12 Points! may be a precocious child of only two, but already the festival of new European jazz has endeared itself to music devotees in Dublin, joining the dots to Europe’s other creative hubs, and carving out a niche as an indispensable showcase for exciting talent from across the union. WED 5 MARCH 2008
From Rome Giovanni Guidi
“A wonderful surprise” is how Enrico Rava, the patriarch of Italian jazz, described his first encounter with the sensational young pianist Giovanni Guidi some years back. Guidi, now all of 23, has gone on to work regularly with the great trumpeter, one of many accolades bestowed by the Italian scene, including a stint as artist in residence at Umbria Jazz 2006 and Indian Summer, a debut recording for Camjazz, home to pianists like John Taylor and Enrico Pieranunzi. His labelmates are both musicians who this emerging force in European jazz may well yet emulate and certainly, he carries Taylor’s elegance with Piernanunzi’s swathes of Mediterranean colour. International recognition seems inevitable for this Italian original, who performs with his working quartet of bassist Stefano Senni, Portuguese drummer Joao Lobo and Rome based saxophonist Dan Kinzelman.
From Cologne Shreefpun
kThe current talking point in the resurgent German jazz scene is Shreefpunk, a young quartet that makes light work of some very intricate, very engaging music. It’s led by a bona fide prodigy in trumpeter Mathias Schriefl, who at 26 not only has a striking agility but also commands the full range of expressive devices in the trumpet’s arsenal. A surfeit of technical riches can sometimes work against creative music making, but not here. Shreefpunk is the product of many years’ dedication and kinship between Schriefl and his Cologne friends; guitarist Johannes Behr, drummer Jens Düppe and bassist Robert Landfermann. It shows in gnarly, angular group-playing that reaches a degree of telepathic interplay, to then give way to some exhilarating open spaces. Cocky and self-assured, and deservedly so.
From Luxembourg Pascal Schumacher Quartet
Many are called, few are chosen to master the vibraphone, but Luxembourger Pascal Schumacher is well on his way to joining the masters of this member of the percussion family. This is an instrument that often guards it melodic potential jealously, but Schumacher has a marvelous pianistic touch borne of a lengthy classical background, always coaxing subtle shades of colour and dynamics, and heard in the context of compositions that are deft and persuasive in all emotional terrain. Like the best small group writing and playing, the creative load is evenly distributed and sharing it here are some exceptional young players. Appropriately for a citizen of one of Europe’s smaller states, Schumacher, now based in Brussels, keeps pluralist company, with Belgian bassist Christophe Devisscher and Germans Florian Weber (piano) and Jens Düppe (drums).