Europe Jazz Media Chart - February 2023

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

Henning Bolte, Written in Music (Netherlands)

GEORGE DUMITRIU: Monk on Viola (Evil Rabbit Records)

When thinking of Viola or Bratsch, composers as Morton Feldman or György Ligeti come to mind. Thelonius Monk is not the most obvious match. Dumitriu has changed it in fascinating ways and sheds a light on Monk’s depth of form and sense for essential detail to make music enthralling and living on. This album is about how the Monk substance emerge from the rich sonorities of the viola. Dumitriu achieve and illuminates it by playing with process and result in a dialectical way. Monk is maybe the most played jazz composer every night on this planet. Dumitriu contributes and gives us a recording that can repeatedly listened to with pleasureful astonishment night by night for a while. 

Sebastian Scotney, LondonJazz News (UK)


This is an album of and about grieving. And how a musician finds solace through music. It has real class and is going to be one of my albums of the year. On a personal note, and since I share the same christian name as the composer... I noticed that ECM released it - I believe completely by accident! - on St. Sebastian's Day 20 January.

Patrik Sandberg, Jazz (Sweden)

LAKECIA BENJAMIN: Phoenix (Whirlwind Recordings)

Phoenix is alto saxophonist and composer Lakecia Benjamin fourth studio album as a bandleader. Terri Lyne Carrington is behind the production and a iconic list of special guests that she respects and has been mentored by as Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Patrice Rushen and Angela Davis appears on the album.The album is a deeply personal outing for Lakecia and presents mostly all original compositions and arrangements.

Cim Meyer, Jazz Special (Denmark)

FREDRIK LUNDIN AND ODENSE JAZZ ORCHESTRA: It Takes All Kinds To Make A World (April Records)

A large untraditional orchestra with excellent musicians, fabulous compositions and the biggest agendas imaginable. Excerpt from the liner notes: “The music on this album celebrates all that, which is different, peculiar, special, exclusive, incompatible, singular, deviant, strange distinct, extraordinary, unfamiliar, elusive, odd, and incongruous.” “Diversity is a prerequisite for sustainable life on this our beautiful but suffering blue green globe.” Fredrik Lundin and cohorts make a strong and sobering case!

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)

EYOLF DALE TRIO: The Wayfarers (Edition Records)

Matthieu Jouan, (France)

ANJA LAUVDAL: From a Story Now Lost (Smalltown Supersound)

By taking her inspiration from the 19th century Norwegian pianist Agathe Backer Grøndahl (a female musician who, because she was a woman, did not become a household name), Anja Lauvdal is also doing something political. There is a halo of sound texture that surrounds each piece, a backdrop on which the composer projects the film of her music. Sometimes a few muffled beats come to punctuate by spurts the sound layers. Airy and evanescent, this record is a magnificent success.

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz Thing (Germany)

KENNY BARRON: The Source (Artwork Records)

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)

HOLSEN and CASSIERS Walking in circles (Stroom Records)

Yves Tassin, JazzMania (Belgium)


A jewel, a treasure for fans of the pianist! (Jean-Pierre Goffin)

Jos Demol, (Belgium)

LILLY JOEL: Plays The Organ – Sibyl Of The Rhine (Sub Rosa Records)

The link between Hildegard von Bingen, Robert Schumann and Tom Jobim? The duo Lilly Joel aka Lynn Cassiers and Jozef Dumoulin who effortlessly bridge cultures and centuries with vocals, electronics and church organ. (Georges Tonla Briquet)

Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More (Switzerland)

LONDON BREW: London Brew (None)

Kaspars Zavileiskis, (Latvia)


Auziņš - Čudars - Arutyunyan is a Latvian contemporary jazz trio at the peak of its strength. At the beginning of this year, the third album Tutti Off Duty was launched, the name of which is a reference to the time of the pandemic, when all the duties of musicians were indeed postponed, but there was no desire to turn off the creation of new music. This is also not possible for saxophone and bass clarinet player Kārlis Auziņš, guitarist Matīss Čudars and drummer Ivars Arutyunyan, because all three have studied at jazz schools in different countries and are musicians full of creativity, who like to connect on the same wave from time to time to improvise together and watch what will happen. As a result, a new album has happened, which reflects both rural and urban landscapes in a Northern European flowing manner, using extended techniques and electronic effects in the creation of the sound, but also maintaining the melodiousness. This is the first jazz album released by the Latvian National classical and choral music label SKANi, and probably not the last. Tutti Off Duty is also released on CD.

Jacek Brun, (Germany)

TONY LAKATOS: Blue Chili (Skip Records)

Despite all the diversity of inspirations, Tony Lakatos and his fellow musicians always remain themselves, leading a narrative rich in surprising solutions, but at the same time communicative and full of authentic emotions. An inspiring, uncompromising album that will appeal to both avant-garde and traditional jazz fans.

Madli-Liis Parts, Muusika (Estonia)

EYOLF DALE TRIO: The Wayfarers (Edition Records)

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)

MAREK POSPIESZALSKI: Polish Composers of the 20th Century (Clean Feed)

This demanding and daring album is a surprise winner of “Jazz Forum” magazine’s annual Crictics’ Poll 2022 as the Album of the Year. Saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski was voted Musician of the Year. His repuatation had spread abroad as he was chosen as one of the 25 most promising musicians in Europe by the German magazine “JazzThing”. Released by the Portuguese avant label Clean Feed, Polish Composers of the 20th Century is his first effort as a leader. This double album features variations on themes by 12 Polish classical composers, each piece bearing the name of a particular composer: Krauze, Kotoński, Baird, Rudziński, Stachowski, Krenz, Serocki, Palester, Szalonek, Panufnik, Sikorski, Schaeffer. The pieces, arranged by Pospieszalski, are in fact not so much variations but rather new works loosely connected with the original scores. The performing ensemble is an octet including some of the finest musicians of the new jazz scene in Poland deserving wider attention: the leader on saxophones, clarinets, flute and tape, Piotr Chęcki on tenor sax, Tomasz Dąbrowski on trumpet, Tomasz Sroczyński on viola, Szymon Mika on acoustic and electric guitar, Grzegorz Tarwid on piano, Max Mucha on bass, Qba Janicki on drums and soundboard. Almost two hours of compelling music worth a listen.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

CONIC ROSE Heller Tag (Self released)

Jan Granlie, (Pan-Scandinavian)


The Danish trio with drummer Peter Bruun, piano player Søren Kjærgaard and bassist Jonas Westergaard have collaborated occasionally since they left the Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen a lot of years ago. But since they do not live in the same city, or country, and all three are very busy with other musical projects, the trio has not been given the highest priority. Thēsaurōs has become one of the finest records I can remember hearing from a piano trio since the records with the Bill Evans Trio from the early 60s. Here we get music that speaks to the inner self, performed by three musicians who know each other very well, who have the same ideas about music, and can manage Peter Bruun's compositions in the very best way. A true treasure trove of a trio recording. And one of the many reasons why we are spending so much time listening and writing about jazz and other strong music for free. Has this year's best record already arrived?

Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)

SUNNA GUNNLAUGS: Becoming (Sunny Records)

Viktor Bensusan, (Turkey)


And we thought that we heard everything from him, yet the late Esbjörn had more to teach us. Let's start with the Alpha, Beta, Gamma of it until we roll right down to the Eta, Theta, Iota of it...

Nuno Catarino, (Portugal)


Three magnificent musicians and sound explorers from Portugal, came together to create an unclassifiable piece of music. Rita Maria (voice), João Mortágua (saxophones) and Mané Fernandes (electric guitar) shine on this edition of the label Roda Music.