by Geno Thackara
Joachim Kühn Touch the Light ACT Music 2021 Centuries-old classical, rock from recent decades, jazz staples both classic and modernto Joachim Kühn it's all just good music regardless of style, and it seems any material can be suited to the mood at hand when he's in a mind to play with it. This recital is indeed radiant in the most soft-spoken and thoughtful of ways. Touch the Light is as exquisitely crafted as you'd hope ...read more
by Karl Ackermann
Reportedly, Ornette Coleman did not have a great affinity for pianists, but it was the instrument--rather than the musicians--that put Coleman off. As an innovator in free jazz, Coleman found the chordal instrument too intrusive and preferred a more sympathetic bass/soloist interaction. Coleman did record with pianists Geri Allen and Paul Bley, but he established a regular touring schedule of duo performances with Joachim Kühn. Coleman and Kühn only recorded together on Colors: Live from Leipzig (Verve, 1997). That outing ...read more
by Karl Ackermann
The German ACT label achieved global recognition when they issued the Esbjorn Svensson Trio album Viaticum (2005) and they warrant broader discovery by U.S. jazz fans. Though their country's best known label casts a global shadow over its competition, the ACT catalog has included Richie Beirach, Lars Danielsson, Vijay Iyer, Manu Katche, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bugge Wesseltoft, Tore Brunborg and a host of other well-known artists. Among those talents is one the finest--but under-recognized--jazz pianists of the past half-century. Joachim Kühn ...read more
by Ian Patterson
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 ...read more
by Bruce Lindsay
The sleeve notes to Chalaba describe German pianist and alto saxophonist Joachim Kühn as a veteran of the conscious avant-garde." This is certainly accurate--he's worked with Archie Shepp and Ornette Coleman, among others--but the description sounds rather forbidding, a portent of some serious and complex sounds for the mind but not the body. Thankfully it misleads: for while Kühn, vocalist and guembri player Majid Bekkas, and percussionist Ramon Lopez do produce some serious music, they also create some splendidly joyous ...read more
by Chris May
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 ...read more
by John Kelman
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 ...read more