Europe Jazz Media chart - February 2022

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

Ivan Shelekhov, Meloport (Ukraine)

IHOR TSYMBROVSKY: Come, Angel (Kontakt Audio)

Ihor Tsymbrovsky's "Come, Angel" is an idiosyncratic modern song collection that was recorded some 27 years ago and still gets reprints. While marketed as avant-garde, it is highly lyrical in the first place, with its repertoire based on poetry, both Ukrainian and translated into it, and sung with a striking falsetto. The songs are accompanied by the artist's original piano style that was influenced by jazz, folk and classical music.

Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More (Switzerland)

LEVITATION ORCHESTRA: Illusions and Realities (Gearbox Records)

The first sounds of the harp and an intimately blown flute reminds of ancient minnesong. They exhale calm and comfort, freedom from danger. But security often precedes the unforeseen. As the song develops first strange flexions disturb the equilibrium and invoke contrast. Such dialectics of harmony and aberration are the constant that unite the songs of the Levitation Orchestra. The album is built around two centers: „Listen to her“, the second track in the list, is the musical interpretation of a poem by Dilara Aydin-Corbett dealing with the systemic abuse of women in modern western society impressively culminating in the shouted phrase „spit it out!“ The four part suite „Child“ which 20 minutes fill an entire side of the double LP builds on a subtly grooving intro pierced by a first solo by the violin thereby opening brief passages of quiet for verbal text. This music is dealing with difficult subjects which are approached beautifully in a very transparent and merciless fashion.

Jacek Brun, (Germany)

MARCEL BALIŃSKI TRIO: Opalenizna i Wiatr (self-released)

The album is a revelation! We have here refined compositions, surprisingly leading melodic lines and chord progressions, unusual development of improvisations and attentive, alternating accompaniment of complementary instruments. It is worth giving this album more time, as with each listen it reveals a new wealth of detail to the listener. A treat for all fans of new, weird and unusual ideas.

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)


Recorded in November 2019 in Hilversum, Netherlands, Just Ignore It is the fifth album by an international trio of Leszek Możdżer (Poland), Lars Danielsson (Sweden) and Zohar Fresco (Israel). Możdżer plays piano and keyboards, Danielsson plays acoustic and electric bass, and cello; Zohar on percussion and vocals. They have first met in 2004 and instantly called „a dream team” – for their masterful and inspired playing, musical invention, uncanny improvisations, and telepathic communication. They toured widely with enthusiastic reception wherever they performed. All of their five albums have been released on Leszek’s Outside Music label: The Time (2005), Between Us And The Light (2006), Live (2007), and Polska (2013). On this most recent adventure they are joined by Holland Baroque, a Dutch chamber orchestra specializing in old music (with which Leszek recorded the album “Earth Particles”). Not unexpectedly, “Just Ignore It” takes us into the world of music which is hard to describe or pinpoint, full of delicate melodies, sophisticated harmonic textures, solutions bringing to mind associations with classical music, old and new, and ethnic inspirations, avoiding traditional categories of jazz as we know it. There are nine tracks, composed mostly by either Lars or Leszek. The standout track is Peter Gabriel’s magical hit “Don’t Give Up.” The closing piece, “Tineketta,” features Sopot Music Theatre’s boys choir. It’s a lovely album, do not ignore it.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

BINKER AND MOSES: Feeding the Machine (Gearbox Records)

The fiery sax and drums duo return with a wonderfully expansive new set - which features Max Luthert (best known as an in-demand bassist for the likes of Zara McFarlane and Bill Laurance) on modular synths and effects - which add a haunting, undulating electronic atmosphere behind Binker Golding's surging sax fireworks and Moses Boyd's fluid drum explorations.

Anna Filipieva, (Russia)


Jan Granlie, (Pan-Scandinavian)


"2 Blues For Cecil" brings together three legends in modern improvised music. Drummer Andrew Cyrille (born in 1939) played for a period with pianist Cecil Taylor, and has for many years been considered a legend among the more independent drummers. He have made a number of albums in his own name since his solo debut with "What About" on BYG Actuel in 1971, and we have heard him with Anthony Braxton, Carla Bley, John Carter, Walt Dickerson, David Murray, Horace Tapscott and a number of others. Bassist William Parker (born in 1952) has long been one of our favorites, while Italian trumpeter and grand piano hornist Enrico Rava (born in 1939) has long been the leading Italian trumpeter playing more or less, free jazz. Here they make 10 tributes to the deceased, pianist and bandleader Cecil Taylor (1929-2018). Although this is the first time the three played together as members of this trio, they share a common bond with Taylor through many years of having followed Taylor's artistic work. I had actually started to lose some of my faith in Cyrille after his last two ECM recordings. But here he is really back in old, good shape. And Parker has never been anything to complain about, where he reigns as one of the most exciting and creative bassists in today's jazz. And with Enrico Rava in great shape in front, this is a brilliant record. And when they round off with a brilliant version of "My Funny Valentine", it's really a great session! A Powerful and very interesting album!

Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)


Viktor Bensusan, (Turkey)

PAMINA BEROFF: Sides (Jazz Eleven)

Pamina Beroff presents a fresh sound with a texture resembling Blossom Dearie and a naivité reminding Michael Franks. With a mix of original and standards, this fireside album brings forth a brand new jazz singer hailing from a jazz spot between Paris and London.

Henning Bolte, Written in Music (Netherlands)


The newest album of ubiquitous pianist Alexander Hawkins (1981) from UK has a lot to offer. Titles as “Faint Making Stones” (coming from the poem “Sound” of great poet Robert Creeley) and “Chaplin in Slow Motion” (coming from Eduardo Galeano’s book “Football in Sun and Shadow” and referring to ultimate soccer magician Manuel dos Santos aka Garrincha) appeal already strongly to the imagination. It is Hawkin’s sixth album on Intakt since 2017 and a follow-up to his duo-album Soul in Plain Sight with German saxophonista Angelika Niescier (1970). Break A Vase is a fully joyful affair brought into reality by a great line-up comprising two percussionists, Stephen Davis on drum set and Richard Olátúndé Baker on African percussion, Neil Charles on double bass and acoustic bass guitar, Otto Fischer on electric guitar and Shabaka Hutchings, reeds and flute - a sextet with a programmatic name and, next to the literary references, Bach+Braxton as a deep source of inspiration. Listeners fond of variate high dynamics with exhilarating turns as and well as listeners fond of sophisticated tricky rhythmical patterns and great flow will fully and satisfactorily be served. The music is an expedition into a wonderland of sophisticatedly layered, crossing and offset rhythms, an expedition into dragging, limping, waddling, lurching, jerking, sauntering, hovering, roaming ways of motion - a great range of gaits. Admittedly absent: the parading on the catwalk, the changing of the guards and the drunken sailors’ loops of stumbling. But, of course it is not a catalogue but a musically motivated route in ten pieces taken here by means of rich and colorful orchestrations in fully flourishing flow based on, triggered by well-structured molds and unfolding along a clearly lighted line where rhythm and melody intertwine. It shows dynamic alternation of high flying and crumbling down, moments of thrilling overturning and sudden hazing, playful combination of clocking exactness, crossfading flurrying parts and destabilizing escapes into equilibrium. It is Hawkins’ passionate game with the interlocking combinatorics of canons that generates evocative resonants beyond and above the lines played so vividly rushing by the musicians here. As an outstanding characteristic of this work counts that it is a well thought-out distillate from the experiences a vast number of different live performances during the recent over-regulated irregular period. In this many-sided process for example piece 10 “Even the Birds Stop to Listen” is based on a commission by Nadin Deventer (Jazzfest Berlin) devised as “Sunnosphere” by Hawkins and Siska, Matthew Wright and Shabaka Hutchins, and ultimately realized live by Siska, Nick Dunston and Lina Allemano in Berlin. It also turns out that Hawkins is able to skillfully apply means when those are demanded, make sense and fit in as the subliminal electronics in the striking “Stamped Down, or Shovelled”. To answer the big question if and how Bach-architecture and lush Braxtonian labyrinthine sprouting can cross-fertilize through these musicians, you should immerse into the music - on your headphones or even better, hopefully live soon at a vibrant site. 

Sebastian Scotney, LondonJazz News (UK)


This is the fourth album for ECM on which Kit Downes has played. It is his third as leader. "This record is different from what I've done before...The complex rhythmic component is still intact, but it's wrapped in a different aesthetic," sayse Downes. Manfred Eicher produced remarkable piano trio albums by the much-missed John Taylor. The unique spirit of the great Mancunian, once a mentor to Kit Downes, is somewhere in the room in this album with its many moments of intense beauty.

Patrik Sandberg, Jazz (Sweden)


Norweigan bassicon and composer Arild Andersen assembled this distinguished line-up with Alphonse Mouzon, Bill Frisell and John Taylor for a dynamic one-off concert at the 1981 Molde Jazz Festival, originally released in October 1982. This long awaited reissue adds more than 20 minutes of previously unreleased material, and the original dramaturgy of the performance has also been restored.

Cim Meyer, Jazz Special (Denmark)


Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)

SONDRE FERSTAD: Snirkelsongar (Øra fonogram)

Matthieu Jouan, (France)


Known as ENEMY trio, this London-Berlin group has a very special way of interacting, with raging tenderness and sharpened smoothness. Their second album is not a castle made of sand!

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz Thing (Germany)

DIETER ILG: Dedication (ACT)

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)


Yves Tassin, JazzMania (Belgium)

DANIEL GARCÍA: Via de la Plata (ACT)

We search, we dig & one day we find a nugget. (Pierre Dulieu)

Jos Demol, (Belgium)

ATZKO KOHASHI AND TONY OVERWATER: Crescent (Challenge Records)

So here's an album with a well-marked inspiration where Atzko Kohashi and Tony Overwater demonstrate great sensitivity and a perfect communion of spirit. A beautiful original and central piece in the album is signed by the double bass player. A perfect reflection of the general atmosphere of this very beautiful and soothing disk. (Jean-Pierre Goffin)