Albrecht Maurer | Lucian Ban | Mat Maneri | Fantasm | Nemu Records

Fantasm, the title-piece has been created by an amazing deep listener, eminent New York musician, drummer Paul Motian (1931-2011). He was a master of encrypting his deep listening dynamically into imperishable gestalt. Fantasm, a paradigmatic piece here, is fed by heterogeneous sources but unified by composer and composition carrying and keeping its secrets. Mat Maneri used to play in Motian’s bands a lot, nourished and nourishing. On this album nothing sounds like ordinary strings. It has dark moods not fading into ordinary melancholia, contains limping dances into lightness, wondrous fusing dissolving in finale of quiet grandeur, uncatchable creep up shadows, splintering bop and bright solitariness per exemplum. Concentrated. Enjoyably disturbing. — Henning Bolte, Amsterdam, October 2014 Continue reading

Misha Mengelberg | Dirk Bell | Ryan Carniaux | Gerd Dudek | Joscha Oetz | Nils Tegen | Nunc! | Nemu Records

I once asked Misha how many steps to his front door and he said: “eleven” —sheer fantasy. I’m here to pick him up for a concert at the Loft in Cologne. We have a cup of coffee toebroek: a personal ritual of his that he performs for his visitors. And off we go to Cologne, to meet the rest of the band at my place — dinnertime. Ryan Carniaux, from New York, professor for jazz trumpet in Essen. We’re both members of gRoBA, an orches-tra in Cologne. Gerd Dudek, a German jazz-legend, knows Misha for decades. Nils Tegen, a composer and piano player in his other life. Joscha Oetz, back from Lima — when he’s playing the bass, you feel at home. These musicians have been working together for years in numerous combinations all over the world. And we’re all fans of Misha Mengelberg.– Dirk Bell Continue reading

Nemu Records

A European label like Nemu has the flexibility to present performers based both close by and across the pond. The only requirement, crucial for a new label, is a shared aesthetic. Not music that all sounds the same, but accomplishes similar things. Carnival Skin is a quintet of Americans except for German drummer Klaus Kugel, who is one of four Europeans in the Syntopia Quartet. Both albums are compelling, feature unusual front lines and highlight the often drastic differences between American and European jazz that no one usually wants to admit. Continue reading

Albrecht Maurer | Norbert Rodenkirchen | Loplop’s Call | Nemu Records

Their new project Loplop’s Call is about the surrealistic painter and poet Max Ernst who was born in the Rhineland, went to Paris and later to the USA to become one of the most influential artists of the early 20th century. His artworks and poetry as well as his fascinating biography inspired the two Cologne based musicians to create a tableau of own compositions and improvisations for viola & alto flute and for fiddle & transverse flute. In these works they orient themselves towards the sound of the early 20th century. At the same time they create a contemporary modern form of surrealistic music, influenced by the magic power of the subconscious. The central theme of the album is the fantasy figure Laptop, the superior of the birds, who was one of Max Ernst’s most important artistic obsessions and his alter ego. Loplop is always connected with Nachtigall (the nightingale] – also called Windsbraut [the wind’s bride]. Continue reading

Roby Glod | Roberta Piket | Mark Tokar | Klaus Kugel | Op der Schmelz – Live | Nemu Records

This album is a winner from the git-go. Brooklyn-based pianist Roberta Piket summons the spirits with a gentle, but emotionally direct solo piano rumination. Harmonically rich, with a probing depth that brings Paul Bley and Steve Kuhn to mind, Piket’s invocation is just the first in series of golden moments on Op der Schmelz Live. A co-operative quartet comprised of Piket, veteran German drummer Klaus Kugel, the energetic Ukranian bassist Mark Tokar, and the Luxembourg-based French saxophonist Roby Glod, their first album as a unit is actually named for the venue in which it was recorded. Op der Schmelz, in Dudelange, is an historic foundry and ore smelting facility that has been transformed into Luxembourg’s premier performance space. One thing that’s immediately apparent: it’s a fine choice for a live music performance. The crystalline recording has incredible depth and detail, and should please audiophiles looking for a peak jazz experience. You may not even realize that this was a live recording until you hear the smattering of applause at the end of the first track. — Dave Wayne Continue reading

Theo Jörgensmann | Albrecht Maurer | Melencolia | Nemu Records

This is one for listeners who have “Open Ears”! It is challenging, different and presented by soloist who have complete control of their instruments and know exactly where they want to go! It needed several hearings to appreciate it, but it is well worth it! Will use the music sparingly in the months to come. Thank you for sending this cd to me. Best Wishes for 2012. Regards. — Peter Kuller – Jazz Presenter Radio Adelaide on Digital Radio, on Line and 101.5fm, Australia Continue reading

André Pabarciuté | Mark Tokar | Klaus Kugel | Varpai | Nemu Records

This unique trio utilizes extended vocal and instrumental technique, archaic sound objects, and ritual percussion within free metric structure. The resultant soundscapes are otherworldly and rich with a sense of timelessness. Their music is best experienced in performance spaces such as churches or concert halls where the sound stage lends itself to an atmosphere conducive to silence and resonance. Each concert is a singular event exclusively comprised of self composed pieces.– from the liner notes Continue reading