Europe Jazz Media Chart - May 2020

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)

O.N.E. QUINTET: One (Audio Cave)

This is a debut album by an all-female group of young up-and-coming Polish musicians, a leaderless collective O.N.E. Quintet featuring: Monika Muc - as, Paulina Atmańska - p, Dominika Rusinowska - viol, Kamila Drabek - b, and Patrycja Wybrańczyk - dr. The name of the band has a graceful twist – it implies they are a tight-knit unit playing as one, but pronounced in Polish, it means „they” (in feminine gender). The track list includes five originals written by the members of the group, a traditional folk tune and a haunting Komeda ballad „Niekochana”, which was unearthed by saxophonist Maciej Obara as the title tune on his recent ECM album „Unloved”. „One” is an exceptional debut, full of graceful melodies, changing moods and textures, inspired interplay, delicacy and fire.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

IAN SHAW, IAIN BALLAMY, JAMIE SAFIR: What s New (Silent Wish Records)

Anna Filipieva, (Russia)

DIANA POLENOVA AND JAM JUNIORS: Children In The Time Machine (Diana

Produced by singer Diana Polenova, this album features 18 yound singers, aged 7 to 20. What they sing are songs known to millions of Russian speakers, as the album is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of popular Russian rock band Mashina Vremeni (The Time Machine.) Pianist Evgeny Borets arranged 12 Time Machine songs and masterfully backed the young singers with his jazz trio (bassists Sergey Vassiliev and Sergey Khutas, drummer David Tkebuchava).

Jan Granlie, (Pan-Scandinavian)


Calling a record with a quartet of musicians from Canada, Sweden and Norway, for "Inland Empire", must be a suggestion from drummer Øyvind Skarbø (from Stranda in Norway). It's typically his sense of humor, and in this case I think it works very well. It could also have come from bassist Ole Morten Vågan (from Brønnøysund, further north in Norway, where the dialect is such that one almost sings instead of speaking). It definitely does not come from saxophonist and clarinetist Fredrik Ljungkvist (from Kristinehamn in Sweden). He's too serious to come up with such a thing. It would surprise me greatly if the proposal came from pianist Kris Davis (from the old Olympic city of Calgary, Canada, but who lives in Brooklyn, New York). But it could have come from record company director Pedro Costa (living in Lisbon, but married to a Norwegian woman, who may have added some Norwegian humor into his world). In any case, it is a brilliant name for a project of musicians that is the result of good and creative thinking and a concert at the Haugesund Picture Gallery in Haugesund, on the south-west part of Norway. We were more than happy to hear these four musicians for more than 42 minutes and 28 seconds. We could hear them for hours! For this is an absolutely wonderful record, where four talented musicians are "put together" in a way that is almost unparalleled in today's jazz music. There is not one booring moment, and all the way we meet four musicians who create and perform music that bursts of energy and joy of playing. One of the best jazz records so far this year!

Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)


Viktor Bensusan, (Turkey)

TUBA SKINNY QUARANTINE ALBUM: Unreleased B-Sides (Bandcamp)

Henning Bolte, Written in Music (Netherlands)

ŁUKASZ OJDANA: Kurpian Songs and Meditations (Audio Cave)

Lukasz Ojdana has an exceptional sense for capturing mood, atmosphere, temper and world feel musically in a few economical strokes of inconspicuous clarity, great lightness and pure, trustful beauty as well as self-evident depth. His way of adapting folk melodies and re-contextualize those, of balancing the personal and the inherited is of unparalleled consistency, atmospheric weight and subliminal attraction. Reason enough to nominate his album this month for the charts again.

Magnus Nygren, Orkester Journalen (Sweden)

ISABELL GUSTAFSSON-NY: Rotsystem (Pacaya Records)

Cim Meyer, Jazz Special (Denmark)

ANNIE CHEN OCTET: Secret Treetop (

This release has been in the pile for a while before it finally surfaced. Jazz and “Oriental music” may seem incompatible entities, but in this case New York based Anni Chen manages to spice up a seemingly jazzy outfit, in terms of instruments and approach, with traditional Chinese compositional devises and songs from Taiwan or Mongolia. The result is appealing and interesting without being weird. Chen is born in Beijing and has been into funk and soul besides straight-ahead and free jazz. Her octet consists of musicians of different nationalities, who are deeply into her music and convey her ideas impeccably. This is global world music if anything. Some listeners (who have English as their first language) may be turned off by Chen’s pronounced Chinese accent, which makes her English pronunciation slightly unclear; but the lyrics are printed in the booklet – those sung in Chinese are printed in Chinese (probably a clever market strategy). The improvisations are not based on the traditional jazz-cadenzas because Chen’s compositions and arrangements are different. That is the challenge and the attraction for the listener.

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)


Matthieu Jouan, (France)

IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS: Who Sent You? (International Anthem)

Time to wake up ! Black Music Matters and Irreversible Entanglements is here to say it loud and proud. And "The Code Noir", the opening piece, has the bitter taste of an unbearable past... 

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz Thing (Germany)

LAKECIA BENJAMIN: Pursuance: The Coltranes (Ropeadope)

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)

DANILO GALLO DARK DRY TEARS: Hide, Show Yourself! (Parco della Musica)

Madli-Liis Parts, Muusika (Estonia)

RAIMOND AND THE 3 MAGI: Red Eyes (Raimond Mägi)