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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joachim Kuhn: Voodoo Sense

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The fourth outing from German pianist Joachim Kühn, Moroccan vocalist and guembri (bass lute) player Majid Bekkas, and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez continues the trio's exploration into free-jazz and North African roots that began with Kalimba ( ACT Music, 2007). The percussion and rhythms of the Magreb were more prominent on Out of the Desert (ACT Music, 2009) which featured a cast of Berber musicians, while Chalaba (ACT Music, 2011) returned to the stripped down trio format. Here, Kühn again opts for a percussion-heavy approach, augmented on half the tracks by saxophonist Archie Shepp. The result is an intoxicating brew ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Archie Shepp and Joachim Kuhn: Wo!man

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Archie Shepp & Joachim KühnWo!manArchie Ball2011 At first glance, the pairing of veteran American saxophonist Archie Shepp and German pianist Joachim Kühn seems an unlikely one. But Wo!man is not the first time the two have performed together. Two or three decades back--Shepp says that he cannot now remember the year exactly--the saxophonist worked with Kühn in a band led by Finnish drummer Edward Vesala. It is a real pleasure, Shepp says, to have been reunited. The pleasure is not, moreover, entirely Shepp's, nor Kühn's, for Wo!man is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joachim Kuhn / Majid Bekkas / Ramon Lopez: Out Of The Desert

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Boundary busting and inventive though it was, Kalimba (ACT, 2007)--the first album by German pianist Joachim Kuhn, Moroccan vocalist and guembri player Majid Bekkas, and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez--ultimately felt like Kuhn's album more than a fully integrated, cross-cultural group exercise. Two years on, the trio's second outing, Out Of The Desert, offers a deeper mix--and an altogether more absorbing one.

Kalimba was recorded in Germany. For Out Of The Desert, the trio travelled to Morocco. In the regional capital Rabat, they teamed up with three local adepts of gnawa, a Moroccan trance music with roots in black ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Daniel Humair / Joachim Kuhn / Tony Malaby: Full Contact

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This transatlantic collaboration features the long-established partnership of Swiss sticksman Daniel Humair and German pianist Joachim K ühn, but the presence of saxophonist Tony Malaby further establishes the latter's fast-ascending status outside of the US. The reedman isn't blowing as belligerently as usual, tempted into exposing his softer side, his warm tone denuded of its lime-scale textures. The material is clearly composed, but in such a manner that much of the trio's interaction sounds completely improvised (there are pieces penned by each member). The language of the spontaneous is becoming so advanced (or even ingrained) that it's ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Cultural Fusion: KCP 5, Billy Fox, Joachim Kuhn

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As composer/multi-instrumentalist Kali Z. Fasteau wrote in last months's issue of All About Jazz / New York, jazz can “embrace aspects of music from anywhere and everywhere, as can no other music on the planet, in a profound and high-quality synthesis."

These three albums combine jazz with the musical traditions, musicians and instruments of East India, Japan and Morocco. In a society that is fascinated with multi-culturalism, the fusion of jazz and world music is automatically exotic and intriguing. However, these discs are more profound and deliberate in their execution than the word exotic immediately suggests...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joachim Kuhn and Majid Bekkas with Ramon Lopez: Kalimba

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While it's easy to categorize the assimilation of diverse musical cultures as world music, the term has become over-utilized and often misrepresented. German-born pianist Joachim Kühn, Moroccan guimbri/oud player Majid Bekkas and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez intersect on Kalimba, an album that should dispense with oversimplified categorization. Instead, assessed on its own merits as an album that looks to capitalize on the strengths of everyone involved, it carves out its own distinctive musical niche.

This isn't the first time that Kühn has rubbed shoulders with artists from different cultures. The pianist first emerged in the early 1970s as a stylistic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joachim Kuhn & Majid Bekkas with Ramon Lopez: Kalimba

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Like the spectacular bouffant hairstyle he's sported since the 1970s, pianist Joachim Kuhn's music is at home in two, generally discrete traditions: intellectually rigorous, harmonically complex, longhair conservatoire music and a less cerebral strand of world jazz driven by vamps and grooves. Sometimes Kuhn keeps the two traditions apart--as on his classically oriented solo albums--at other times, as on Kalimba, he brings them together, in a sort of modal chromaticism, to their mutual advantage.

It's tempting, though probably simplistic, to trace Kuhn's musical bipolarity through his domiciles. He was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1944, and, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joachim Kuhn: Europeana (Jazzphony No.1)

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Owing little to the main stem US jazz tradition, composer Michael Gibbs' orchestral suite Europeana has more in common with the work of folk-influenced English composers like Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and Malcolm Arnold, and their particular varieties of English lyricism.

It's a work of magnificence and beauty which was barely noticed on original release eleven years ago and seems since to have been almost entirely forgotten. This audio enhanced reissue provides a welcome opportunity to celebrate it anew.

Despite co-funding from German radio, the recording represented a major investment for the independent ACT label in the days before it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rabih Abou-Khalil / Joachim Khn / Jarrod Cagwin: Journey to the Centre of an Egg

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With a program of compositions by Rabih Abou-Khalil and Joachim Kühn, Journey to the Centre of an Egg shifts to various parts of the globe, combining mainstream jazz with world music. Most of the flavor in their creations centers on the Middle Eastern tradition. This comes as no surprise, since Abou-Khalil was born in Lebanon and lived there until adulthood. But the session also includes flavors from other areas, including Spain, the Caribbean, South Africa, and parts of South America.

Abou-Khalil's oud takes on the persona of a blues guitarist on “I'm Better Off Without You, which finds ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rabih Abou-Khalil / Joachim Kuhn / Jarrod Cagwin: Journey to the Centre of an Egg

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The amount of time that Rabih Abou-Khalil had to wait to receive proper recognition in North America was almost criminal. After amassing ten releases on the German Enja label, the Lebanese oud virtuoso finally penetrated the Western hemisphere through a licensing deal with Montreal's Justin Time and the release of 2004's border-bridging sextet effort, Morton's Foot.

And so expectations are high for this more intimate trio followup, which prominently features German pianist/co-composer Joachim Kühn (who plays alto saxophone on one track) and American percussionist Jarod Cagwin, a specialist in North African and Middle Eastern styles. Wolfgang Reisinger pitches in with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rabih Abou-Khalil / Joachim Kuhn / Jarrod Cagwin: Journey to the Centre of an Egg

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In the realm of instruments from off the beaten path in jazz, the oud remains one of the most intriguing. On a series of ECM albums, Anouar Brahem has experimented with the eleven-string lute in a variety of settings, but he tends to fashion close ties with his Tunisian cultural aesthetic. Lebanese oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil has been more adventurous, with a series of albums ranging from the solo Il Sospiro (Enja, 2002) to the unorthodox Cactus of Knowledge (Enja, 2001) big band. Morton's Foot (Enja, 2004) was a particular high water mark, combining Abou-Khalil's penchant for hypnotic rhythms with uncommon ...



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