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

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

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

Bruce Eisenbeil | Klaus Kugel | Perry Robinson | Peter Evans | Hilliard Greene | Carnival Skin | Nemu Records

Passionately concocted free jazz played with a strong, but never stolid, consensus of purpose. / This is definitely a group were variance of experience and style work as core virtues. / sharp-toothed collective improvisation / dynamic shifts that stretch from passages of somber quiet to flareups of explosive jangling catharsis. — Derek Taylor , ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM Continue reading

John Dikeman | Klaus Kugel | Raoul van der Weide | Across the Sky | Not Two Records

This band, like the best in the tradition, has linked time-past with time-present, invoking both shared musical history and individual agency as a totality (not a spectrum) that is as irreducible as timbre: timbre-upon-timbre combining into a meta-timbre that is evocative of the band itself, individual components giving way to the band as a corporate individual. (A corporation actually deserving of personhood.)The band—as the missile—moves screaming through the space it inhabits while triggering memory, history and time…however— unlike the missile—it does not end in a fiery crash or dull misfire, but continues on. — Jeff Kaiser, 13 December 2011 Continue reading

Theo Jörgensmann Quartett | Ta Eko Mo

The german clarinetist Theo Jörgensmann has always been open for progressive experiments. He is one of the musicians who made the clarinet socially acceptable again in the world of jazz, after the instrument had for years been considered to be old fashioned. It is now fifteen years ago that Theo Jörgensmann lead a successful quartet. After years of playing as a soloist in various projects he has now found a new ensemble with which he can make his visions of a vital, sensuous sounding, European improvised music become real. Christopher Dell, Christian Ramond, Klaus Kugel and Theo Jörgensmann were brought together by the sheer joy of playing music.The remarkable of this new group are its imagination, individuality and creative power. Continue reading

Five Spot | Petras Vysniauskas | Yuri Yaremchuk | Roberta Piket | Mark Tokar | Klaus Kugel | Poltva

The band’s name reveals that this is a quintet, with Lithuanian Petras Vysniauskas on soprano, Ukranians Yury Yaremchuk soprano, alto and clarinets, and Mark Tokar on bass, German Klaus Kugel on drums and Roberta Piket from the US on piano. All five musicians have solid backgrounds, both in traditional contexts as in a more free environment, as is the case here, for this live performance at the Lviv Jazz Festival in Ukraine in 2007, and it is free jazz in the spirit of the seventies, with the whole band working together on a coherent musical flow, rhytmic and forward-moving, with the musicians very concerned to build a unique sound rather than using the improvisation for personal expression. In the hands of lesser musicians this becomes a perfect recipe for either chaos or boredom, but you get the opposite here: discipline and deep listening skills, creativity and variation make this quite a captivating program.– Stef Continue reading