Europe Jazz Media Chart - January 2020

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


Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)

TOBIAS PREISIG: Diver (Quiet Love Records)

Viktor Bensusan, (Turkey)

TORI FREESTONE TRIO: El Mar de Nubes (Whirlwind Recordings)

Henning Bolte, Written in Music (Netherlands)


Violoncello, saxophone, clarinet/saxophone - that’s how ‘trio’ also can work and sound: as a consonant unity elating listeners' souls, as a consonant unity with emerging flashy color layering, with amazingly flexible roles in terms of melody, rhythm, texture, with a many-sided approach from moment to moment, phrase to phrase, thereby creating an intimate as well as orchestral impact - extraordinary, excellent, exhilarating and conquering. Melody is key here in company of its beguiling semblances and sediments, source of inspiration from turbulent bygone days was Jack London (1876-1916), put on record it was in Oakland, California, once the inspirator’s hometown and the rest is for its joyously humming listeners.

Patrik Sandberg, OrkesterJournalen (Sweden)

MAJID BEKKAS: Magic Spirit Quartet (ACT)

Magic Spirit Quartet (Majid Bekkas/Goran Kajfeš/Jesper Nordenström/Stefan Pasborg) offer a fruitful musical meeting between gnawa trance and psychedelic jazz on this inspired debut. Oudplayer and singer Majid Bekkas roots are in North African music, but he also has long experience in the jazz idiom after collaborations with Joachim Kühn and Pharoah Sanders. Everyone in the quartet goes on their own excursions on their instruments, but the strongest moments  occur when the quartet focus on a repetitive, vibrant groove". 

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)

TORE JOHANSEN: Sang (Inner Ear)

Matthieu Jouan, (France)


One of the sweetest and most lyrical saxophonists in Europe, always looking for the right note, an overhead melody, a music with precious and warm colours. A musician to follow without hesitation.

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz Thing (Germany)

SHAKE STEW: GrisGris (Traumton)

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)

SILENT FIRES: Forests (AMP Music and Records)

Madli-Liis Parts, Muusika (Estonia)

KRUGLOV-SOOÄÄR QUARTET: Tchaikovsky (ArtBeat Music 2020)

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)

WOJTEK MAZOLEWSKI QUINTET: When Angels Fall (WMQ Records/Agora)

Since Krzysztof Komeda’s untimely departure half a century ago there have been released in Poland more than 40 records with intrepretations of his music.  And just when you start to think it’s been enough, there appears yet another new album that claims to be more convincing and truer to his spirit than any of the previous ones. This is the case with Wojtek Mazolewski and his latest effort «When Angles Fall». Released on his own label WMQ Records, it features a dozen of  Komeda’s compositions, spanning almost his entire career, from «Memory of Bach» first performed at his sensational debut at the 1956 Sopot Jazz Festival to his lullaby «Sleep Safe and Warm» from Roman Polanski’s horror movie «Rosemary’s Baby» that brought him fame a year before he tragically died at age 38. The opening title piece comes from Polanski’s less known early film, but  «Crazy Girl» and «Ballad for Bernt» from «Knife in the Water» were the staples of Komeda’s repertoire. The album’s centerpiece is «Astigmatic», the title composition from his legendary album, some eight minutes long as compared to almost 23 minutes of the original recording. Then there is also music from Jerzy Skolimowski’s movies «Bariera» and «Le Dapart» Classy and stylish, faithful to melody and mood, Wojtek Mazolewski’s interpretations bring Komeda to the new generation of listeners with inventive arrangements spiced with elements of pop, bossa nova, folk, and a dash of hip-hop, drum’n’bass and electronics. The Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet are: the leader on bass, Oskar Tortok on trumpet, Marek Pospieszalski, Joanna Duda on acoustic piano and Wurlitzer, and Qba Janicki on drums. The cover art is by Rosław Szaybo, the famous graphic artist and painter who designed the cover of Komeda’s «Astigmatic». It was his last work before he died in May 2019 at age 85.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

MAKAYA MCCRAVEN: We’re New Again – A Re-imagining Of Gil Scott Heron (XL Recordings)

Anna Filipieva, (Russia)

TRESKATRESK: Man in the Sea  (Finito Bacalao Records)

As soon as Russian pianist Andrei Kondakov met Norwegian saxophonist Ola Asdahl Rokkones, they knew their cooperation can bear some interesting fruit. For centuries, the most valuable Arctic sea resource, cod - «treska» in Russian - laid the foundation of the trade that kept the two Northern peoples in contact. «We live in a time when human relations across the borders are more important than ever», stated Rokkones when he, Kondakov, drummer Jakop Janssønn and famed Russian acoustic bass virtuoso Vladimir Volkov provided music for this cooperative quartet effort and successfully toured Norway and Russia.

Jan Granlie, (Pan-Scandinavian)

MILES DAVIS: The Lost Quintet (Sleepy Night)

This was from a time when Miles Davis once again changed the nature of jazz. He looked ahead, something the fantastic record «Bitches Brew» became a very good proof of. And the music here has a lot in common with «Bitches Brew». And you can notice it especially, if you first play «In A Silent Way», which came earlier this year, and then compare it with what we hear here and «Bitches Brew». Miles was on his way to something new! And even if Davis on «Bitches Brew» involved a lot of musicians, this live recording can be considered as a kind of "Bitches Brew Lite".