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Frank Gratkowski


Frank Gratkowski plays clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, alto saxophone, flute. He was born in Hamburg, Germany. Gratkowski started playing the saxophone at 16 and, following a period at the Hamburg Conservatory (Hamburger Musikhochschule), moved in 1985 to study at the Cologne Conservatory of Music with Heiner Wiberny, graduating in 1990. Then after he studies with Charlie Mariano, Sal Nistico and Steve Lacy. Frank Gratkowski has been working as a soloist in various international formations (Grubenklang Orchester, Klaus Koenig Orchester, Musikfabrik NRW, Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra, Bentje Braam, BikBentBraam, All Ears, Zeitkratzer, WDR Big band, etc.)


Article: Album Review

Simon Nabatov 3 + 2: Verbs

Read "Verbs" reviewed by John Sharpe

What constitutes a composition? German-based Russian-born pianist Simon Nabatov makes a convincing case that a simple verbal instruction can suffice on Verbs. It is not a claim he makes himself, but the six supposed improvisations each mines such a distinctive seam that, although spontaneously conceived without melody or other formal arrangement, the initial proposition proves enough. ...


Tender Mercies

Label: Clean Feed Records
Released: 2023
Track listing: Turn of events; Tender mercies; Safe home; Cagey; Layers of disguise; Surfaces; Disgruntled settlement.


Article: Year in Review

John Sharpe's Best Jazz Albums Of 2023

Read "John Sharpe's Best Jazz Albums Of 2023" reviewed by John Sharpe

From the 200 or so discs that I heard in 2023, here are ten new issues and one archival release, which gave me the most pleasure. As always these picks are entirely subjective. And take no account of the many other albums that I would no doubt have loved if I had heard them. So perhaps ...


Article: In Pictures

Soundscapes #4 Berlin

Read "Soundscapes #4 Berlin" reviewed by Luciano Rossetti


Article: Album Review

Frank Gratkowski, Simon Nabatov: Tender Mercies

Read "Tender Mercies" reviewed by John Sharpe

This collection of seven duets from pianist Simon Nabatov and reedman Frank Gratkowski stands as one of those times when the late Misha Mengelberg's term “instant composition" for a series of seat-of-the-pants encounters makes absolute sense. Perhaps that should not be a surprise, considering the protagonists histories and shared base in the German city of Cologne. ...


Article: In Pictures

Novara Jazz 2023

Read "Novara Jazz 2023" reviewed by Luciano Rossetti


Article: Radio & Podcasts

James Brandon Lewis, Clean Feed, and Tomasz Stanko

Read "James Brandon Lewis, Clean Feed, and Tomasz Stanko" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

This episode is packed with interesting new releases, starting with James Brandon Lewis and a new trio and a new label. You'll get a taste of several new albums from the latest batch from Clean Feed Records, as well as Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra, Aussies Alister Spence at the piano with drummer Tony Buck (The ...


Article: Album Review

Sebi Tramontana: Unfolding To Be You

Read "Unfolding To Be You" reviewed by Mark Corroto

This solo trombone recording by Sebi Tramontana could be called a master class if it wasn't such an intimate and personal experience. The Sicilian-born trombonist known for his work in the Italian Instabile Orchestra, the Georg Graewe Quintet, Pipeline 8, and free improvised duos with everyone from Frank Gratkowski to Giovanni Maier, Jeb Bishop and Joëlle ...


Article: Festivals Talking

Moers Festival Interviews: Max Johnson

Read "Moers Festival Interviews: Max Johnson" reviewed by Martin Longley

New York bassist Max Johnson has embarked on a European tour with his trio, in the run-up to the release of their new album Orbit Of Sound (Unbroken Sounds, 2022). They are playing crucial venues such as Roskam in Brussels and The Loft in Cologne, doubtless climaxing at the Moers Festival, also in Germany (3rd-6th June). ...


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