The piano player Kaja Draksler is the winner of the North Sea Jazz’ Paul Acket Award 2018. Exciting, powerful free improvisations and modern-classic influences define the work of pianist and composer Kaja Draksler. The Paul Acket Award is awarded yearly by the festival and presented to an artist deserving wider recognition for their extraordinary musicianship.
Drakslar was born in Slovenia but moved to The Netherlands at age 18. In a relatively short period of time Draksler made a name in the European jazz scene. She released seven successful albums as a bandleader and a well-received solo album in 2013: The Lives Of Many Others. At the moment Draksler tours as a soloist, as a duo with fellow pianist Eve Risser (they recently released their album To Pianos) as well as with her own octet, in which she combines songs and improvisations with modern-classic inspired compositions.
Member of the jury en jazz critic Vera Vingerhoeds (NL) about Draksler: ‘Draksler combines free improvisations with contemporary composed music, resulting in very personal music that cannot be pigeonholed. She is a true multi-talent!’. Other members of the jury were Guy van Hulst (TivoliVredenburg, NL), Simon Rentner (NPR, VS), Hans-Olav Soli (Molde Jazz Festival, NO), and Emily Jones (Cheltenham Jazz Festival, EN). They nominated 21 musicians, after which international jazz critics and programmers cast their votes. The Paul Acket Award was named after the founder of North Sea Jazz. Previous winners of the prize include Donny McCaslin (2017), Cécile McLorin Salvant (2016), Tigran Hamasyan (2015), and Ambrose Akinmusire (2014).
Kaja Draksler will receive her prize at the North Sea Jazz Festival this year where she will perform with the Kaja Draksler Octet on Friday 13 July.
Photo: Jan Granlie