Stephan, Jazzthetik


Lars Cölln (alias Cologne): COMON SENSE (Elevating)


Viktor Bensusan,

David Enhco & Marc Perrenoud: CHET (Nome)

French David Enhco’s (tp) and Swiss Marc Perrenoud’s (p) standard (both as adjective and noun) interpretation is as simple and striking as the late Chet’s:
The horn and his life, he blew;
For him, the songs were there to meow,
Finally, in old Amsterdam, he flew...


Nuno Catarino,


Anna Lundqvist Lisboa Cinco: SOU ANNA (Prophone)

Swedish singer-songwriter Anna Lundqvist decided to form a new group: in the quintet Lisboa Cinco we hear her alongside Desidério Lázaro (s), Daniel Bernardes (p), André Carvalho (b), and Joel Silva (d). On this debut record, the quintet presents well-designed songs with a sophisticated pop flavor and impeccable interpretation. Lundqvist’s voice is solid and guides the group, with an instrumental tapestry that displays great competence.


Henning Bolte, freelance


Orquesta Del Tiempo Perdido: SEPK (Shhpuma)

While presently everything is ‘mixed’ with everything, ODTP turns away from that practice. Musical impressions from various corners seem to lie scattered in the listener’s memory and makes their jerky way into slithering recreation. As a result, we get highly exact non-exactness in the musical movements and highly styled styleless musical gestures. The music of “sepk” (what’s in the ‘word’?) doesn’t stumble, loosing balance, no, not at all.
    The music runs after itself, shadowless. But nonetheless we (not completely) understand the music loosing itself, running with grace outside the track, outside the grooves. It’s kind of surrealistic Surrealism, normality fallen out of time on it itself with greetings from Don van Vliet, Tom Ze and Jacques Tati. It’s the sharpness of dreaming and all through finding ways beyond prescriptive tuning and rhythmic logic. It has the feeling of old silent films as an estranged but sharply uncovering mirror of “dayalities”.
    By reasoning about this music, thoughts and sentences expressing them can extend rampantly while Jeroen Kimman as inventor piloting his great Amsterdam musicians through that strangely beautiful garden of sounds, can capture it in ultra short pieces. Titles as flep, mugambi mestre station or ritorno in ritardo are illusionistic enough to dream your way into and out of it, again and again.


Tony Dudley-Evans, LondonJazz News (UK)


Zoe Rahman: COLOUR OF SOUND (Manushi)

COLOUR OF SOUND features the intricate and vibrant compositions by Zoe Rahman, and a large ensemble built around the core trio of Rahman (p), Alec Dankworth (b) and Gene Calderazzo (d). The front line has an excellent mix of youth and experience with Alex Ridout (tp) and Rosie Turton (tb), then Rowland Sutherland (fl), Zoe’s brother Idris Rahman (s / cl), and Byron Wallen (tp). In previous projects Zoe Rahman has been keen to explore her Bengali background, but this album is very much a jazz album.


Patrik Sandberg, Jazz


Per Texas Johansson: ORKESTER OMNITAL (Moserobie)

ORKESTER OMNITONAL was born from the idea of creating a larger independent ensemble with musicians from varying environments and backgrounds, classical, jazz, impro. The starting point was the compositions that classical composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Bela Bartok wrote as commissions for Benny Goodman and Woody Herman (EBONY CONCERTO, CONTRASTS) compositions that hardly contained any improvisation and were very demanding for the big bands. With this as inspiration, ORKESTER OMNITONAL has recorded three new works by Viktor Skokic, Johan Lindström and Per Texas Johansson, Classical and jazz combined in a good third-stream spirit.


Cim Meyer, Jazz Special


Hila Puntur: PLASTIC POLAROID (Hout)

The meaning of the name Hila Puntur based in Basel eludes me, but the leader and composer is Anna Hirsch (voc) strongly supported by Fabian Willmann (ts), Garðar Eðvaldsson (ts), Stephan Plecher (key), Michael Anklin (electr.), Victor Rossé (b), and Michael Heidepriem (d) – a Swiss-German-Icelandic-Australian formation.
    They conduct experiments with multifaceted avant-pop, free improvisation, electronics, and acoustics on this debut album. And everything is interwoven with rhythmic interlacing, delicate soundscapes, electronic beats and loving, simple songs. They create a sound collage that draws the listener into a web of intense timbres and structures. It is urban electronic influenced by jazz – a very produced release with loops and other gadgets in use. And Swiss Anna Hirsch has an appealing blueish and oriental hue in her vocal.


Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid


Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra: FAMILY (WeJazz)


Matthieu Jouan,


Parquet: SPARKLES & MUD (Carton)

Parquet is a group of guys who play music without worrying about what’s going on outside. It’s all straight ahead, nose to the grindstone and full throttle. And it works like a charm. Typically the kind of music that’s intoxicating and danceable, roborative and catchy, but also a little soaring if you’re as “focused” as the musicians. So, it's waxed parquet.
    With Seb Brun, Julien Desprez, Nicolas Cueille, Guillaume Magne, Jean-François Riffaud, Clément Édouard, Simon Henocq.


Axel Stinshoff, Jazz thing


Wolfgang Muthspiel: DANCE OF THE ELDERS (ECM)


Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica


Maria Kannegaard Trio: LIVE AT DOKKHUSET (Jazzland)


Yves Tassin, JazzMania


Don Kapot: I Love Tempo (W.E.R.F.)

Enthusiasm always pays off in the end...


Jos Demol,


Fnussjen: BREATHE (W.E.R.F.)

If an album of the year is to be chosen at all, Fnussjen’s BREATHE is already definitely at the top. (Bernard Lefèvre)


Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More


Berz Toshinori Laswell: BREATH VS. BEATS (Everest)


Kaspars Zavileiskis,


Kristaps Vanadziņš: PORTRETI (self-released)

Kristaps Vanadziņš is one of the leading Latvian jazz pianists of the new generation. Last year he received the Latvian Grammy – Zelta Mikrofons (Golden Microphone) – for the best jazz album of the year for his trio LP THE LOVE GARDEN HAS OVERGROWN. An unusual solo CD is released this autumn – the live album PORTRETI (Portraits), in which Vanadziņš portrayed the concert visitors of the last year’s gig in Riga. Those were various volunteers, who had the courage to go on stage and let Kristaps draw their portrait with the help of the grand piano. The tour for this project is still going on around Latvia and the number of portraits continues to grow, creating an unusual Latvian jazz art gallery.


Jacek Brun,


Max Andrzejewski’s Hütte: REDUCE (Fun in the Church)

One is already used to the unusual harmonic, rhythmic and tonal solutions of Max Andrzejewski and his band. There is nothing easy to hear here, you must concentrate and listen to the whole, selective listening to individual pieces makes no sense. Jazz and jazz improvisation are only one of the means, or one of the skillful ways, with which these extraordinary artists create new musical worlds.


Madli-Liis Parts, Muusika


Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society: DYNAMIC MAXIMUM TENSION (Nonesuch)


Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum


Dorota Miśkiewicz & Toninho Horta: BONS AMIGOS (Warner Music Poland)

BONS AMIGOS is about friendship and love. One of the great voices of Polish jazz meets the iconic Brazilian guitarist and singer in a project of 11 songs from their respective repertoire. Most are by Toninho Horta (some of his best-known pieces), with Dorota Miśkiewicz offering a few of her own. Toninho sings in Portuguese, Dorota in Polish and Portuguese, adding fireworks of wordless improvisation. They are aided by a rhythm section that boasts Michael Pipoquinha (el-b) (Brazil’s answer to Jaco Pastorius) and Armando Marçal (perc), with additional parts supplied in a post-production process by the Berlin-based Polish Bodek Janke (d).
    The original recording, which took place in Rio in 2019, was recently completed and released September 2023 on Warner Music Poland, followed by a sold-out concert tour of several Polish cities. It is a musical treat of inspired melodic invention, harmonic sophistication, rhythmic complexity, joy, and humor. Irresistible.


Mike Flynn, Jazzwise


Siema Ziemia: SECOND (Byrd Out)

Electronic influenced jazz definitely having a moment with so many artists exploring effects and non-jazz instruments in an improvisational context – however, few have integrated these two worlds so completely as Siema Ziemia. While their sound may not be revolutionary, their deep love and understanding of electronic textures and beats, all realized live with no backing tracks, is authentic – and it’s thanks to Kacper Krupa’s roaring sax solos that this band and album achieve lift off. The fact this forward-looking album should also be coming out on vinyl on a small label based in the west of England is also noteworthy… All I can say is, go and listen!



© 2012 JAZZ Special