Europe Jazz Media Chart - February 2024

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

Kateryna Ziabliuk, Meloport (Ukraine)

ЩУКАРИБА: Що й святоє… (SHCHUKARYBA: Shcho i Svyatoye…) (No Time for Swing)

Що й святоє… (Shcho i Svyatoye…) literally refers to something sacred, and that's how the title of ShchukaRyba's new album sounds like. The group, made up of young folk enthusiasts, is all about keeping Ukrainian folk music alive. They not only sing but also organise events to bring people together. This album is a celebration of family gatherings, the coziness of home, and the joy of sharing music with loved ones. It features folk songs that Ukrainians traditionally sing during Christmas and other winter celebrations. But this isn't just about old tunes—ShchukaRyba teamed up with the electronic music project Bunht and guitarist Yevhen Pugachov, known as one of Ukraine's promising musicians of young generation, who blends jazz with other genres to create his unique sound. The mixture of "white voice," electronics, improvisation, and modern jazz harmony in this album is something special. ShchukaRyba successfully brings traditional folk music into the modern world, showing how these old tunes can still vibe with today's sounds. Personally recommend to check out the video clip to the second song from the EP.

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)

ADAM BAŁDYCH and LESZEK MOŻDŻER: Passacaglia (Imaginary Music)

Two of the greatest musicians on the Polish jazz scene today, pianist Leszek Możdżer and violinist Adam Bałdych, united without a warning to create this gem. Passacaglia is their first joint recording effort. Leszek plays three different pianos – one tuned in 442 Hz, one in 432 Hz, adding still another color on prepared upright. Adam plays two different fiddles, enriching his arsenal with a Renaissance violin. The virtuoso duo offer in total 15 compositions, mostly penned by themselves, throwing in three pieces from distant epochs – by Eric Satie (post-romantic), Josquin des Pres (Renaissance) and Hildegard of Bingen (mediaeval). The music we hear occupies an untrodden terraine somewhere between – or beyond – jazz, classical, contemporary, folk and pop. It is hard to describe, define, or pinpoint. Sublime, hauting, mysterious, seducing, irreristible, charming, at times calm, at times fiery. Passacaglia is the first album from Imaginary Music, Adam Bałdych’s new label, released in partnership with ACT Music.

Krzysztof Komorek, Donos kulturalny (Poland)

FOLLOW DICES: Czułość (Selfpublished)

It took five years with for listeners to wait for the Follow Dices’ second album. The break was rewarded with extremely interesting and varied music. “Tenderness” is listened to with great pleasure.  The group interestingly exposes the individual skills of the artists.  But the album also provides satisfaction in the visual layer. t is worth mentioning the well-thought-out editorial side of the release, which perfectly corresponds with the musical content.

Jan Granlie, (Norway)

ATLE NYMO: Circle Steps (ARC Recordings)

Circle Steps tells a story about seeing something from several sides, movement - up and down, moving but staying in the same place. The material most often revolves around simple melodic motifs that give room for development through joint music making. The band has its origins in saxophonist and clarinetist Atle Nymo's desire to play in a melodic, open context in the trio format, and after listening through the release a few times, I think he and his fellow musicians have succeeded well in the attempt. It is meditative, beautiful and brilliant musicianship from three musicians who fully understand each other. It has become a lovely and thoughtful record from two veterans, the saxophonist and clarinetist Atle Nymo and the bassist Mats Eilertsen, and a younger musician from the almost frightening diversity of Norwegian jazz, the drummer Michaela Antalová. An excellent band for a dark autumn evening when the rain is lashing outside and the best thing to do is to sit back calmly with a good glass of wine.

Dick Hovenga, Written in Music (Norway)

BRAM DE LOOZE: Spotting Gateways (Dox Records)

The Flemish jazz scene remains a super inspiring one. Headstrong top talent has been bouncing off the rooftops there for years. Over the years, pianist Bram de Looze has developed from that scene as one of the leading European keyboardists with original and adventurous playing. His new album Spotting Gateways is a fascinating development in that. Nothing more than a grand piano is all de Looze needs to completely enchant with powerful playing and peerlessly strong and beautiful compositions. Departing from classical structures, de Looze dives with virtuoso playing into full jazz adventure through his sharply toned compositions. At times beautifully melodic then again transverse and challenging, always intriguing. 

Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)

CHRISTOPH TITZ: Walking the Corner Vol. 1 and 2 (MarotyMusic / Distrokid)

Nuno Catarino, (Portugal)

FRITZ HAUSER and PEDRO CARNEIRO: Pas de Deux (Clean Feed)

One of Clean Feed's most surprising proposals is the meeting between Fritz Hauser (percussion) and Pedro Carneiro (marimba). "Pas de Deux" is a challenging album, with the Hauser/Carneiro duo developing a meticulous percussive clockwork of detail. In the austerity of its limited instrumental spectrum, we have here an atypical sound object that requires investment and concentration on the part of the listener, but which will be duly rewarding.

Henning Bolte, freelance (Netherlands)

CARLOS BICA: Playing with Beethoven (Clean Feed)

Auch das noch, now van Beethoven (the guy who finished his ninth symphony exactly 200 years ago)! I had to overcome a hurdle first. And then as I listened, surprising things tumbled in and out in a wonderful way. First of all, the brilliant move of NOT using a piano, but a special kind of deeply breathing, layered accordion from the first note swathing the confluent flavours of the arco bass, the tenor saxophone and those distant miraculously rippling turn-table maneuvers, frolicking in the playground. It IS … just simply top-class musical fun. The way Bica and his colleagues play around (with) fragments of Ludwig's work unfolding it in a very close to Ludwig’s approach with the use of today's means, keeps listeners under the joyous spell. Sometimes you may be reminded of Morricone and quickly realize that Ludwig's music has found its way - often quite directly - into, through and out of m a n y well-known works, not least of which is the famous piece by Chuck Berry who fully used the potential of Ludwig’s thunders. This album is a truly thunderous, soulful present too, offered by Bica together with his fellow aces, João Barradas, Daniel Erdmann and DJ Illvibe.

Sebastian Scotney, LondonJazz News (UK)

JOHN ETHERIDGE: Blue Spirits Live (Dyad)

“One of the best guitarists in the world” (Pat Metheny). "I never wanted to be a star, just a highly respected musician like John Etheridge." (Sting). John Etheridge is an iconic figure in British jazz. He has led an organ trio with stable personnel (Pete Whittaker on organ and George Double on drums) for twenty years. It is a context where the guitarist leads, plays solistically, rocks out, but this world-class band has never made an album until this recording of a live date in Nottingham. Glorious.

Patrik Sandberg, Jazz (Sweden)

FIRE!: Testament (Rune Grammofon)

Musically, Testament can be seen as an extension of the album Defeat. For the first time on record - stripped down to the bare-bones essentials; with no flutes, no electronics, no guests and no extras - only including the coremembers of Fire! (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin). An album that are shifting between expressive heavy energy and lyrical beauty and intimacy.

Cim Meyer, All That… (Denmark)

ARGÜELLES/LAGINHA/NORBAKKEN: Atlântico (Edition Records)

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)

LIV ANDREA HAUGE TRIO: Ville Blomster (Hubro)

Matthieu Jouan, (France)

TREEN: Baob (Self Released)

This project represents a beautiful fusion of the tropisms of the Copenhagen, Oslo and Cologne jazz scenes. The ethereal trio (a brand new one) is made up of the fiery, busy, Oslo-based Danish saxophonist Amalie Dahl, Lithuanian pianist Gintė Preisaitė, whose improvisations pepper the Copenhagen scene, and Cologne-based German drummer Jan Philipp, who was also at the mixing console for the recording. The music is that of a confluence of additional currents, forming an impetuous continuous flow that takes you far away.

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz thing (Germany)


Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)

AMIRTHA KIDAMBI ELDER ONES: New Monuments (WeJazz Records)

Yves Tassin, JazzMania (Belgium)

WAJDI RIAHI TRIO: Essia (Fresh Sound Records)

"Sincerity" or "purity" are the words that best describe this music. "Privilege" too... Belle journée !

Jos Demol, (Belgium)

RENAUD GARCIA-FONS: Cinematic Double Bass (Cézame)

Thanks to his instrument, Renaud Garcia-Fons is both a magician and an explorer. The sounds he develops are inspired by landscapes, journeys and multiple mirages. Listen ad libitum. (Jean-Pierre Goffin)

Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More (Switzerland)


Kaspars Zavileiskis, (Latvia)

SANTA ŠILLERE: Other Ways (self-released)

Latvian singer Santa Šillere has released her debut album but has been an active musician on the Latvian jazz scene for several years. Other Ways feature almost exclusively Santa’s original music. The recording was made together with music academy mates from Katowice – flexible musicians who catch the nuances of the singer’s intended sound. The album is full-blooded already in the opening section, when Santa is singing one of the two songs included in the disc in her native language – Rotājas debesis (The Sky Decorates), in which, in addition to Polish guitarist Jakub Mizeracki, pianist Franciszek Raczkowski, double bassist Pawel Zwierzyński-Pióro and drummer Stefan Raczkowski, Toms Rudzinskis, one of the brightest Latvian saxophonists, also participates. The album preserves an airy jazz feeling with a physically felt presence of freshness, sticking to the old tradition with one hand, as in the strongly swinging song Two Smiles, and groping for new forms of expression with the other. The surprise is the arrangement of Bach’s music combined with the lyrics by the legendary Latvian poetess Aspazija in the song Ziedonī (In Bloom).

Jacek Brun, (Germany)

ELLAS KAPELL: For All We Know (Prophone Records)

Bega Villalobos, In&OutJazz (Spain)

NATANIEL EDELMAN TRIO: Un Ruido de Agua (Clean Feed Records)

Un Ruido de Agua is the new work by Buenos Aires pianist Nataniel Edelman, accompanied by Michael Formanek on double bass and Michael Attias on sax, with several free collective improvisations in which Edelman and Attias freely develop all kinds of tensions between piano and sax focused on abstraction and play with a minimalist sense of composition and sound.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

EMPIRICAL: Wonder Is The Beginning (Whirlwind Recordings)