[em] Live , recorded at Jazz Baltica Salzau 2010, is definitive evidence of the biggest success story in German jazz in recent years. With their debut release in 2004, and with two more studio albums since, the trio [em] have been showered with awards in several countries. So what exactly is the secret of this trio? On the one hand, it is of course the exceptional individual skills of its members: that unique combination of excellent technique, inexhaustible creativity and instinctive interaction as is embodied by Michael Wollny and which is proven, besides [em], by other duet recordings with Heinz Sauer, Joachim Kühn and Tamar Halperin. On the other hand it is also the ever sonorous and rhythmically driven bass of Eva Kruse which sprawls from classical to modern music and is in demand from Sweden to Germany. And, of course, the highly precise, unrivalled versatility and extremely percussive drumming of Eric Schaefer. ~ Amazon
It took Ben Harper nine years to reconvene the Innocent Criminals for 2016's Call It What It Is, but that's not necessarily an abnormally long time for this crew: eight years separated its 2007 predecessor Lifeline from their 2009 debut, Burn to Shine. Harper formed the Innocent Criminals partially with the intention that they'd be his Band of Gypsies, a support system for him to indulge in his Jimi Hendrix daydreams, but they wound up being an even better outlet for his soulful side. Despite "Pink Balloon" and the ham-fisted opener "When Sex Was Dirty" – bluesy bluster that pulls this closer to Lenny Kravitz than Hendrix – Call It What It Is is largely devoted to this blissed-out, mellow vibe.