Europe Jazz Media Chart - December 2023

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

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)

KRZYSZTOF KOMEDA QUINTET: Live in Bled 1965 (GAD Records)

Following Krzysztof Komeda’s Live in Praha 1964, this is another sensational find from the great Polish label GAD Records. Live in Bled 1965 is a never before released concert recording of the Komeda Quintet at the International Jazz Festival in Bled, Yugoslavia, remastered from the original tapes that rested in archives of the  RTV Slovenija for nearly six decades. Of special significance is the fact that it features two Komeda’s extended compositions, “Kattorna” and “Svantetic,” that were included in his legendary album Astigmatic (Polish Jazz, vol. 5), recorded half a year later. Astigmatic has been hailed as the greatest Polish jazz album of all time. For the curious fan, it will be interesting to compare both recordings, find differences and similarities. The lineup is quite different, as only two musicians appear on both: the leader at the piano and Tomasz Stańko on trumpet. The personnel on the Bled album is completed by Janusz Muniak on saxophones, Roman Dyląg on bass, and Andrzej Dąbrowski on drums. On Astigmatic they were replaced by Zbigniew Namysłowski, Gunter Lenz and Rune Carlsson, respectively. Adam Baruch wrote the liner notes, in Polish and English. A treasure.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

JASPER HØIBY’S 3 ELEMENTS: Earthness (Edition)

Krzysztof Komorek, Donos kulturalny (Poland)


Every last piece of the artistic puzzle played perfectly here. An excellent choice of texts and linking them to the music. Sensational collaboration between the artists. The richness of the cello sounds, the subtlety of the percussion playing, impressive display of Sanne Rambags' vocal abilities. "Twigs "is a display of maturity and mastery. An excellent album.

Jan Granlie, (Norway)

MICHAEL MOORE/JOHN POPE/JOHNNY HUNTER: Something Happened (New And Improvised Music Recordings)

In the spring of 2022, the American, now Amsterdam resident, saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Moore visited Great Britain to play six concerts in collaboration with one of the most exciting rhythm groups in Northern England, bassist John Pope and drummer Johnny Hunter. All three musicians brought compositions, Moore got four on the record, Pope two and Hunter three. Then they spent the week playing gigs, perfecting, developing and changing the songs, so that what we get on the record is both spontaneous, played through several times and is performed as if they had done nothing but play this music together for many years. This is further proof that the hard core of jazz musicians in Newcastle, here represented by John Pope and Johnny Hunter, were excellent collaborators for Michael Moore. And together they have made a magnificent album of varied and fine jazz for alto saxophone/clarinet, bass and drums. The album is called Something Happened, and what happened these days was perhaps surprising for the three musicians, and the title Something Happened, is quite a big understatement, because this week really great music was made. Free improvised music, together with swing, the 60’s best trio jazz and spontaneous and really, interesting communication.

Dick Hovenga, Written in Music (Netherlands)

MIGUEL ATWOOD-FERGUSON: Les Jardins Mystique vol.1 (Brainfeeder)

Los Angeles-based musician/arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson is one of the most important new jazz names of the past decade. He was prominent in the emergence of a great new wave of jazz musicians from Los Angeles/America and London/England, helping every musician to great heights with his playing and arrangements. He also worked with lots of other musicians and popstars. Of course, it was about time he came out with his full-length album. The album he promised label owner Flying Lotus when he signed with Brainfeeder ten years ago and has been working on intermittently for the past twelve years: Les Jardins Mystiques Vol.1. With 52 tracks and a playing time of 3 ½ hours (!) it is an massive at the same time impressive musically universal pice of work that, remarkably enough and in spite of the number of pieces and the different styles that pass, a coherent masterpiece.. Les Jardins Mystiques Vol.1. is a masterpiece of unparalleled stature that impresses in the best possible way, certainly on the base of the compositions as well as on all those resounding names that Atwood-Ferguson gathered around him. The first part in this very exuberant trilogy offers an immense wealth of music for years to come.

Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)

KARL IVAR REFSETH: Unfolding (Traumton)

Viktor Bensusan, (Turkey)

YAMAMOTO TSUYOSHI TRIO: A Shade of Blue (Evolution Media Limited)

Somewhere in between Errol Garner and Ramsey Lewis, a back to basics piano trio album from a Japanese jazz legend.

Nuno Catarino, (Portugal)


This new album marks the reunion of two historic names in European jazz, Maria João (vocals) and Carlos Bica (double bass). The highlight of the record is the interpretation of the title track, "Close to You", by Burt Bacharach, and the quartet gives new form to other songs such as "Woodstock" (Joni Mitchell), "Norwegian Wood" (Lennon/McCartney) and "Oh My Love" (Lennon). There are also originals: "Valsa B" and "Iceland" by Carlos Bica, and "Acute Angles" by João Farinha and Maria João. And the album closes with a rendition of "What a Wonderful World". More than a nostalgic reunion, this is an album of music made now, in this time, by veteran musicians who use their experience, maturity and knowledge to create art.

Henning Bolte, freelance (Netherlands)

MAREIKE WIENING: Reveal (Greenleaf Music)

This is the third album of German Drummer Mareike Wiening released on the label of New York trumpeter Dave Douglas who is also guesting on 3 pieces. I saw Mareike Wiening live in a couple of contexts and was impressed by her light and exact way of drumming with constant alert shifting of shadings and coloring. She found her very own approach between/beyond impressionistic and expressionistic. 

Peter Slavid, LondonJazz News (UK)

MOONMOT: 350 Million Herring (ENJA Records)

Anglo-Swiss sextet Moonmot manage to combine fierce improvisation with lyrical passages, in a way that is complex but accessible. The frontline features London improvising saxophonists Cath Roberts and Dee Byrne alongside Swiss trombonist Simon Petermann, with a rhythm section of Oli Kuster from Bern on keyboards, Seth Bennett from Scotland on bass, and drummer Johnny Hunter from Manchester. Born remotely during lockdowns, and clearly irritated by politicians falsely promising £350 million for the UK during Brexit, the band have managed to overcome the post Brexit travel problems to create an exciting multinational blend.

Patrik Sandberg, Jazz (Sweden)

KOMA SAXO: Post Koma (We Jazz Records)

The album title Post Koma aptly describes the mood where live instrumentation and reused sampling blur the boundaries. On the group's previous albums, Petter Eldh has moved  between the overproduced and the raw, direct. Eldh himself says that his vision is about describing what the essence of music is and how it takes shape and constantly challenges itself while moving forward, not how the music is played.

Cim Meyer, Jazz Special (Denmark)

KENNETH DAHL KNUDSEN: Atlas (self-released)

One track out of nine may be a bit stagnant but the rest are of a high standard. Danish band-leader and composer Kenneth Dahl Knudsen and his truly international sextet - comprising vocal, duduk /zurna, piano, viola, oud beside Knudsen’s double bass - delivers a world of music: Classical, jazz and roots. “New directions in the borderland between modern and ancient, Middle Eastern and European, composed and improvised”, as the press release informs us.

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)

BYE LILA: And The Summer Came (Nice Things Records)

Matthieu Jouan, (France)

BONANZA OF DOOM!: Bonanza of Doom! (Sheep Chase Records)

This new Nordic venture, conceived by a group of devoted, daring and resourceful musicians, is a delightful revelation. The music comprises lively, binary jazz and captivating, trance-like soundscapes. Undoubtedly, this project will be featured in European festivals, for it epitomizes the cutting edge of contemporary music with its boundless, original and innovative spirit.

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz thing (Germany)

SHAKE STEW: Lila (Traumton)

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)

TELLKUJIRA (Ambra Chiara Michelangeli, Francesco Diodati, Francesco Guerri, Stefano Calderano): Tellkujira (SUPERPANG Records)

Yves Tassin, JazzMania (Belgium)


Sophie Tassignon is an active citizen whose pragmatic philosophy, unlike many empty political speeches, highlights a reality : a lasting encounter between distinct civilizations is always partly cultural. It requires a decision, a will, an approach and concrete actions of which this artistic production is a splendid reflection. (Pierre Dulieu).

Jos Demol, (Belgium)

CHRIS JORIS: Until The Darkness Fades (W.E.R.F.)

The dreamed-up double shot of studio and stage to give W.E.R.F.'s 30 years the necessary lustre. (Georges Tonla Briquet)

Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More (Switzerland)

BILLY MOHLER: Ultraviolet (Contagious Music)

Kaspars Zavileiskis, (Latvia)

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Live at the M/Darbnīca, Vol.1 (Jersika Records)

A unique project in the Latvian jazz scene – a compilation of concert recordings made on analog tapes, which includes original works by the most current Latvian jazz artists and some foreign colleagues. The recordings were made last year in the leading Riga jazz cafe M/Darbnīca, released on double vinyl and offer a wide insight into current jazz of various styles in Latvia. There's post-bop and neo-bop, spiritual and electric jazz, experimental jazz and avant-garde, funk and even bluegrass. This is the first compilation album on Jersika Records, but judging by Vol. 1 in the title, probably not the last. The artists heard in this compilation are in their creative highland – Kārlis Auziņš, M.A.S.A., Lupa, Atis Andersons, Miķelis Dzenuška, Matīss Čudars, Kārlis Vanags – and others have a lot more to say in jazz. Waiting for that.

Jacek Brun, (Germany)

ADAM PIEROŃCZYK: On The Way (self-released)

A very personal and virtuoso project by Adam Pierończyk, one of Poland's leading jazz musicians. Beautiful sounds and melodies as well as rare improvisations exploring normally inaccessible registers (altissimo) of this extremely demanding instrument. The extraordinary melodic talent and incomparable creativity of this wonderful artist make this work an exceptional experience not to be missed.

Madli-Liis Parts, Muusika (Estonia)

SOFIA RUBINA: I am Soul (Dreams of Tomorrow Production)