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Berlin Calling

ACT 9656-2 [52:15]


Habibi (Erdmann) [3:22]
Görlitzer Park (Daerr) [1:57]
Reveal Your Identity (Erdmann) [2:09]
Alabama Song (Weill) [3:35)
Playajazzchord (Daerr) [3:25]
Maurice Wilson’s Ever Ever Wrest [Potratz) [8:22]
I Love Lörts (Erdmann) [5:05]
Bambus (Potratz) [5:03]
Tag (Potratz) [2:28]
Blume in Asphalt (Daerr) [6:33]
Psychobraut (Graupe) [5:48]
Berlion (Ideal) [4:29)
Carsten Daerr (piano, melodica)
Daniel Erdmann (saxophones)
Ritsche Koch (trumpet)
Ronny Graupe (guitar)
Oliver Potratz (bass)
Sebastian Merk (drums)
Recorded 11-13 April and 3 July, 2006, Traumton Studio, Berlin.

This is a sparky sextet of young German musicians, all working on the jazz scene in Berlin. The particular combination heard here is a newish one. Daerr and Erdmann are slighly better established figures than their colleagues. Pianist Daerr was born in 1975; classically trained he studied jazz piano from 1996 and has worked with many significant German musicians. Sax player Erdmann, born in 1973, has played widely in Europe and North America, working with, amongst others, Aki Takase, Linda Sharrock and Herb Robertson. Here the two of them lead a sextet completed by four slightly younger musicians. The music to be heard here is an adroitly eclectic mixture of available idioms. There are plenty of nods to the mainstream/modern tradition, plenty that swings in familiar fashion. There are passages of what I take to be free improvisation and there are some tightly written ensembles. There are moments that sound almost Middle Eastern (e.g. on ‘Habibi’); there are passages which are characterised by some very contemporary urban rhythms; there are tenor sax passages deeply imbued with the traditions of rhythm and blues and there is some breathy ballad playing.

Four members of the band contribute compositions – as does Kurt Weill. The average track length is, by modern standards, on the short side and this is perhaps an area of weakness. More than once one longs for soloists to stretch out and offer substantial readings of the material. There is an attraction in the precise, compressed music mostly to be heard here, but I finally found it a little frustrating.

Of the musicianship of the band there is not the slightest doubt. They handle changes of idiom and mood with consummate ease; such brief solos as they take are interesting and inventive; the rhythm section work of Oliver Potratz and Sebastian Merk is compelling and assured.

Enjoyable, incisive music, often rhythmically complex and full of musical sophistication, a good taster of musicians of whom it would be good to hear more of, such is their energy and technical ease. The present CD is stimulating rather than wholly satisfying. But I have the feeling that this is really something of an hors d’œuvre for the full musical meal that these musicians will one day produce.

Glyn Pursglove

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