The juries have decided

List of the 40 bands who will give showcase concerts at jazzahead! 2019
Dear colleagues,

Below you will find an overview of the bands which have been selected for the short concerts, i.e. this is the list of the showcase bands for jazzahead! 2019 at Messe Bremen, together with a thumbnail description of each group, taken from their press packs. Jazzahead! 2019 takes place from Thursday 25 April until Sunday 28 April, with the showcases from the Thursday to the Saturday.

Norwegian Night, Donnerstag, 25. April 2019

Espen Berg Trio
Espen Berg (p), Bárdur Reinert Poulsen (db), Simon Albertsen (dr)

„Named JAZZ JAPAN’s biggest and most important discovery in the first half of 2016, the Norwegian jazz trio Espen Berg Trio released their second album (…) JAZZWISE (UK) writes that ,Bølge‘ is a mature statement from an artist whose personal style, concept and seemingly bottomless wellspring of ideas set him apart from his contemporaries.“

Frode Haltli Avant Folk
Frode Haltli (acc), Erlend Apneseth (Hardanger fiddles), Hans P. Kjorstad (vln), Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (sax), Hildegunn Øiseth (tpt, goat horn, voc), Sigbjørn Apeland (hrm, rhodes), Stein Urheim (g), Oddrun Lilja Jonsdottir (g, voc), Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson (db), Siv Øyunn Kjenstad (dr)

„Frode Haltli Avant Folk is an all-star cast of Norwegian musicians spanning all ages, generations and genres, a elaboration of Frode Haltli’s work somewhere in the twilight zone between jazz, contemporary and folk music.”

Gard Nilssen’s Acoustic Unitiy
André Roligheten (sax), Gard Nilssen (dr), Ole Morten Vågan (db)

„If you ask the names of the most prominent and sought after jazz- and improvised music drummers in Norway, you can be sure to find Gard Nilssen on that list.”

Hedvig Mollestad Trio
Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen (g), Ellen Brekken (db, b-g), Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (dr)

„With six albums in seven years, this explosive and expansive trio have gone from strength to strength, gathering respect from both rock and jazz camps, sharing big stages with the likes of John McLaughlin and Black Sabbath, and being equally popular and comfortable in jazz and rock clubs.“

Karl Seglem Band
Karl Seglem (ts, goat horn, voc), Håkon Høgemo (Hardanger fiddle), Helga Myhr (Hardanger fiddle, voc), Andreas Ulvo (p, key), Lars Jakob Rudjord (rhodes, key), Hallvard Gaardløs (b) Kåre Opheim (dr)

Karl Seglem „is unquestionably one of the great innovators and visionaries of Norwegian music, reinvigorating both jazz and traditional genres with his unswerving will to fuse expressions, pursue crossover ventures and embrace new instruments, sounds and perspectives.”

Hans Hulbækmo (dr), Øystein Aarnes Vik (dr), Heida Mobeck (tba), Anja Lauvdal (p, syn), Adrian Løseth Waade (vln), Ina Sagstuen (voc), Ida Løvli Hidle (acc), Torstein Lavik Larsen (tpt), Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (tb), Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson (db), Lars Ove Fossheim (g), Marius Klovning (st- g)

„Skadedyr is a twelve piece orchestra based in Oslo, uniting young and creative musicians from the Norwegian jazz, impro and experimental rock/pop scene. Their live shows are always celebrated and they have been praised as a group pushing the musical boundaries of a large jazz orchestra. Still they insist on being a band, not an orchestra – rehearsing and performing without sheets.“

Thomas Strønen‘s Time is a blind guide
Thomas Strønen (dr) Håkon Aase (vln), Ole Morten Vågan (db), Ayumi Tanaka (p), Leo Svensson Sander (clo)

„Thomas Strønen’s Time is a blind guide is a true chamber music ensemble with a strong group sound performing compelling compositions. It draws lines from traditional folk music to contemporary music, performed some of Europe finest jazz musicians.“

European Jazz Meeting, Freitag, 26. April 2019
Adam Bałdych Quartet, Poland
Adam Bałdych (vln), Krzysztof Dys (p), Michal Baranski (db), Dawid Fortuna (dr)

„Adam Bałdych’s music presents very European origins by putting classical music and elements of Polish folk music in a continuous context towards the artistic expression. ,My new Polish Quartet matches the definition of Polish Jazz, unpredictable music that balances on the edge in every sense of this word.‘“ A.B.

Yacine Boularès (sax), Sarah E. Charles (voc), Michael Valeanu (g), Samuel Favreau (el-b), Benjamin Rando (p, key), Guilhem Flouzat (dr)

„AJOYO featuring Sarah E. Charles is the vision of saxophonist Yacine Boularès: a mystic brew blending African tradition, jazz and soul. (…) Stomping towards you in the eye of the dancer, arms open, horns, bell and bass interwoven like the fabric of a ceremonial dress, AJOYO speaks the language of the talking drum with a New York accent.“

AKSHAM, France/Switzerland/Great Britain
Elina Duni (voc), David Enhco (tpt), Marc Perrenoud (p), Florent Nisse (db), Fred Pasqua (dr)

„The quintet captures distant melodies, overcomes geographical boundaries, and explores new musical territories. (…) AKSHAM is a five-part storyteller who sends shivers down your spine.“

Elliot Galvin, Great Britain
Elliot Galvin (p)

DownBeat USA: „Glorious in it’s arrestingly planned order of manic development“. Evening Standard: „Audacious and Inspired… A Rising Star.“ All About Jazz: „Iconoclastic… Brilliantly inventive.“ **** Jazz In Europe: „Unique, sounds like no one else… A definitive style all of his own.“

Flat Earth Society, Belgium
Wim Segers (vib), Michel Mast (ts), Martin Melia Marganon (cl), Kristof Roseeuw (db), Peter Vandenberghe (p,key), Peter Delannoye (tb), Teun Verbruggen (dr, perc), Frederik Leroux-Roels (g), Marc Meeuwissen (tb), Benjamin Boutreur (as), Pauline Leblond (tpt), Berlinde Deman (tba), Bruno Vansina (bar, fl) Peter Vermeersch (cl), Bart Maris (tpt)

„The music of FES, varying from strictly written sheet music to liberating improvisation, is 95% homemade. (…). FES, who dares to flirt with other disciplines like theatre and film, owns the ability to seduce a number of different audiences, from more select jazz listeners to a wild young rock public, and is at its best live on stage.“

Giovanni Guidi „Avec Le Temps“ Quintet, Italy
Francesco Bearzatti (ts), Roberto Cecchetto (g), Giovanni Guidi (p), Thomas Morgan (db), Joao Lobo (dr)

„,Avec Le Temps‘ is the new exciting Giovanni Guidi’s project (…). All the band members share the same idea: making music with an immediate impact, focusing on lyrical and melodic aspects not leaving aside the chance to take a journey to new and unknown territories.“

Lisbon Underground Music Ensemble (LUME), Portugal
Marco Barroso (p), Manuel Luís Cochofel (fl), Paulo Gaspar (scl), João Pedro Silva (ss), Ricardo Toscano (as), José Menezes (ts), Elmano Coelho (bsx), Rui Chainho (tpt), Gonçalo Marques (tpt), Pedro Monteiro (tpt), Rúben Santos (tb), Eduardo Lála (tb), Pedro Canhoto (tb), Miguel Amado (el-b), Vicky Marques (dr)

„The fifteen piece group (…) is inspired by the tradition of the Big band model, but updates it’s speech in an intelligent, ironic and skilful fashion. L.U.M.E.‘s music combines written composition with improvisation, and reaches from funk to textural music, from boogie woogie to impressionist environments … with a Zappian twist! …“

Makiko Hirabayashi Trio, Denmark
Makiko Hirabayashi (p, perc, voc), Marilyn Mazur (dr, perc), Klavs Hovman (db)

„There are many fine pianists from Japan, but more than anyone, Makiko Hirabayashi invites you to the musical universe of wonder, where the depths and forms of the human emotions are revealed, and become landscapes where stories are told.“

Marie Kruttli Trio, Switzerland
Marie Kruttli (p), Lukas Traxel (db), Jamie Murray (dr)

„The Marie Kruttli Trio inspires, vivid, fresh, brilliant and audacious. Jazz needs trios like this says a Jazz critic about their debut album in 2014. (…) the three musicians deliver a highly pertinent music. No hipster minimalism, no irony but clear and powerful ideas.“

MDC III, Belgium
Mattias De Craene (reeds, loops), Simon Segers (dr, perc, elec), Lennert Jacobs (dr, perc)

„One of reed player Mattias De Craene’s many projects – MDC III – is a project involving drums and saxophone. (…) Shifting moods and textures are combined with intricate rhythmical patterns (…). A minimal pulse, accompanied by murmuring hisses of brushes and a serenading sax is contrasted with moments of exuberance.“

Naïssam Jalal (fl, nay, voc), Claude Tchamitchian (db), Leonardo Montana (p)

„A creation which oscillates between pondering and trance, silence and music. Nominated to the Victory of Jazz 2018. (…). (The music) is at the cross-road of extra-western, traditional mystic music and modal jazz.“

OZMA, France
Stéphane Scharlé (dr), Edouard Séro-Guillaume (b), Tam de Villiers (g), Jonas Muel (sax, key), Guillaume Nuss (tb)

„The group (…) is a sort of UFO in the jazz world (…). Think of Rage Against the Machine featuring Coltrane, Ray Anderson jamming with Radiohead or Frisell sitting in with the best New Orleans brass bands. The improbable is the essence of OZMA.“

Reis/Demuth/Wiltgen, Luxembourg
Michel Reis (p), Marc Demuth (db), Paul Wiltgen (dr)

„Pianist Michel Reis, bassist Marc Demuth and drummer Paul Wiltgen are three of Luxembourg’s most prominent jazz musicians.,Their Ottawa show was an intense focus of sound, like an espresso shot, still memorable days later.‘“ Ottawa Jazz Scene

Scott McLemore, Iceland
Scott McLemore (dr), Hilmar Jensson (g), David Dorůžka (g), Nicolas Moreaux (db)

„The concert showcased a fine quartet, solid and cohesive, with two guitars that blended together beautifully thanks to their different voices and an admirable sense of measure.” Luca Vitali, All About Jazz

Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio featuring Verneri Pohjola, Iceland/Finland
Sunna Gunnlaugs (p), Verneri Pohjola (tpt), Þorgrimur Jonsson (db), Scott McLemore (dr)

„Sunna Gunnlaugs captures an intimate warmth and icy beauty in the space of one note, over and over again, and that’s why her music is so damn enchanting. (…) Bringing trumpeter Verneri Pohjola into the mix only adds to the visceral impact.” Dave Sumner, Bandcamp, USA

The Rite of Trio, Portugal
André Bastos Silva (g), Filipe Louro (db), Pedro Melo Alves (dr)

„There are times when jazz leads us far away from the fireplace romanticism: times when an artist and his listener don’t even belong to the same quantum universe; times when life remotely makes sense, in its own distorted way. Those are moments like the rite.“

German Jazz Expo, Samstag, 27. April 2019

Botticelli Baby, Essen
Marlon Bösherz (voc, db), Max Wehner (tb), Alexander Niermann (tpt), Jakob Jentgens (sax), Tom Hellenthal (dr), Jörg Buttler (g), Lukas Sziegoleit (p)

„The seven zany characters of Botticelli Baby handcraft their own kind of swing music with a punk attitude. This is a band which shuns the mainstream and offers enlivening early-1930’s style swing, infused both with the drama of the blues and the thrum of Balkan melodies. (…) Botticelli Baby really delivers, and sets the cat among the pigeons 21st century-style.“

Der Weise Panda, Köln/Dinslaken
Jo Beyer (dr), Talia Erdal (clo), Maika Küster (voc), Felix Hauptmann (p), Yannik Tiemann (db)

„You think you know how a jazz band sounds? Dare to err, and listen to the song. Playful from the heart, faithful instincts, vibrant expression in the form of music. A band is a sound. This band is an animal. Disrobe and dance. The wise panda is coming.“

Edi Nulz, Berlin/Wien
Siegmar Brecher (bcl), Julian Adam Pajzs (g), Valentin Schuster (dr)

„This is chamber punk jazz, and they make it as scrawny and mangy as you want it.“ (Andreas Felber, Austrian Radio)

Janning Trumann 6, Köln
Janning Trumann (tb), Verneri Pohjola (tpt), Dierk Peters (vib), Lucas Leidinger (p), Florian Herzog (db), Thomas Sauerborn (dr)

„Janning Trumann 6 is a group that reflects the sound of a young generation of jazz musicians from Germany and Finland who are now rising to prominence.“

Johannes Bigge Trio, Leipzig/Berlin
Johannes Bigge (p), Athina Kontou (db), Max Santner (dr)

„Inspired by bands and artists like Radiohead, The Beatles, Jeff Buckley, Brad Mehldau and The Bad Plus, but also by classical composers such as Skrjabin and Ravel the three musicians move between powerful-repetitive and poetic-atmospheric passages and the open space for improvisation.“

Olga Amelchenko Quartet, Berlin
Olga Amelchenko (as), Igor Osypov (g), Igor Spallati (db), Jesus Vega (dr)

„The young saxophonist’s compositions combine the sound of modern jazz with Siberian folk, rock, plus elements of free improv. They provide an ideal jumping-off point for the band to explore its common goal and to express a multicultural identity. “

Peter Gall Quintett, Berlin
Peter Gall (dr), Wanja Slavin (as), Rainer Böhm (p), Reinier Baas (g), Felix Henkelhausen (db)

„In the past 12 years Peter Gall made a name for himself as masterful meter and composer in various bands (…).Now he presents his first own production, Paradox Dreambox. It doesn’t spring exuberant drumming on the listener, but rather allures with melodious lines and multilayered arrangements, nuanced band interactions and latent energy even in quieter passages.“

Simin Tander & Brinkmann, Köln/Bochum
Simin Tander (voc), Jörg Brinkmann (clo, elec)

„The German-Afghan singer Simin Tander has a richness of sound and an intensity in her voice that are both extremely rare and completely enchanting. (…) The cellist Jörg Brinkmann, who has a substantial international concert career, expands the possibilities of the instrument.“

Overseas Night, Samstag, 27. April 2019

Emie R Roussel Trio, Canada
Emie R Roussel (p, key), Nicolas Bédard (b-g, db), Dominic Cloutier (dr)

„Winner of the Stingray Rising Stars Award at the 2018 TD Halifax Jazz festival, of the 2015 Félix for jazz album of the year for their 3rd album Quantum, and the 2013-14 Opus prize for jazz album of the year for their preceding release, TRANSIT, the Emie R Roussel Trio has experienced a dizzying ascent since 2010, and is now an unstoppable force in the Canadian jazz scene.“

Isfar Sarabski Quartet, Azerbaijan
Isfar Sarabski (p), Behruz Zeynal (tar), Makar Novikov (db), Alexsandr Mashin (dr)

„The origins of jazz-mugham, an unique fusion of traditional styles of Persian / Iranian improvisation with jazz, come from the work of the Azerbaijani pianist Vagif Mustafazedeh in the 1950s, of which Isfar Sarabsky is one of the most prominent followers in the modern scene of the jazz from Azerbaijan.“

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, Canada/Cuba
Jane Bunnett (ss, fl), Melvis Santa (voc, perc), Mary Paz (cga, voc), Dánae Olano (p), Tailin Marrero (ac-bg, el-b), Yissy García (dr)

„Five-time Juno Award winner, Jane Bunnett has turned her bands and recordings into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, the US, and Cuba. She has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, received (for instance) The Order of Canada. (Jane Bunnett and Maqueque …) most recently were voted as one the top ten jazz groups by the prestigious DownBeat magazine’s critics poll.“

Linda May Han Oh, Australia
Linda May Han Oh (db), Fabian Almazan (p), Rudy Royston (dr), Gred Ward (sax)

„Her second album ,Initial Here‘ (…) was mentioned several times for album of the year in various jazz polls. Her (fourth) release in 2017 ,Walk Against Wind‘ on Biophilia Records, received critical acclaim and was featured on the 2017 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll.“

Ludere, Brazil
Rubinho Antunes (tpt), Philippe Baden Powell (p), Bruno Barbosa (db), Daniel de Paula (dr)

„Their instrumentation and rhythmic structure follow traditional jazz components, yet these musicians challenge this tradition and approach sound with international and global influences. (…) One can recognize samba or any music with Brazilian roots in their repertoire because the fluidity of culture they exhibit is profound.“

Matthew Whitaker, USA
Matthew Whitaker (Hammond org, p), Marcos Robinson (g), Karim Hutton (b), Isaiah Johnson (dr)

„Born in 2001 in Hackensack, NJ, Matthew began teaching himself how to play the Hammond B3 organ (at 9). In 2017, he was named (in) Crain’s Business New York breakout list of 20 under 20 as a performing artist. Matthew was named 1 of 7 rising stars for 2018 by USA Today network’s 201 Magazine.“

Quiana Lynell, USA
Quiana Lynell (voc), Daniel Meiniecke (p), Endea Owens (db), Nate Winn (dr), John Maestas (g), TBA (perc)

„A smile, a sound, a calling with passion and soul. These are the things that come to mind when describing a serious vocal discovery.“ Terence Blanchard, 4-Time Grammy Winner and Blue Note Recording Artist & Producer

Trio Abozekrys, Egypt
Mohamed Abozekry (oud), Abdallah Abozekry (saz), Nicolas Thé (dr)

„The oud and the saz (as well as the drums!) emerge here transfigured, far from the usual treatments of these subtle and naturally connoted instruments. (…) Stylistically, we are at the outer reaches of Arab and Western improvised music, far from the precursors of the genre (such as Rabih Abou-Khalil and Anouar Brahem).“


Press release: The Juries have deciced

Attention: After January 28th changes in line ups and error corrections can only be found in the online version.