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Articles by Friedrich Kunzmann

ALBUM REVIEWS

Q Morrow: There Are Stars In Brooklyn

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While coming across an eclectic mix of various ethnic styles fused with popular music genres isn't an exception in jazz these days (and hasn't been for a while now), one rarely finds as many different influences framed in such coherent compositions as on There Are Stars In Brooklyn. The homogenous instrumentation and production furthermore add to the euphony of the record. This cohesiveness however doesn't mean that New York-based guitarist Q Morrow's writing and performance don't demand the listeners' full ...

INTERVIEWS

Jeremy Rose: on new music, collaborations and running a label

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On top of the highly praised 2017 release The Vampires meet Lionel Loueke (Earshift Music 2017) with his bandmates from The Vampires, Australian saxophonist Jeremy Rose unleashed his, somewhat overlooked, solo effort Within and Without (Earshift Music 2017) in June that same year. Featuring the unique language of American guitar innovator Kurt Rosenwinkel, the album demonstrates a very mature composer in Rose, who seems to constantly be in search of more depth in melody in correlation with unorthodox compositional structures. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Escreet: Learn To Live

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Take some sweet melodies from Jeff Lynn's ELO, add Keith Emerson on synth and think of an underlying rumbling towards more experimental sound collages, rooted somewhere between the electronic approach of Brian Eno and Miles Davis' early organic-fusion extravaganzas and you'll end up with... well, let's be honest, it still won't sound anything like what keyboardist / composer John Escreet has to offer on Learn to Live . While one preferably shan't judge a book by its cover, his first ...

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Benjamin Deschamps: No Codes

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After having been exposed to the enticing Trioliloquy by the A/B Trio and Christian McBride's thrilling New Jawn, here is another formation which renounces any harmonic instrument and rather relies on the abilities of two saxophones and a tight rhythm section--so No Codes has no chords. Montreal-based alto saxophonist and composer Benjamin Deschamps is joined by Frank Lozano on tenor sax, while the rhythm section is Sebastien Pellerin on bass and Louis-Vincent Hamel driving the beat. In a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

A/B Trio: Trioliloquy

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The suffix “-loquy" refers to something that is spoken. Alberta-based trio A/B Trio however has no intention of lecturing anyone on their third release Trioliloquy , but rather demonstrates how three musicians are able to create suspenseful narratives in a pool of colorful jazz tunes that be, bop and--once in a while--get blue as well. Thomas Bennett on drums, Dan Davis on saxophone and bassist Josh McHan are joined by trumpeter Kevin Turcotte for a couple of songs, augmenting the ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Friedrich Kunzmann's 2018 Top 5: A fine year for the ECM catalogue

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When looking back at the year one won't find more peace or joy than on the musical side of things. For in this realm there are nor real losers. Here, disappointment is relative and success is all over the place because everyone is trying to be their best possible selves, constantly on a path of self-improvement and reflection. A collective inwardness mirrors the individual looking outward; musicians listening to one another, understanding one another and building upon the constant exchange ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Wendel: The Seasons

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For many centuries composers have set to music the different seasons each new year has to offer (lately, some show the tendency of disappearing more and more. Seasons, not composers). Baroque composer Vivaldi's very straightforward division in four on “Le Quattro Stagioni" has to be one of the most prominent examples. Saxophonist and composer Ben Wendel however was inspired by 19th century superstar Pyotr Tchaikovsky's “Les Saisons" when in January of 2015 he decided to document a series of 12 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Dwiki Dharmawan: Rumah Batu

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On his third album for Moonjune Records, Indonesian pianist Dwiki Dharmawan delivers a highly focused work and presents a wide array of styles, bound together by a core quintet and one common musical vision. While its predecessor Pasar Klewer found Dharmawan working with two alternating guitarists over a two-disc set of compositions, on Rumah Batu he happily settles with France-based Nguyen Le, giving this record a special sense of uniformity and spontaneous dynamism. Yaron Stavi and Asaf Sirkis ...

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Dairo Miyamoto: Last Picture

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Now here is one very special album by an exceptional artist, who created his own unique little ethereal space in this vast musical landscape. Known for having been trumpeter Jun Miyake 's go-to mulit-instrumentalist and close friend, the late Dairo Miyamoto leaves behind an exceptional body of work for the world to discover and tops it off with one of his most refined demonstrations in Last Picture --an album that bursts with creativity and a rare sense of refinement and ...

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Atlantis Quartet: Hello Human

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Even though, after 12 years of existence and four critically acclaimed albums, Minnesota-based collaboration Atlantis Quartet has nothing further to prove, the formation presents itself more invigorated than ever. Hello Human showcases a versatile and energetic quartet, presenting 10 originals which span from humble post-bop exercises to punk-infused riff workouts, all the while enveloped by a coherent overall sound. Just recently guitarist Zac Harris exposed his appealingly warm guitar tone on trio recording American Reverie (Shifting Paradigm Records ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nobuki Takamen: The Nobuki Takamen Trio

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On his seventh release as a leader, New York-based fret-wizard Nobuki Takamen relies on his fellow trio mates, bassist Toshiyuki Tanahashi and drummer Naoki Akiwa, to present a set of exclusively original material. On The Nobuki Takamen Trio, he not only substantiates his reputation as a natural-born bop guitarist, but also proves he is a gifted composer with a highly versatile repertoire. Opening the album at its most sober, “The Circle Game" finds the trio swirling around its ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Aaron Parks: Little Big

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After an absence from activity as a leader, pianist and composer, Aaron Parks reemerged in 2017 with a new trio formation, releasing the highly acclaimed Find The Way (ECM), which carried on the unique harmonic language found four years prior, on the solo Arborescence (ECM, 2013). Today's Little Big, however, comes much more in the vein of his major label debut, Invisible Cinema (Blue Note 2008). The modern approach of an electric band, slower harmonic progressions and more immediate melodic ...