Europe Jazz Media Chart - September 2020

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


Anne Yven, (France)

GARD NILSSEN SUPERSONIC ORCHESTRA: If You Listen Carefully The Music is Yours (Odin)

This choice because this is an extremely rich, colourful and powerful album. Uniting and displaying the contemporary Norwegian scene at ist best, this super orchestra (being conducted by an extremely productive drummer, having 3 drummers and 3 bass players!) could have been too boisterous and full of testosterones but, on the contrary, it is a display of balance, musicianship and fun.

Axel Stinshoff, Jazz Thing (Germany)


Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)


Madli-Liis Parts, Muusika (Estonia)


Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)

DOMINIK WANIA: Lonely Shadows (ECM)

Classically trained piano virtuoso Dominik Wania, 38, is one of Poland’s most revered artists on today’s Polish jazz scene. As a member of the Maciej Obara Quartet, he was featured on two highly acclaimed ECM albums: “Unloved” and “Three Crowns”.  And now comes his first effort recorded under his own name, joining the list of great piano solo albums in Manfred Eicher’s illustrious catalogue. “Lonely Shadows” presents 11 original pieces that were apparently created by Wania in the studio spontaneously, in the process of pure improvisation, in the moment, just following his intuition, inner thoughts and feelings. A creative flow that takes the music in and out – and beyond – the realm of jazz. Sensitive, fresh, inspired.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise (UK)

ORLANDO LE FLEMING: Romantic Funk: The Unfamiliar (Whirlwind Recordings) 

Anna Filipieva, (Russia)


Jan Granlie, (Pan-Scandinavian)

ALBERT AYLER TRIO: 1964 Prophecy Revisited (Ezz-Thetics)

During his relatively short life, Albert Ayler performed a number of concerts that were recorded. But not all were released while he was alive. But since he left this world in November 1970, many recordings have found their way to CDs and LPs. Not all with equally good sound quality, but much of it maintains truly approved quality. Now the record company Ezz-thetic, which is part of Hat Hut Records, has released a concert recording from Cellar Café in New York from June 14, 1964, where we meet Ayler on tenor saxophone, Gary Peacock on bass and Sunny Murray on drums. This was one of the most creative periods in Ayler's musical career. He was early to experiment with the new jazz, and together with his almost gospel-like playing style combined with the totally free impact, he created in many ways his own school, about at the same time as John Coltrane researched in the more religious way. Many says that this is the first time this music is out on record, but I do not think that is entirely true, because several of this music can also be found on his brilliant collection box "Holy Ghost: Rare & Unissued Recordings (1962-70)" at Revenant, a box that should be found in every self-respecting home. We meet an extremely creative Ayler, who during these just over 76 minutes shows the world what he could do with a tenor saxophone. And it is exciting to hear him in such a good shape, and think of all those who today are doing much of the same music, and think it is something new. And the context of this trio is brilliant. Although the sound on Peacock and Murray is not that good, we hear that what they perform is very close to what Ayler does, and that they are following Ayler all the way through the demanding improvisations. This has become an outstanding record that, even if you have the "Holy Ghost" box, should find its way into your collection, and be played on volume 11, to the delight of some neighbours, and to the great annoyance of the rest. For this is creative music that must have created a furore when it was performed at Cellar Café in 1964.

Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)

TIGRAN HAMASYAN: The Call Within (Warner)

Viktor Bensusan, (Turkey)


Much adored by the public as well as Parker himself and abhorred by some fans along with occasional jazz critics, this album shows that it is impossible to make everyone happy yet the Bird lives and is still very much alive even in the age of Covid-19 ...

Henning Bolte, Written in Music (Netherlands)

LYNN CASSIERS: Yun (Clean Feed)

Lynn Cassiers is an accomplished Belgian electronic musician and vocalist as well as sophisticated arranger. Her new album is as a movie over a sunken past emerging out of misty clouds, a movie where particles of nostalgia wander around finding their strawberry fields’ places to unfold substance in purity and cosmic dust. Cassiers is leading an ensemble of six experienced musicians, amongst others well-known keyboardist Jozef Dumoulin on fender rhodes, secret ace Erik Vermeulen on piano and Bo van der Werff on baritone saxophone, who shape her fascination of songs from the US american tradition of sentimental urban folk pieces of the likes as Cole Porter, George Gerswhin etc. stemming from an era that popular music and jazz were still closely connected. Cassiers does not elaborate as usual on ‘standards’. She creates a remarkable contemporary sonic context instead with a special dramaturgy and musical arrangement for the captivating emergence of intimate islands of dreamy ‘old’ melodies, which are often brought as in the old days with baritone saxophone as awakener and coloring bearer. Watching and listening (to) this game in live performances of the ensemble is even more intense and captivating. 

Patrik Sandberg, JAZZ (Sweden)

ANDERS BERGCRANTZ: Elevate (Vanguard Music Boulevard)

Swedish trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz is a respected nationally and internationally trumpet player and composer with several long-standing collaborations with names like Dave Liebman, Billy Harper, Richie Beirach, Victor Lewis and Rick Margitza. Accuracy, care and a strong artistic integrity have characterised his previous recordings. This also applies to the latest album Elevate, which exposes several sides of Bergcrantz's versatile know-how from high-octane fusion, classical, folk and post-bop with a generous and inviting openness to the complex and demanding.

Cim Meyer, Jazz Special (Denmark)

ROB LUFT: Riser (Edition Records)

I too was overwhelmed by Riser’s debut when I first heard it some time ago. Not only is he a formidable improviser but also a adept composer taking in a wide assortment of impulses. And the quintet – Rob Luft (g), Joe Wright (ts), Joe Webb (keys), Tom McRedie (b) and Corrie Dick (d) – works like a dream.

Lars Mossefinn, Dag og tid (Norway)


Peter Slavid, LondonJazz News (UK)

ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE JAZZ: Dancing In Your Head(s) (ONJ Records)

Live recording from Festival Jazzdor Strasbourg-Berlin, June 2019.  This is as good a big band album as you are likely to hear this year.