Neun der zehn Alben sind stark songorientiert, haben in jedem Fall eine starke cantabile Qualität.
Melodie ist bei allen Alben unüberhörbar das Rückgrat und Melodie wird auf sehr vielfältige und farbenreiche Weise gestaltet. Es ist auch alles schillernde und schwankende stimmungsgeladene Musik, ebenso konzis wie mystisch. Piano spielt eine große Rolle, und es sind gleich zwei Celli und eine Violine, die das Spiel bestimmen.

Ich bin, was die Wahl in der Chart betrifft, europaweit orientiert und nicht (lokal)patriotisch. Im zurückliegenden Jahr sind Musiker aus Polen/Ukraine, Rumänien und Griechenland, aus Frankreich, Belgien und den Niederlanden wie Dänemark vertreten. Vier von den zehn Gruppen werden von Frauen geleitet. Es sind Musiker, die ich schon länger kenne oder kürzlicher intensiv u.a. im live Konzert kennengelernt habe.

Die Liste ist keine best-of Liste. Es ist eine Kumulation von Momenten durch das ganze Jahr hin. Natürlich gab es zu den jeweiligen Zeitpunkten immer auch andere, sehr hörenswerte Alben und momentane Gründe für die Hervorhebung gerade eines einzigen.

Auf dass die Gewählten weitere Kreise ziehend gehört werden mögen und verbinden mögen!


Violoncello, saxophone, clarinet/saxophone – that’s how ‘trio’ also can work and sound: as a consonant unity elating listeners‘ souls, as a consonant unity with emerging flashy color layering, with amazingly flexible roles in terms of melody, rhythm, texture, with a many-sided approach from moment to moment, phrase to phrase, thereby creating an intimate as well as orchestral impact – extraordinary, excellent, exhilarating and conquering. Melody is key here in company of its beguiling semblances and sediments, source of inspiration from turbulent bygone days was Jack London (1876-1916), put on record it was in Oakland, California, once the inspirator’s hometown and the rest is for its joyously humming listeners.

Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow – Life Goes On. ECM (02)

Ernst Reijseger/Harmen Fraanje/Molla Sylla – We Were There. Just Listen Records

„The music completely speaks for itself, just listen and immerse!“

Lukacz 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.

Lucian Ban/MatManeri/John Surman – The Bela Bartok Field Recordings. Sunny Side

Among the numerous attempts of adapting folk music sources this album stands for a new quality. The music stands out by its high energy, deep apprehension and its ingenious, imaginative and engaging re-building creation of the source material Bela Bartók collected and prepared a century ago in Transylvania. Nothing sweet here but rather a wild outbreak of deeper interconnected energies of nature and human communities of that region. No finely weighted outpouring of emulated folk sonorities nor collaged torn shreds of sound immediacy we get but rather the best from both, infused throughout in highly sophisticated ways. Lucian Ban (piano), Mat Maneri (viola) and John Surman (saxophones) are deeply connected to and anchored in the essence of their source from their respective roots and musical personalities. Them joining forces here can be considered as a stroke of luck that led into an extraordinary vivid hour of great music.

Katherine Zyabluk – Borders Make You Grow. Self Produced

When listening to the music of young Ukrainian pianist Katherine Zyabluk (1999) here, it gives a feeling of remote concentration connected to a calmness underlying a tension of stasis and maneuverability. The music is with itself in an astonishing way lacking each sign of bravado or attempt to shine. It wears a kind of humble and serious monkish otherworldliness especially reflected in the piece “23 Ways To Forget Oneself”. In this mode great tunes enter from different sides or shine through, permeated with subliminal drama (as in the Ukrainian titled piece “Oy U Luzi, Ta Shche Y Pry Berezi”) in its thoughtful mostly non-overtly confluent progression. There are exceptions though as the vibrating and blasting “Burn Platanus” and there are the contrasts of “Happy Interlude: Curcuma” and “Gloomy Interlude: Aleph” not to mention the final two excellent seven-minute pieces. It turns out that this music was created by Katherine Zyabluk with restricted means in the isolation, means-restricted and solitude of the Covid-19-quarantine in April in a place near Kraków. It is a personally deep lived through musical manifestation of it.

Benjamin Moussay – Promontoire. ECM

Pianist Benjamin Moussay has a beautiful gift to just by two carefully set tones transport listeners fully into experiencing a deeper world layer of calmly roaming and astounding sensing. In short, he creates distance to the everyday outside business and simultaneously access to freed intimate sensing and contemplating our state of being. While shades might wave in and inexorably darken the mental scenery evoked by his magic tone colors it also brightens in non-predictable ways. It is interweaving mystery and clarity where the real and the magic meet and illuminate each other. It’s small pianistic gestures with meaningful halts, which give this carefully orchestrated music its deep reaching impact – a humble masterwork. This music trusts itself and lets listeners find themselves, something needed in these disrupted days.

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.

All Too Human – Because You’re Worth It.ILK

Copenhagen drummer Peter Bruun has a Passion for Productive Paradoxezz. Black can be white vice versa. There is jazz, the other music and there is also the clever game of playing the other music in an other way. That’s where listeners can meet ATH. Nothing is, what it seems and it seems that it is what it is. You are in need of substantial entertainment? Take the ATH trip! This Hamlet commando of ace musicians – bassist Petter Eldh, trumpeter Kasper Tranberg, guitarist Marc Ducret, drummer Peter Bruun – sweeps all corners empty. On y vas, ca ira!

Tania Giannouli – In Fading Light. Rattle Rec.

Melody is what connects us, mood
is what touches us, rhythm is what
is in our breathing, what makes us
move and feel together, texture is
what makes us curious and wondering …

IN FADING LIGHT: a work from the beehive, a work with piano, oud and trumpet consonant with each other conjuring those sides in unifying compositions of great clarity, compositions distinguished by byzantine tinges, captivating dynamics, magical tonal shadings, wild underlying rhythms and moving moods that shift through shines of light.

© Alle Texte: Henning Bolte / Video – und Linkauswahl: Henning Bolte und radiohoerer

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