Europe Jazz Media Chart - April 2024

A selection of the hot new music surfacing across the continent this month by the top European jazz magazines and websites.

Madli-Liis Parts, Muusika (Estonia)


Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

JASMINE MYRA: Rising (Gondwana Records)

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)

MICHAŁ AFTYKA QUINTET: Frukstrat (Multukulti Project)

There is praise flowing in for the Michał Aftyka Quintet, a group of super talented young Polish musicians. Frukstrat, their first recording, has just been awarded a Fryderyk (Poland’s equivalent of Grammy) as the Phonograhic Debut Album of the Year – Jazz, and, even more importantly, nominated for the German Jazz Prize 2024 in the category “Debut Album of The Year – International.” Michał Aftyka is an outstanding bassist and his quintet includes equally astonishing players: Marcin Elszkowski on trumpet, Marcin Konieczkowicz on alto saxophone, Tymon Kosma on vibraphone, and Stefan Raczkowski on drums. Their captivating music is a mix of different stylistic refenences, sophisticated harmonies and rhythmic solutions, but the overall sound is homogenous and fresh. The titles of the compositions, all by Michał Aftyka, suggest literary inspirations from contemporary, and not so contempoary sources (prose and poetry). Frukstrat captures fears and emotions of the new generation.

Krzysztof Komorek, Donos kulturalny (Poland)


The music composed by Ligeti alone makes a huge impression on the listener. And the ensemble creations of Miklós Lukács elevate the whole to a level of near perfection. The trio sensationally finds inspiration in Ligeti to follow their own paths and works superbly with the wind instruments. The musical worlds intermingle and merge in a perfect way, masterfully creating a unique play of imagination.

Jan Granlie, (Norway)

AUROM: O svage sind (Nye nor)

In the folk music trio, Aurom, there are three vocalists (Malin Alander, Guro Utne Salvesen and Ingeborg Lognvik Reinholdt) who are perfectly suited to each other. They come from three different Norwegian folk music traditions, but they unite excellent in this project. They take turns being the "leading" voice, but the whole record is a collective with a three headed choir that sounds wonderful. An exceptionally delicious and exciting record, from three exquisite folk singers from Norway.

Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)

ORBIT KID: Orbit Kid Society (Berthold Records)

Dick Hovenga, Written in Music (Netherlands)

MARK LOCKHEART: Smiling (Edition Records)

Saxophonist Mark Lockheart is an icon of British jazz. By now prominent on stages and in the studio for four decades, the last few years have been dominated by very striking and excellent records under his own name. The very strong and deliciously exuberant Smiling is no exception. Smiling is an album by a purebred musician who has only continued to grow musically and is still hungry to write, arrange, play and record new adventurous music. Who, as a true bandleader, can be heard at his best, but at the same time gives even more space to the other musicians. Because he knows the compositions demand it. Smiling is pure jazz enjoyment. On compositions such as Lunch With The Devil, you can hear the pleasure of playing and the arranging class splashing off the track. Speaking of arranging....hoe beautiful then is Wrap Me Up...absolute world class! And of course then you need great musicians who get what you want and take it to an even higher level with their playing.

Viktor Bensusan, (Türkiye)

DARIUS JONES: fLuXkit Vancouver (i̶t̶s suite but sacred) (We Jazz Records)

Free jazz sacredly meets philosophy with a string quartet for Vancouver...

Nuno Catarino, (Portugal)


Two saxophonists from different generations - the veteran Bruno Parrinha and the youngster João Gato - meet in an exploratory dialog. The duo work on an improvised conversation, in which the instruments intertwine, dialoguing, exchanging ideas, in a very curious and challenging process. The music is purely improvised and is based on a process of communication, of action and reaction, in constant articulation. Each element introduces ideas, provokes, leads in different directions. A beautiful improvised and exploratory dialog that results in creative music.

Tony Dudley-Evans, LondonJazz News (UK)

DEE BYRNE: Outlines (Whirlwind Recordings)

Alto saxophonist/composer Dee Byrne leads a sextet also featuring Nick Malcolm on trumpet, Tom Ward on clarinets, Rebecca Nash on piano, Olie Brice on double bass, Andrew Lisle on drums.  As Jon Turney wrote in his review: "This is an impressively unified project featuring players of growing reputation who know each other well and Byrne deploys her forces with arresting skill. It’s a great lesson in how just a little extra resource can allow a writer to conjure a whole range of effects not available from a regular jazz quartet."  The rhythm team of Brice and Lisle ensure that there is always a strong pulse underpinning the frontline soloists. And Byrne's YouTube video (link below) starts with her entering a tiny shed....and opens up a completely new world.

Patrik Sandberg, Jazz (Sweden)

CHARLES LLOYD: The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow (Blue Note)

With The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow, Charles Lloyd's first studio recording since the 2017 sessions-acclaimed Blue Note albums Vanished Gardens and Tone Poem, Lloyd continues his monumental music making,as a band leader,composer, flutist, and a saxophonist. The album also gives us first-time recordings of six new Lloyd compositions including the title track in company with Brian Blade, Jason Moran and Larry Grenadier.

Cim Meyer, All That... (Denmark)

QUINSIN NACHOFF: Pivotal Arc (Whirlwind Recordings)

Quinsin Nachoff – from Toronto, Canada but based now in New York, USA ‒ demonstrates an equally heartfelt facility with the free-flowing language of jazz improvisation, the depth and rigor of classical composition and the direct melodicism of folk forms. Stravinsky, Weill, Ligeti, Berg, Prokofiev, Strayhorn and Ellington appear as inspirations, but a twisted and deconstructed tango is the main focus. This sonic palette has the form of two concertos perfectly executed by a superb cross-genre ensemble: Nachoff with Nathalie Bonin, Mark Helias, Satoshi Takeishi, Michael Davidson, the Molinari String Quartet and conductor JC Sanford.

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)

ELEPHANT9: Mythical River (Rune Grammofon)

Matthieu Jouan, (France)

FUR: Bond (BMC)

The FUR Trio (Hélène Duret - clar ; Benjamin Sauzereau - g ; Maxime Rouayroux - d) uses collective music and rapid interaction as a means of expression. This disc, recorded with remarkable quality at BMC Studios, is the trio's statement of principle. Very melodic melodies, sparkling little gaps, roundness of sound - on both clarinet and guitar - and a penchant for circular, repetitive motifs. The two musicians who accompany the clarinettist are well worth getting to know, and she proves once again that she will be a force to be reckoned with in the future of European jazz. But those who have heard her in the Suzanne Trio or with her group Synestet already know!

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)


Yves Tassin, JazzMania (Belgium)

TOINE THYS ORLANDO: Betterlands (Hypnote Records)

Even more so than on the first album, the quartet's overall sound is an obvious choice, blending melancholy and exaltation and creating a unique sonic backdrop. (Jean-Pierre Goffin)

Jos Demol, (Belgium)

TUTU PUOANE: Wrapped In Rhythm vol. 1 (SoulFactory Records)

Tutu Puoane realises a dream come true with Wrapped In Rhythm, in spirit and roots, a profound and powerful statement, which she translates musically in a grandiose and serene and inspired singing.” (Bernard Lefèvre)

Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More (Switzerland)

MOOR MOTHER: The Great Bailout (Anti)

Kaspars Zavileiskis, (Latvia)

JŪLIJA ZAKIROVA: Golden Hour (self-released)

The spring sun also makes you look at jazz in a more playful mood. This is exactly how Latvian singer Jūlija Zakirova’s debut album Golden Hour was conceived. A ten-song journey through the sunny eighties, recalling the narrative claimed by artists like Prince, Stevie Wonder and the like. Andris Buiķis, drummer of the jazz-funk band Very Cool People, who has also announced himself as an unusual composer, arranger and producer in recent years, helped create the retro sound. Jūlija Zakirova is a Latvian singer of Tatar origin, so the mostly playful party also features moods dedicated to ethnic roots, as can be heard in the track... Roots. Relaxed and colorful debut performance in the Latvian pop-jazz scene. And vinyl freaks can also look for a Golden Hour copy.

Jacek Brun, (Germany)

WERNER PUSCH: My Destination (uniSono-Records)

Music based on the sensitivity and empathy of the band members, on their experience of improvisation, without imposed compositions or forms, rich in ideas but free of intrusive constraints. On this album, each musician does what he does best, and so the music itself is not surprising. The boundaries between the fixed and the improvised are fluid. Although there are formally five pieces, the album can be listened to in one sitting. The technical quality of the recordings is outstanding, not in the least different from today's productions and even surpassing them.