Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Nate Wooley - Mutual Aid Music (April 16, 2021)

Mutual Aid Has A History

It points to the concept of community action and the human drive to provide succor to our fellow humans. Mutual aid is the primary ethic of an anarchistic utopia in which each knows what they have, is honest about what they need, and is prepared to give and receive accordingly. Every human want is met by a commensurate surplus and all are lifted equally above suffering.

The music on this disc is, to a degree, about this political conception of mutual aid history but, rather than celebrating its primary act of what to give, it concentrates on the decision of how to give it. It asks the musicians to take stock of their gifts and to ask themselves, in each moment, how their use of that gift will affect the community (ensemble) of which they are currently a member. Will their addition provide:

1. A refined musical gesture that simply makes the group sound better
2. A raw idea that opens new sets of possibilities for the other musicians, or
3. The inspiration to others of making the difficult, selfless musical choice.

This set of eight ensemble concertos sprouts from a compositional system that asks musicians to question what they add to the ensemble as human beings first and musicians second. Rather than the traditional aim of faithfully reproducing a score through its mastery, the members of the ensemble are prompted to make decisions that purposely force the music away from facsimile and toward a spontaneity that may feel awkward and uncomfortable. Each supports each in the search for something new and interesting; a music that is not only greater than the compositional whole, but has the potential to recast the way we think about the balance of virtuosity and improvisational spirit in our practice. After all, if we, as an ensemble can enjoy jumping off musical cliffs together within the relative safety of this compositional system, then what’s to stop us from trying to find that same exhilaration in the other music we make?

1. Mutual Aid Music I
2. Mutual Aid Music II
3. Mutual Aid Music III
4. Mutual Aid Music IV
5. Mutual Aid Music I-I
6. Mutual Aid Music II-I
7. Mutual Aid Music III-I
8. Mutual Aid Music IV-I

Nate Wooley - Trumpet
Ingrid Laubrock - Sax
Joshua Modney - Violin
Mariel Roberts - Cello
Sylvie Courvoisier - Piano
Cory Smythe - Piano
Matt Moran - Vibraphone
Russell Greenberg - Vibraphone and Percussion

AVAILABLE NOW: Greg Skaff | "Polaris" | SMK Jazz (Smoke Sessions Records)


Guitarist Greg Skaff Enlists Jazz Royalty
Ron Carter and Albert "Tootie" Heath for His
First Ever Guitar/Bass/Drums Trio Album, Polaris

Album Reunites the Legendary Bassist and Drummer for
First Time in Decades on Joyously Swinging Session

Fans of Greg Skaff may know him as one of modern jazz’s premier organ jazz guitarists through his own trios with hard-grooving greats like Mike LeDonne and Pat Bianchi; or as a veteran first-call sideman, from his early years with soul-jazz titan Stanley Turrentine through decades of work with the likes of Ruth Brown, Bobby Watson, Freddie Hubbard, Orrin Evans, Matt Wilson, Ralph Peterson and countless others.
Despite that impressive resumé, Skaff marks a career first with his new album Polaris: a trio album with a standard guitar, bass and drums line-up. There’s nothing standard about the rhythm section he enlisted for the occasion, however: he’s joined by a pair of jazz icons, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath. Available now via SMK Jazz, an imprint of Smoke Sessions Records, the album features three jazz masters delighting in each other’s creativity and ebullient sense of swing.
“When a guitar player works with an organist in a trio,” Skaff says, “the organist is driving the bus. He’s playing the bass, a lot of the harmony and sometimes even the melody. So you're essentially playing their game. In a guitar/bass/drums trio, the guitarist has considerably more responsibility – as well as freedom. Experimenting with that format in the last few years of gigging, I learned to embrace both the freedom and the responsibility. I felt that Ron and Tootie would be simpatico with that because of how sharply they listen and their ability to move the music in different directions.”
Of course, simply setting three gifted players in a room and letting them explore the music took on a different meaning in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic kept us all isolated for the bulk of the year. It nearly threatened the recording of Polaris, as the second of two planned studio dates fell on March 16, just as New York City was heading into lockdown.
“Right up until the morning of the date I wasn't really sure it was going to happen,” Skaff recalls. “I kept checking in with Ron and Tootie to ask if they were still down; I definitely wasn’t going to demand that they be there. But they both wanted to do it. Tootie was in town to play the Lincoln Center memorial for his brother [legendary saxophonist Jimmy Heath, who had passed away in January]. He was really down because it got canceled when they closed Lincoln Center. So he just wanted to do something.”
Heath and Carter were both excited for the chance to play together, an opportunity that had only come once in more than 30 years, when their paths briefly crossed on the 1993 all-star session The Riverside Reunion Band. Their most extensive experience together had come early in both men’s careers, when they were enlisted as the rhythm section for pianist Bobby Timmons, setting out on a solo career following his second stint with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
“I was very aware of the Bobby Timmons record that they're both on,” Skaff says, referring to the trio’s sole release, 1961’s In Person. “I thought it would be really cool to play with those two guys together, especially since they hadn't worked together in such a long time.”
Skaff had been working with Carter over the last several years in the bassist’s Great Big Band, where he stepped in for Russell Malone. Those gigs provided the guitarist with insight into the veteran bassist’s approach, which spurred him to amply prepare before stepping foot into the studio. Once Carter was on board Heath was quick to accept the gig, and once the trio convened many of those preparations went out the window – but were valuable nonetheless.
“I wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we were going to be doing at any minute,” Skaff says. “I know Ron's like that, so I didn’t want to be caught underprepared. But once we got in there, we didn't end up sticking to the details. It was really cool because they didn't just play everything the way I wrote it – in a good way. The tunes ended up being a lot different than the way I would usually play them.”
Skaff largely focused on choosing standard repertoire for the session, wanting to minimize the amount of reading required so that spontaneity and interactivity could come to the fore. The album opens with a buoyant run through “Old Devil Moon,” driven by Carter’s vigorous walking bass and inspired by the well-known rendition from Sonny Rollins’ A Night at the Village Vanguard. It’s followed by the first of two Duke Ellington compositions on the album, “Angelica,” transformed into a New Orleans parade thanks to Heath’s high-spirited second line beat.
Carter’s classic “Little Waltz,” first recorded on Timmons’ The Soul Man! in 1966 (with Carter, Wayne Shorter and Jimmy Cobb), comes in for two interpretations. The first was a spur of the moment decision when Heath was late for the second session, prompting Carter to suggest a duet in the tradition of his storied partnership with Jim Hall, resulting in a lovely, intimate dialogue. The trio version is equally tender, spotlighting the delicate caress of Heath’s brushwork.
The organ tradition that Skaff knows so well is hinted at with a bristling take on Larry Young’s “Paris Eyes,” originally recorded with one of Skaff’s heroes, guitarist Grant Green. Carter’s melodic gifts are showcased on the oft-reprised ballad “Yesterdays,” where the bassist essays the melody following a lush, mood-setting solo guitar intro.
The bassist is the honoree of Skaff’s first original, “Mr. R.C.” – a play on John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.,” a tribute to Paul Chambers, Carter’s predecessor in the Miles Davis Quintet. The leader also contribute the steely title track, named after the North Star – actually a triple star system, making the name doubly apt as both an acknowledgment of the two elders’ role as guiding lights as well as the album’s trio format. (Though Skaff is quick to humbly shrug off any designation of himself as a third “star” in this situation.)
A rare take on Ellington’s “Lady of the Lavender Mist” is exquisite in its restrained beauty, while Carter’s “Caminando,” a regular set opener with the bassist’s current quartet, digs down into an earthy blues feel. Finally, Skaff takes an introspective solo turn on the Harold Arlen classic “Ill Wind.”
Where the future lies for the trio is bound up in the state of uncertainty in which we all find ourselves these days. But much like its namesake star, Polaris shines the way to brighter days ahead thanks to the illuminating interplay of three brilliant artists.

Greg Skaff · Polaris
SMK Jazz · Release Date: March 19, 2021

For more information on other SMK Jazz or Smoke Sessions Records releases, please visit:

David Helbock - The New Cool (March 26, 2021 ACT Music)

David Helbock’s fine musicianship goes hand in hand with a remarkable ability to communicate on several levels. As British writer Peter Bacon has written, there is “much to intrigue the mind, much to warm the heart and much to tickle the funny bone.” German critic Roland Spiegel has elegantly described his music as “never cereb-ral, but captivating both the head and the body....” For his new album the Austrian-born pianist brings those strengths and that ability to engage and appeal to audiences into a new and different venture.

“It was my wish to cool things down a bit,” he ex-plains. He has formed a new trio with guitarist Arne Jansen and trumpeter Sebastian Studnitzky, and it is clear when he talks about it how far he has already moved on since his previous group: “In the Random Control Trio we had a lot of instruments on the stage, there was a lot of changing from one instrument to another… and a lot of notes.” And the new group? “It is more about emotions. And emotions are the most important thing in music.”

This trio has are other differences from his previous groups: in the past, his bands have been made up of mu-sicians from his native Austria. But he has now been living in Berlin for five years, and “The New Cool” presents his first group formed with players who have also adopted Ber-lin as their home city. With Arne Jansen, originally from Kiel, what appeals to Helbock is that “he is such an unselfish player, very centred and very calm – and subtle too. With him it’s all about the music.” Studnitzky is originally from the Black Forest, and Helbock likes “his style of playing with that very airy sound” and the fact the range of timbres and moods he creates with just one effects device. And how does it work in the trio? “All three of us are melody players, but we are all capable of holding back and giving space to the others.”
It would be wrong, however, to see the elegaic feel of much of this album as a response to the pande-mic. Helbock and producer Siggi Loch were having “a productive and fruitful discussion” about these ideas a full year before the recording sessions took place at the Emil Berliner studios in August 2020. Loch has a fascination for the way cool jazz “turned the wheel around” to connect with a wide audience, and references and connections with the cool jazz movement are scattered throughout this album. It is also the very first time that Helbock has included a tune by his teacher for over a decade, American pianist Peter Madsen, who toured extensively with Stan Getz and also taught Maria Schneider.

While the overall mood and vibe of “The New Cool” tends towards the lyrical and the spacious, the ran-ge of expression is remarkably wide. The fine filigree piano opening of “I Feel Free” is in complete contrast to the anthemic grandeur which the trio reaches at the peak of “Angel Eyes”. Helbock also has a remarkable way of setting the tone of piece from the very first utterance: “Hymn for Sophie Scholl” is softly elegaic, whereas the forward mo-mentum of “Truth” sounds like it could easily do duty as a film or TV theme.

Helbock has been inspired by the innovations and concepts of Lennie Tristano, and his sense of affinity with the Chicago-born genius runs deep. Tristano once decreed that "the jazz musician's function is to feel.” Hel-bock Jansen and Studnitzky have taken that maxim to their hearts. In “The New Cool” it becomes a totally convincing and natural way to make music; and to be.
01 I Remember Clifford 3:49
(Benny Golson)
02 Pandemic of Ignorance 4:27
(David Helbock)
03 Prelude in E-Minor, Op. 28 / No. 4 3:20
(Frédéric Chopin)
04 Truth 4:28
(David Helbock)
05 Hymn for Sophie Schol l 4:47
(David Helbock)
06 Time After Time 5:09
(Cyndi Lauper & Rob Hyman)
07 Solidarity Rock 5:02
(David Helbock)
08 I Feel Free 5:40
(Jack Bruce)
09 On the Shore 3:19
(Arne Jansen)
10 Korona Solitude #1 3:47
(Sebastian Studnitzky)
11 Angel Eyes 4:40
(Matt Dennis)
12 Surrounded by the Night 5:07
(Peter Madsen)

David Helbock piano
Sebastian Studnitzky trumpet
Arne Jansen guitar

Recorded by Thomas Schöttel
at Emil Berliner Studios Berlin, 17. & 18. August 2020
Mixed and mastered by Klaus Scheuermann

Produced by Siggi Loch

Jazzrausch Bigband - Téchne (March 26, 2021 ACT Music)

“Jazzrausch Bigband is making jazz sexy again” (Bayeri-scher Rundfunk). Downbeat has singled out not just the band’s “high-voltage performances” and “party atmosphere”, but also the amount of experimentation going on. The ensemble’s ingenious mix of techno and big band jazz has proved to be just as accessib-le to people listening to the band from the comfort of their seats in a concert hall as it has to those sweating it out on the dance floor. Since 2015 Jazzrausch Bigband has been in residence at Harry Klein in Munich, a club renowned for its house and techno acts as well as for its stunning live visuals; this cooperation between a techno club and a big band is truly unique in the world. From its base at the club, the pioneering ensemble has defined a comple-tely new genre, “techno jazz”. The band’s music is getting noticed on the other side of the Atlantic too: Jazzrausch Bigband has per-formed at New York’s Lincoln Center, and Downbeat magazine has pinpointed this unusual band’s remarkable strengths: “A high-voltage performance with party atmosphere and yet plenty of expe-rimentation. The mix of jazz and techno initially might seem surpri-sing, but actually makes perfect sense.”

On their previous albums “Dancing Wittgenstein” and “Beethoven’s Breakdown”, Jazzrausch Bigband impressively demonstrated its process of finding new perspectives on the artis-tic interaction of themes and elements from a wider cultural context. The focus of all the group’s trailblazing creativity has now turned to “téchne”. This ancient Greek term, “τέχνη”, is still signifi-cant in today’s European-influenced philosophy and its under-standing of the arts, science, and technology. Indeed, the element which was decisive in sparking Jazzrausch Bigband’s interest in “τέχνη” was the fact that the original concept of both ‘making’ and ‘doing’ can be applied indistinguishably to any of the three.
The idea of “téchne” was particularly appealing to composer Leonhard Kuhn because it drew him into a musical exploration not just of the relationship between art and technology, but also made him want to go further and work his way through bigger questions in science and philosophy, and notably existentialism. Thus, “What It Is” looks at the politics of widening wealth inequality in the cur-rent Corona crisis. He shows in Sartre‘s words, that there is an alternative to the famous “It is what it is”. In “Der Literat” Stravi-nsky-esque harmonies are interwoven with complex rhythms and melodies, as Kuhn places words by Dada poet Hugo Ball into a wild techno setting. In “AI 101”, the technology of Artificial Intelli-gence is combined with the art of music by the use of AI as a composition tool: “This piece raises the question of whether AI is progressively taking on more of the characteristics of human beings, or whether in fact it’s the reverse. Don’t we sometimes already behave far too much like machines in a self-imposed pa-nopticon prison?” Such glimpses into Leonhard Kuhn’s extraordi-nary ways of thinking are always rewarding and illuminating.

In addition to these pieces by Leonhard Kuhn who is the band’s main composer/arranger, “téchne” also features composi-tions by composers familiar with the band. This is actually quite an unusual step for Jazzrausch Bigband: “Most of our programmes are through-composed and function as a cohesive whole,” ex-plains Roman Sladek. “With ‘téchne’, on the other hand, we wan-ted everything to be more kaleidoscopic, multi-faceted. Theresa Zaremba is a brilliant film composer and Andreas Unterreiner a great jazz trumpeter and composer. We have already worked on complete concert programmes with both of them, so their compo-sitions fit perfectly into the world of ‘téchne’.”

Another new feature is the roll-call of star guests invited to join Jazzrausch Bigband: trombone star Nils Landgren is on “téchne"– he had already gues-ted on “Beethoven's Breakdown”. We hear the completely begui-ling voice of Nesrine in the opening track “Mosaïque Bleu”. Plus there is a highly individual contribution from singer/theatre actress Jelena Kuljić, known from the indie jazz band KUU! and a perma-nent member of the Munich Kammerspiele – her interpretations of texts are particularly evocative. And Viktoria Tolstoy, Wolfgang Haffner, David Helbock, Kalle Kalima and Jakob Manz complete an impressive list.

The album was recorded by Josy Friebel at the Harry Klein club: “It’s where we feel at home. This environment put us straight into the right vibe for the album, rather than starting off with the dry sound of a recording studio.” And “téchne” does indeed sound a bit more techno, more “down to the floor” than the previous albums with their more complex arrangements.
“Holy cow, what a band!” was Fono Forum’s ecstatic response to Jazzrausch Bigband. A statement that certainly also applies to “téchne", and which should also encourage more people to get out and hear this band live. With the new Jazzrausch Bigband album, the young musicians and their guests revel in making se-amless and effortless transitions from one sphere to another.

Through their compositions and lyrics they embrace mathematical, philosophical and literary themes, with a compelling band sound fusing jazz, classical music, and techno. With their dazzling con-fidence, genuine authenticity and communicative panache, the members of Jazzrausch Bigband have created a musical world which is as close to jazz and its origins as it is to the electronic music of the future.

01 Mosaïque Bleu (Leonhard Kuhn / Patricia Römer) 4:01
feat. Nesrine, vocals / Nils Landgren, trombone
02 AI 101 (Leonhard Kuhn) 3:25
feat. Jelena Kuljić, vocals / David Helbock’s Random/Control
(David Helbock, piano, keys, synthesizer & fx / Andreas Broger,
tenor & soprano saxophone, flute / Johannes Bär, tuba,
trumpet, beatbox & didgeridoo) / Wolfgang Haffner, drums
03 Make Craft Perform (Leonhard Kuhn) 2:58
feat. Viktoria Tolstoy, vocals / Nils Landgren, trombone
04 Green Sun (Theresa Zaremba) 5:50
feat. David Helbock, piano, keys, synthesizer, fx & toys / Jakob
Manz, alto saxophone
05 Der Literat (Leonhard Kuhn) 6:01
feat. Jelena Kuljić, vocals / Jakob Manz, recorder
06 Hurricane Ride (A. Unterreiner / A. Dering) 4:49
feat. Viktoria Tolstoy, vocals / Kalle Kalima, guitar / Wolfgang
Haffner, drums
07 What It Is (Leonhard Kuhn) 4:40
08 Decadence (Andreas Unterreiner / Antonia Dering) 4:43
09 Shuffling Steps (Leonhard Kuhn) 4:15
10 Green Sun Return (Theresa Zaremba) 4:11
feat. David Helbock, piano, keys, synthesizer, fx & toys / Jakob
Manz, alto saxophone

Jazzrausch Bigband
directed and produced by Roman Sladek
featuring Jelena Kuljić, Nesrine, Viktoria Tolstoy,
Wolfgang Haffner, David Helbock’s Random/Control ,
Kalle Kalima, Nils Landgren & Jakob Manz

Excecutive Producer: Siggi Loch

Recorded by Josy Friebel at Harry Klein, Munich in July, August,
and September 2020
Mixed by Roman Sladek & Umberto Echo
Mastered by Klaus Scheuermann

Cover Art by Lena Maidl (sturmtiefdesign)

Jazzrausch Bigband:
Alto & Soprano Saxophones: Bettina Maier, Daniel Klingl
Tenor Saxophones: Raphael Huber, Frederik Mademann,
Moritz Stahl Baritone & Bass Saxophones, Bass &
Contrabass Clarinets: Florian Leuschner Trumpets: Angela
Avetisyan, Julius Braun, Julian Hesse, Michael Salvermoser
Trombones: Thorben Schütt, Roman Sladek Tuba: Jutta
Keeß Electronics: Leonhard Kuhn Drums: Marco Dufner
Percussion: Samuel Wootton Bass & Synthesizer: Georg
Stirnweiß Guitar: Heinrich Wulff Keys: Thomas Kölbl, Kevin
Welch Vocals: Patricia Römer, Alma Naidu

Rolf Zielke - Beaches In Your Soul (April 16, 2021 Agogo Records)

“… and if you close your eyes,
a river fills you from within,
flows forward, darkens you:
night brings its wetness to beaches in your soul.”
From ‘Water Night’ by Octavio Paz

“For me, these special moments when we close our eyes and look inwards are intense experiences. Between sleep and wakefulness, such impressions inspired me to translate images from daydreams into music. Jazz and Funk, Arabic and Central Asian sounds and grooves, and above all, improvisation – these are my musical language. Thank you to the wonderful musicians who have brought these compositions to life!”
Rolf Zielke

“‘Beaches in Your Soul’ is an album that is both great fun and full of depth as it conveys an incredible, life-affirming energy. Rolf Zielke describes his music as “daydreams and visions of the future that become sounds.” There is no doubt that this album is an impressive demonstration of his outstanding abilities as a composer, arranger and pianist, as well as his important role in European jazz.”
Matthias Wegner, music journalist

1. Awakening
2. Night Sea Journey
3. Welcome The Shaman
4. Eyes Of Shadow Water
5. Okavango Serenade
6. Getting Up
7. Dragon, Lion & Cancer
8. Enta Omri - You Are My Life
9. Chagall's Windows

All titles composed, arranged and produced by Rolf Zielke. except „Enta Omri - You Are My Life“ - traditional arabic song, arranged by Rolf Zielke

Rolf Zielke – piano, clavichord, rhodes, keys, whistle
Benny Brown – trumpet, flugelhorn
Stephan Abel – saxophone, clarinet, alto flute
Stephan Braun – 5-string cello
Mohannad Nasser – oud
Mustafa Boztüy – darbuka, bendir, udu
Rainer Winch – drums
Friedhelm May – timpani

Recorded, mixed & edited by Volker Greve at Greve Studios and Rolf Zielke
Additional clavichord recordings at tonus arcus, Dietrich Petzold
Mastered by Hans-Jörg Mauksch at Pauler Acoustics

Soojin Suh Chordless Quartet - Roots To Branches (April 9, 2021)

Soojin Suh Chordless Quartet is a project formed by Korean creative music artist and drummer Soojin Suh. Soojin released two albums with this project, "Strange Liberation",  in 2018 and “Roots To Branches” in 2021. The concept of the Chordless Project is to explore freedom from all polyphonic instruments as a metaphor for freedom in society. In an era where individual freedom is becoming increasingly important, freedom of the individual which lacks consideration for others can erupt, at times, into violence against others. This idea sits at the heart of the Chordless Project.
The exclusion of polyphonic instruments, which normally supply the harmony, creates higher degrees of freedom for the remaining instruments. Rather than erupting into chaos on stage, the interplay between the group members, embodying civility, testifies to the ultimate freedom and beauty that can be created through consideration for others. “Roots To Branches” is her story about invisible link between ‘human to human’, ‘human to society’ and ‘human to nature’.

1. Roots To Branches 08:28
2. Ruth 05:36
3. Cognitive Revolution 04:34
4. Unity 03:53
5. Hypnagogia 07:48
6. Bond 02:22
7. The Eyes Of Little One 06:10
8. Equality 04:29
9. Breakthrough 04:17
10. Geu Soemul Sseujimara 04:18

Drums 서수진 Soojin Suh
Double Bass 김영후 Hoo Kim
Tenor / Soprano / Alto Saxophone 이선재 Sunjae Lee
Alto / Tenor Saxophone 고단열 Daniel Ko

Robert Keßler Trio - Bloodline (March 2021)

Bloodline - that means something like family tree. Every artist must honestly decide for himself to whom he feels obliged and why. To himself and thus to those who can identify with his statements, or to external factors such as media expectations, zeitgeist or a canon. Guitarist Robert Keßler has made a very clear decision, and his album 'Bloodline' bears witness to this step.

'Bloodline' is not a concept album, and yet the CD follows a very clear concept. This concept is called life. Not some imaginary life or life itself, but Robert Keßler's very personal balance sheet of the last ten years. His role as a family father, patient friend and selfless coach for countless young musicians as well as all the other factors that put his own musical ambitions on the back burner for long stretches. 'It wasn't a matter of just focusing on myself,' Keßler holds. 'That's rather difficult for me. That's why this record comes ten years after the last one. In the past years, it was not my turn, but that of children, students and other people.' He is a quiet as well as alert observer of his surroundings and also of his own reflection. In the end, we come face to face with a musician with the rare gift of knowing himself. Robert Keßler does not define himself by his conflicts, but is - at least outwardly - a pragmatist of everyday poetry. Amusement and pensiveness are the essential personal ing edients with which he gives his pieces their special flair.

1. Jesaja 41,10
2. Theo
3. Mann Mann
4. White lake
5. Along came Betty
6. Bloodline
7. Mach die Äuglein wieder auf

Robert Keßler - Guitar
Andreas Henze - Bass
Tobias Backhaus - Drums

SHRINE - For The Ones We'll Forget (March 2021 AMP Music & Records)

SHRINE is an international music collaboration between musicians from Iceland, Denmark and Sweden. 

“For The Ones We'll Forget” is their debut featuring compositions by all of the band members. The album and especially the title track“For The Ones We'll Forget” is a subtle homage to the people who have disappeared from ones life; music for the people who shaped and influenced you in the past, but for one reason or another left your life

The sound that the ensemble encompasses can be described as rich and full of intrinsic beauty. Shimmering melodies float on top of clouds of complex, yet approachable harmonic landscapes. The horn playing of Hannes Bennich has a special character that lifts Sigurdardóttirs subtle and tasteful choices on the piano. Arvid Jullander and Emil Norman creates a solid yet playful foundation, where everything feels meaningful and steady.

1. For The Ones We’ll Forget (feat. Hannes Bennich)
2. Title
3. Wash
4. The World Was Never Meant For Something As Beautiful As You
5. For David (feat. Arvid Jullander)
6. Open For Darkness
7. The Mind Is A Haunted Place (feat. Anna Gréta Sigurdardottir)

Anna Gréta Sigurðardóttir (IS) - piano
Hannes N. Bennich (SE) - alto saxophone
Arvid Jullander (SE) - bass
Emil Norman (DK) - drums

Pål Nyberg - Lowlands (March 2021 AMP Music & Records)

His initial approach was that of a composer, exploring his own creative world, but improvisation has been an ever-present factor in the development of the music too. The songs were often created from musical fragments that recur in new shapes throughout the album until finally, everything is woven together in a cinematic, captivating, slightly more produced sound. The end result is a singular and reflective musical statement that bears traces of cool jazz and psychedelia.

Pål Nyberg is an award-winning and versatile guitarist, known to many for his collaboration with the American cool jazz pioneer Jimmy Halperin. His melodic and original guitar playing has led him to collaborations with many of Europe’s most prominent musicians. Keyboards are played by Markus Jägerstedt, who also mixed the album, known for his collaboration with hitmakers such as Robyn, Seinabo Sey, Röyksopp and Little Jinder. One of the two woodwinds on the album is Per ”Texas” Johansson. ”Texas” has since his debut in the late 90’s with the album ‘Alla Mina Kompisar’, been considered one of Swedens foremost jazz musicians. Perhaps less known to the Scandinavian audience is the Berlin saxophonist Birgitta Flick, who has recently established herself as a strong voice on the international jazz scene. Through her own groups and collaborations with e.g.

American pianist Carol Liebowitz, she has received well-deserved recognition on both sides of the Atlantic. Konrad Agnas is currently one of Swedens prominent drummers in pop and jazz. In addition to his participation on ‘Lowlands’, Konrad is current with e.g. Sara Parkman, Loney Dear and Hedrosgruppen. Together with his brother Mauritz Agnas he has also collaborated with greats such as Nils Landgren and Pat Metheney.

1. Europa
2. Café de Jaren
3. On the Island
4. Love Streams
5. Lowlands
6. Apostel
7. Lowlands II
8. Nørrebro
9. Apostel II
10. Fox & Hedgehog

Birgitta Flick - saxophone
Per "Texas" Johansson - clarinet
Pål Nyberg - guitar
Mauritz Agnas - bass
Konrad Agnas - drums
Markus Jägerstedt - korg mono/poly, B3

HITRA - Transparence (2021 AMP Music & Records)

HITRA plays imaginative original music and improvisations. A project born at the Norges Musikkhøgskole in Oslo, HITRA reunites four artists who have extensively investigated contemporary art forms.

“Transparence” is a genre-fluid journey into imaginary, lost and hidden places. The opening track Lebtit (written by Alessandro Sgobbio) evokes the homonym lost city, whose mysterious story can be found in “One thousand and one nights“ as well as Jorge Louis Borges and Georges Perec books. Jo Berger Myhre’s solo theme on The Perfect Light Of Sandstad (a village of the Hitra municipality, a Norwegian county which covers hundred islands, islets and skerries) introduces Hilmar Jensson’s guitar solo on Cité Des Poètes (an elegy to the recently-demolished adventurous housing project in the Parisian suburbs). The band-collective dialogue on Labtayt and To See Was To Be, features Øyvind Skarbø’s oneiric percussions, bells, papers and whistles.

1. Lebtit 01:42
2. Sêtu 02:46
3. Künftiges 04:28
4. The Perfect Light Of Sandstad 03:49
5. Cité Des Poètes 05:03
6. Labtayt 05:51
7. To See Was To Be 03:47
8. Lebenslauf 05:26

Alessandro Sgobbio - piano
Hilmar Jensson - guitar
Jo Berger Myhre - bass
Øyvind Skarbø - drums

Post-Sun-Vision / Once a Honey (2021 AMP Music & Records)

Post-Sun-Vision is a Swedish modern jazz trio with a unique sound, that can be described as accessible avant-garde. After winning the coveted Nordic Jazz Comets prize, they are seen as a new promising group with great potential to drive the genre forward. The compositions are often thoroughly processed in a modern classical tradition yet free and inviting for spontaneity and improvisation.

The trio strives for an expression beyond what we are used to hearing and feeling. With a different way of working with harmony, they present an honest expression that creates tension and uncertainty but at the same time feels accessible and pleasant, a bit like the excitement of being lost in a new city.

1. Isabella By The Supermarket 06:49
2. Bli min höst 01:47
3. Let the Night in Through the Windows :03:53
4. On The Floor In His Room Smelling Women's Perfume 05:09
5. I See The Worst In You 06:49
6. Mega Parent 06:48
7. The Pursuit Of Kicki 08:13

Alice Hernqvist - piano, synth
Aaron Mandelmann - bass
Mario Ochoa - drums

Gro-Marthe Dickson & D-Lovely / Fornemmelsen av Hjemland (2021 AMP Music & Records)

«Fornemmelsen av hjemland» is the second album of Gro-Marthe Dickson and her Cole Porter project D-lovely. After their first release of American jazz with “re-poemed“ Norwegian lyrics, vocalist Dickson found out it was time to write lyrics from her own heart contrary to translating the original writings of Porter.

With new lyrics came new musical takes and ideas, and «Fornemmelsen av hjemland» («The sensation of homeland»), is a product of an aspiration to develop and mature. The group has taken a few steps away from traditional jazz, but you can still hear an echo from the past. The water is being tested and will never not be tested. There is no fumbling in their exploration, although always a hint of something called home. The arrangements are attentive and respectful to the original idea and the album as a whole is a melting pot of groove- and riff based songs with a diverse stack of lyrics waiting to be absorbed by the listeners’ heart and ears.

1. Lærdom om vilje 04:02
2. Om stolthet 03:41
3. Mørket får ei komme inn 02:53
4. Fra gull til blått 03:21
5. I ly for regn 05:06
6. Seile alene 03:37
7. I glimt 02:43
8. Vår egen metafor 04:04

Gro-Marthe Dickson – vocals, piano on 6
Aksel Westlund – guitar
Håkon Norby Bjørgo – double bass
Magnus Sefaniassen Eide - drums