Europe Jazz Media Chart - May 2023

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)

BRAD MEHLDAU: Your Mother Should Know - Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles (Nonesuch / Warner)

Viktor Bensusan, (Turkey)

FRANCESCO BEARZATTI: Post Atomic Zep (doKumenta Music)

Another Rock'n Sax gem by maestro Francesco Bearzatti...

Nuno Catarino, (Portugal)

MOVE: The City (Clean Feed)

Two thirds of this trio comes from Brazil: saxophonist Yedo Gibson and bassist Felipe Zenicola; they are joined by Portuguese drummer João Valinho, forming a supersonic trio. The record kicks off with the sax and bass out of control. When the drums come in, chaos sets in. The record, recorded live last year, captures the energy of a live concert with an impeccable recording.

Sebastian Scotney, LondonJazz News (UK)


This album is not out until 9 June but an advance copy has been on my player on repeat for a couple of weeks now. Top-flight US bassist Archer has waited until his late forties to record an album as leader. He started off as a guitarist and has a fabulous sense of melodic line. Gerald Clayton can, or rather will, transport you somewhere magically different with every phrase he plays. Bill Stewart’s listening, empathy and sense of touch on the drums are second to none. This unshowy, intimate album which breathes so easily, which exudes a sense of friendship and mutual respect is a gem and I love it. Superbly natural recording too. 

Patrik Sandberg, Jazz (Sweden)

JOHAN LINDSTRÖM AND NORRBOTTEN BIG BAND: Johan Lindström and Norrbotten Big Band (Moserobie)

In 2020, the musical wizard Johan Lindström was appointed "composer in residence" for Norrbotten Big Band. The assignment meant that he regularly met the musicians in Norrbotten Big Band to tailor compositions completely unique for this collaboration. As expected, it went out as an fruitful collaboration whis is documented on this record.

Cim Meyer, Jazz Special (Denmark)


Karmen Rõivassepp is a vocalist, but that is not her main force. She has taken the audacious step to do all the necessary work to expand her ideas with a full-scale Aarhus Jazz Orchestra. And it is her skills as composer and arranger that captivates me. The Estonian musician has been based in Aarhus for some years, and she has been known to work with several well-esteemed but smaller ensembles. As a contemporary outfit Aarhus Jazz Orchestra sounds more beautiful than ever. Sometimes restrained and at other times explosive. Rõivassepp’s art is one-of-a-kind. You can feel her personal background based in Estonian tradition and all the inputs she has digested from the thriving Danish jazz scene.

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)

JØRN ØIEN: Cosmopolitan (Curling Legs)

Matthieu Jouan, (France)

FIRE! ORCHESTRA: Echoes (Rune Grammofon)

The Fire! Orchestra is a fantastic musical machine that never stops unleashing the most beautiful, bubbling and collective ideas. We left them with Arrival, an album hailed by all the European music critics, a miracle. They are back with Echoes, a Homeric fresco that crosses time, continents and eras. Echoes is a world album, a living musical syncretism in the making. It is music that gives meaning to life. A living and immortal music.

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz Thing (Germany)

OMER KLEIN TRIO: Life and Fire (Warner)

Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)

PAOLO ANGELI: NÍJAR - An Imaginary Soundtrack for Bodas de Sangre by Federico Garcia Lorca (AnMa Productions and ReR Megacorp)

Yves Tassin, JazzMania (Belgium)

EDGES: The End of the F***ing World (Igloo Records)

A form of angst oozes from the music of Edges which in various ways reflects the grim climate and existential confusion of the time. (Pierre Dulieu)

Jos Demol, (Belgium)

EDGES: The End Of The F***ing World (Igloo Records)

An album with which Guillaume Vierset proves that he is still constantly evolving as a guitarist but also as a composer and does not shy away from taking risks. (Georges Tonla Briquet)

Christof Thurnherr, Jazz’n’More (Switzerland)

WADADA LEO SMITH AND ORANGE WAVE ELECTRIC: Fire Illuminations (Kabell Records)

Kaspars Zavileiskis, (Latvia)

ALFA MIST: Variables (ANTI-Records)

Flowing and stylistically diverse new record by London artist Alfa Mist, in which swing, fusion, R'n'B and hip-hop intonations organically intertwine. This sounds like absolutely modern jazz, not only in the UK, but also elsewhere. It’s like a study of what today's jazz really consists of – a fine dissection, without forgetting any ingredient of the recipe. This could hardly be a self-discovery debut. In his fifth album, Alfa Mist is very well aware of where he has already been and rather takes a closer look at the structure of his own stylistic mechanism. Together, the various stylistics are held together by free improvisation, which creates the impression of a unified work.

Jacek Brun, (Germany)

YUMI ITO: Ysla (Enja)

This album is like opening new doors, far from rules, schemes and routine, permeated by the freshness, enthusiasm and extraordinary vocal technique of the artist. Yumi Ito is not only an excellent singer, but also an interesting composer who knows how to handle the musical material sparingly and with refinement. An excellent album, we are thrilled!

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

DONNY MCCASLIN: I Want More (Edition Records)

Krzysztof Komorek, Donos kulturalny (Poland)


Jan Granlie, (Norway)

DANIEL BINGERT: Ariba (Moserobie)

The second record with this Swedish star team with Per "Texas" Johansson (ts, bcl), Karl Olandersson (tp), Jonas Kullhammar (as), Charlie Malmberg (p, bs), Moussa Fadera (dr), Torbjörn Zetterberg (b), Daniel Bingert (moog) is a fantastic, creative and funny record. All the musicians deliver from the top shelf, the compositions are wonderful, and the cover lyrics are some of the best and funniest I have seen. And the cover, like a worn, old LP, is perfect for exactly this music. This is a perfect record for all real music lovers!

Dick Hovenga, Written in Music (Netherlands)

ALEX KOO: Etudes for Piano (W.E.R.F. Records)

That Flanders produces bizarrely good musicians may have been obvious for decades, and certainly in jazz. There are too many notable keyboardists to mention but Bram De Looze and Alex Koo belong to a guild of young musicians of the outer category. It centainly has to do with musical conception that makes both De Looze and Koo so special. Always opting for adventure and challenge, both for themselves and their audiences, they rise further and further and harder. Nor does this involve looking at whether it leans toward classical or jazz or what anyone says about it. The training is classical, jazz the great love and freedom of jazz to blend with the richness in melody and technique of classical. On Etudes for Piano, we find Koo solo behind the grand piano and his compositions are not only daring, exciting and adventurous, his playing is absolute world class too. Etudes for Piano is an album that should not go unheard by anyone who calls himself a fan of jazz. What a masterclass album. What unparalleled class.