Posts By: Heinrich

A cheering and warm company: Peter Bacon in!

What a delight! Check out Peter Bacon’s insightful review of our latest album in Thanks for your kind words, Peter! 06.01.2016

Both German saxophonist/flautist Heinrich von Kalnein and American pianist Michael Abene might be more closely associated in our minds with big bands (Jazz Bigband Graz, and both Maynard Ferguson and WDR Big Band from Cologne, respectively) but this is an intimate and relatively informal duo disc. And it’s an absolute delight.

There are a few reasons why it appeals to me. One is that the songs each man contributes (and they are shared fairly evenly) are just that: full songs rather than sketchy heads upon which to improvise. Another is that Abene sees himself much more as an arranger/composer who plays the piano rather than a star pianist (not that there is anything wrong with star pianists, and anyway I think Abene is being a little modest in his self-assessment). It means his playing is never grandstanding or virtuosic for the sake of it; it’s always at the service of the song. Thirdly von Kalnein is a lovely player on both tenor saxophone and alto flute, always melodic in his improvisations, always conversational in tone. And fourthly, the two men – now both working in Graz, Austria – clearly get along so well and are so generous in the performance they are sharing, making this a two-way musical chat that welcomes the listener in. 

For a taster I would recommend Abene’s Another Time which opens the album and has von Kalnein on flute, or von Kalnein’s That’s Simple which has a hooky melody that is easy to sing along to. The one non-original is a delightful exploration of Jimi Hendrix’s The Wind Cries Mary. It’s intriguing to hear little links within the programme: a phrase here will remind of a tune there; there is even a pre-echo of the Hendrix melody in von Kalnein’s graceful ballad Sippin’ At Duke’s which has a similar motif of three rising chords in addition to a Lush Life feel.

What cheering and warm company these two men provide on a gloomy January day! Peter Bacon

4 * for the CD DREAMLINER in the November edition of JAZZTHETIK (GER)

German critic Angela Ballhorn wrote a very nice and insightful review of DREAMLINER in the current (November / December) edition of German JAZZTHETIK magazine: ”

,,I think we should record”, fasste Michael Abene Heinrich von Kalneins Gedanken in Worte. Schön, dass sie es gemacht haben!

Die beiden Musiker finden sich auf einer sehr intimen Einspielung in acht Kompositionen, sieben eigenen und einer Coverversion. Dreamliner (mit sehr guter Covergrafik von Peter Hoffmann) enthält kraftvolle lyrische Kompositionen. … Am Klavier ist er (Michael Abene) ein zuhörender Begleiter, dynamisch ausgefeilt, groovend und als Solist zupackend. Heinrich von Kalnein besticht wieder mit starkem Ton am Tenorsaxofon und lyrisch-großem Sound an der Altflöte. Am überraschendsten ist wohl die Wahl des einzigen “Fremdstückes”, „The Wind Cries Mary” von Jimi Hendrix. Das Duo findet seinen ganz eigenen Weg durch den Meilenstein der Rockgeschichte. ****

Thank you Angela!

“Dreamliner” in Jazzpodium (GER) October 2015

Another nice review in our of Germany’s leading jazz papers by Thorsten Hingst: “…entspannte Gelassenheit und eine überraschend geballte und zupackende Griffigkeit anderseits. Ein großartiges wohl austariertes Spannungsverhältnis, das die kompositorische Meisterklasse der Musiker nachdrücklich unterstreicht. Von diesem Duo möchte man in der Zukunft unbedingt noch sehr viel mehr hören!” Thank you Thorsten!

CD DREAMLINER” Album of the Week!

28.08.2015: Not even out yet and already on the way up: in this weekend’s magazine RONDO of the Austrian national paper DER STANDARD critic Ljubisa Tosic chose DREAMLINER ‘Album der Woche’. “…unprätentiös, zeitlos und konzentriert wie in sich überzeugend.” Thank you very much! You may order already via our webshop.

JBBG – Jazz Bigband Graz “TRUE STORIES”

The JBBG – Jazz Bigband Graz under leadership of Heinrich von Kalnein & Horst-Michael Schaffer will release it’s next CD “True Stories” under the NATANGO MUSIC label. The music was entirely written and produced by composer, trumpeter and vocalist Horst-Michael Schaffer and features next to the two band leaders the rising stars tenor saxophonist Sebastian Gille and bassist Manu Mayr (Kompost 3) among others. “True Stories” will be out in March 1, 2016.