Various Artists
Mathias Modica presents Kraut Jazz Futurism
Cryptox Records

Reviewed by Benjamin Löhner.


Fortunately, jazz has discarded its admittedly dusty image in recent years. Artists like Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia, BadBadNotGood or Kamasi Washington lure kids back to jazz clubs with their fresh, relaxed and danceable interpretation of the genre. But even away from the epicenters of London and Los Angeles, there’s a lot going on. On the amazing compilation Kraut Jazz Futurism, musician and producer Mathias Modica throws a spotlight on the german offshoots of this still quite young scene.

The title of the disc is aptly chosen. The central reference point on all 16 tracks is the German Krautrock of the 1960s. Thus Berlin drummer Niklas Wendt on the song “Balanphontanz in drei Schüben” is not only in the tradition of Amon Düül with the curious song title, also the vibe of the number reminds strongly of some of the psychedelic-stoned tracks of the munich- based cult combo. On this avant-garde foundation the 16 songs eclecticize themselves in all possible directions. Karl Hammond & The Malcoums refer on “Orange Man” the ethiojazz of Mulatu Astatke, which surely also rushes into your legs on the dance floor. Also exciting is the collaboration of techno-minimalist Stimming and the jazz pianist Lambert, who always wears a sardinian bull mask on stage. The result is the beautifully dreamy number “The Little Giant”, which is placed a bit unusually between the tracks and in this form would probably also find its way into the Spotify Lo-Fi-Beats playlist. Oh – and Salomea on “Magnolia Tree” provides the number one goose bump moment. The only vocal track on the compilation is a homage to the grandmother of leadsinger Rebekka Salomea and at the same time a masterpiece of improvisation and composition.

All in all, Kraut Jazz Futurism is a beautifully alive kaleidoscope of the young German jazz scene. Its creative output makes you want more and brings the fresh wind, that is strongly needed.