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Europe Jazz Media Chart Januar 2024

Godt nytt år, ønskes fra oss på salt peanuts* og alle de andre jazzredaksjonene i Europe Jazz Media. Verden er fremdeles i ferd med å gå totalt av hengslene, og skal man overleve uten å gli gal i de delene av verden som ikke har krigen altfor tett på kroppen, så er musikk en av de få tingene vi kan holde på med. Og her er hva redaksjonene i de beste jazztidsskriftene i Europa anbefaler å starte dagen med.
Samtidig støtter vi våre venner i Ukraina og Palestina så godt vi kan. La oss håpe at fornuften etter hvert når inn til makthaverne i Russland og Israel, og alle andre områder i verden hvor katastrofene truer.
Kanskje vi skulle bombardere dem med god og kreativ musikk i stedet for med bomber og granater?

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum:
KUBA WIĘCEK Hoishii (kxntrst records)

Krzysztof Komorek, Donos kulturalny:

Jan Granlie, salt-peanuts.eu:
JOHN POPE QUINTET Citrinitas (New Jazz And Improvised Music Recordings)

Dick Hovenga, Written in Music:

Viktor Bensusan, jazzdergisi.com:
FERGUS MCCRADIE Sketches (Edition Records)

Nuno Catarino, jazz.pt:
ARUÁN ORTIZ Pastor’s Paradox (Clean Feed)

Henning Bolte, freelance:
SUNNY KIM Liminal Silence (Earshift Music)

Tony Dudley-Evans, LondonJazz News (UK):
PETTER ELDH Post Koma  (Wejazz Records)

Patrik Sandberg, Jazz:

Cim Meyer, Jazz Special:

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid:
MARTHE LEA BAND Herlighetens vei (Motvind Records)

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz thing:

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica:
SIGNE EMMELUTH Banshee (Motvind Records)

Yves Tassin, JazzMania:
LORENZO DI MAIO Ruby (Igloo Records)

Jos Demol, jazzhalo.be:
ALBERT VILA Reality is Nuance (Fresh Sound New Talent)

Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More:
BLANKFOR.MS Refract (Red Hook Records)

Kaspars Zavileiskis, jazzin.lv:
TOMMS RUDZINSKIS Abyss (self-released)

Jacek Brun, www.jazz-fun.de:
RENAUD GARCIA-FONS Cinematic Double Bass (RGF Records)

Kateryna Ziabliuk, Meloport (Ukraine):
VIKTOR PAVELKO QUARTET Internal Anxiety (Live at 32 Jazz Club) (Jazz Club Records)

Why did I choose –

Kateryna Ziabliuk:
Internal Anxiety marks the debut album of Ukrainian saxophonist Viktor Pavelko, disclosing his skills as a frontman. A luminary within the Ukrainian jazz arena, Viktor was a steady member of the imposing Deep Tone Project —a notable collective of the international league in Ukraine. Markedly, this album features Kostiantyn Ionenko, the double bassist from Deep Tone, alongside Oleksandr Malyshev on piano and Artur Frolov on drums. The meticulous and thoughtful arrangements are immediately captivating, as well as the unisons and counterpoints between piano and saxophone, as displayed in tracks like «Blues for Borys» and «Internal Anxiety”. The album also embraces lengthy modal chord progressions, that give ample space for improvisation in tracks such as «24th» and «The Dreamer from Hertza”. Each composition is an original creation, yet the music seamlessly embodies a distinctive style. Drawing inspiration from the New York jazz scene of the ’90s and 2000s, the album skillfully weaves together bluesy resolutions reminiscent of bands of Branford Marsalis, while also embracing a contemplative and spacious approach akin to the work of Ben Wendel or Joshua Redman. Undoubtedly, Viktor Pavelko emerges as a truly exceptional leader, guiding each musician to showcase their unique mastery and sensitivity.
The recording took place at the 32 Jazz Club in the heart of Kyiv.

Henning Bolte:
The music of this Australian album hovers between delicate manifestations of mundane song formats and spiritual spaciness of  eternal ghosts’ spheres. Together with New York guitarist Ben Monder and Los Angeles pianist Vardan Ovsepian, Melbourne vocalist Sunny Kim created the exceptional cosmic music of her album  <<Liminal Silence>> by means and around a voice that is challenging the air and thereby enters  i n t o  as well as emerging  f r o m  a deeper space on the vibrations of light and sound. It never gets lost in suggestively rustle and sough, it always reaches down to the very ground of the matter, to the essence with great intensity. Or, as Peter Knight, the former Artistic Director of the Australian Art Orchestra put it: it is ethereal and yet always utterly visceral.  Kim herself is a quite active member of AAO meanwhile.
In almost an hour containing 10 pieces, the music draws listeners into liminal sound experiences from different angles, groundworks and breaths of life. For Sunny Kim silence is the origin of the living and houses the inner truth of ourselves. As a human being of sharp and clear mind in congruence with her body and soul she formulates and speaks out: “Liminal Silence is a communal meditation on the nature of silence, the cycles of birth and death, and our innermost aspiration for change within.”
The album comprises a diversity of pieces from the blissful “Living Within the Ocean” to the transcendental “Liminal”,  the balladesque “Fall” or the dramatic “Poland, 1948”. None of the album’s pieces resolves harmonically in conventional way. The pieces are kept open, are stretching, wandering/wondering with and along the underlying current of heartbeat, blood circulation, imagination and consciousness, sensing expansions, thresholds and the glow of light, concentrating on these and illuminating them through the shades and intensities of their connecting voices. They masterfully cover a range from deep dark to brilliantly bright with the manifold fractures and transitions of light and sonic color in between and have trance-inducing potential (but is no ambient/mood music). The triangle of Kim, Osvepian and Monder is a heavenly match. Armenia born Osvepian from Los Angeles might be less known in Europe. Being part of the Peter Erskine Trio and having recorded with Berlin violinist Biliana Voutchkova indicate his range, that’s worthwhile to explore.

Tony Dudley-Evans:
The final album by the Koma Saxo group featuring Peter Eldh’s characteristic compositions, with frenetic changes of pace and dynamic in the collective improvisations.

Paweł Brodowski:
Even though it is not released under his own name, Hoshii is in fact Kuba Więcek’s fourth effort as a leader. The young Polish saxophonist, who had studied in Denmark and Holland, and took private lessons in New York, was selected by DownBeat among “25 Performers Who Could Shape Jazz for Decades”. In his pursuit of original form of expression, Więcek has been moving away from his mainstream roots towards an electronic and hip-hop sound using loops and synthesizers.
His new quartet features some of the most talented faces on the Polish scene today: pianist and keyboardist Grzegorz Tarwid, electric bassist Max Mucha (a regular member of the Christian Scott band) and the youngest among the lot Miłosz Berdzik on drums. The music is loud, dense, full of fire, twists, humor and imagination. “Hoshii” is a Japanese word meaning “to want”. The title character is a fictitious newcomer from a far away planet who upon arriving on earth faces enmity, but in the course of time discovers a friendly feeling. The music and the story itself unfolds like a fairy tale. The album’s booklet is adorned with evocative paintings which during the group’s live performances serve as video animations, making the music even more special.

Yves Tassin:
Lorenzo Di Maio is a provider of emotions. (Pierre Dulieu)

Jos Demol:
Reality is Nuance’ by Albert Vila with top musicians Doug Weiss and Rudy Royston is to frame, a guitar trio highlight, definitely not to be missed live! (Bernard Lefèvre)

Kaspars Zavileiskis:
Latvian saxophonist Toms Rudzinskis productively spent the time of the pandemic and devoted himself to new searches in the jazz field. Together with the Danish bassist Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, an innovative international big band music album Space Big Band was created, but Toms himself made a multi-layered spiritual jazz and a jazz fusion style album Abyss, dedicated to a creative and emotional fall into the abyss and a flight back up from that. The disc was recorded in Berlin with fellow musicians there – Ukrainian guitarist Igor Osypov, Swedish keyboardist Povel Widestrand, German bassist Tom Berkmann, German drummer Fabian Rösch, and Danish vocalist Mette Nadja Hansen. Vocals with lyrics are heard in one track only, but the voice is also used as another musical instrument. Abyss is a leisurely and monumental opus, which allows you to both dream and enjoy the power of a thick wall of sound at times.

Jacek Brun:
Renaud Garcia Fons is undoubtedly one of the greatest virtuosos on the double bass. His playing is characterized by a high level of tonal culture and the courage to explore original tonal and compositional possibilities. With this album, he once again expands musical perspectives into unimagined dimensions. Another album by this exceptional artist that is a must-have!

Jan Granlie:
The John Pope Quintet is a band that would be perfect for the most clubs and festivals in Europe. Because here we find five exquisite collectivists (John Pope – bass, percussion, Jamie Stockbridge – alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, Faye MacCalman – tenor saxophone, clarinet, Graham Hardy – trumpet, flugelhorn, Johnny Hunter – drums, glockenspiel) , who are creative and highly skilled soloists. And with Pope’s powerful bass sound and bluesy compositions, this would be the perfect combo at almost any club or festival. A fun and exciting band I’d happily travel a few miles to experience at a concert, because this is loose and delicious music that fascinates powerfully!

Patrik Sandberg:
Composer and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire’s Nonesuch Records debut album, Owl Song features a trioformation with guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Herlin Riley. The album is the first of three records Akinmusire is planing to release on Nonesuch. Each  will spotlight a distinct element of his musical world and involve different instrumentation and production approaches.

Viktor Bensusan:
A distilled relaxation from the Highlands…

Nuno Catarino:
The album begins in absolute convulsion. The instruments run over each other: cello, drums, clarinet, piano, all clashing, as if we were at the pinnacle of a free jazz crescendo; but we are only at the beginning of a theme, at the opening of the record. And then the voice comes in: «This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality (…)». The words are taken from the famous «I have a dream» speech and the ideas fly over the musical confusion. There is a break, the voice falls silent, and we hear only the instruments, still clashing, but slowly aligning in a common direction, until they all form the lines of the composition. An excellent song that surprises and deconstructs the listener. Drawing inspiration from the political activist Martin Luther King Jr., the Cuban-born pianist Aruán Ortiz presents a set of very original music. Ortiz is excellently accompanied by musicians such as Don Byron, Pheeroan akLaff and Lester St. Louis, who brilliantly emblaze the corners of the compositions.

Dick Hovenga:
With each new album, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire pulls open yet another adventure. No album sounds the same, no album has corresponding atmosphere and timbre. His new album Owl Song, his first for the prominent Nonesuch, was recorded in a trio lineup with only guitar and drums in addition to his own trumpet. A lineup that, with the amazing Bill Frisell and Herlin Riley, of course immediately captures the imagination in the best possible way. From the terrific album opener Owl Song 1, the trio of excellent musicians draw up beautifully musical sketches in which improvisation over the strongly plotted melody lines repeatedly form into memorable pieces. Akinmusire is the wonderful middle of the sound who colors the atmosphere like no other. Blessed with a fabulous technique his playing only becomes more impressive and penetrating over the years. Just listen to that aforementioned opening track and follow-up Weighted Corners and know immediately that Owl Song is of timeless class.

Krzysztof Komorek:
Quintessentially traditional,  yet not at all conservative. That is how this album can be described. Bold, contradictory in many dimensions. And above all, sensational in musical content.