Saxophone-piano duets have a long, illustrious history and the model of the genre – Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock no less – has recently been enriched by impressive works from fellow Americans Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer as well as Brits Jason Yarde and Andrew McCormack.
This offering is a worthy addition to the canon and proof positive of the currently healthy state of German jazz. Tenor saxophonist Sauer has been a highly respected figure on the Deutscher scene since the 50s while his two pianist partners, Michael Wollny and Joachim Kühn, represent the generations that have followed, the former making his presence felt in the last decade while the latter has been active since the 60s and made a notable entry in the sax-piano almanac by way of a whirlwind live set with Ornette Coleman in 1997. ~ BBC Music
[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
… arguably the finest jazz album of the last quarter of a century. (Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise UK)
Blue delights: IF (BLUE) THEN (BLUE) - for the first time, Heinz Sauer has recorded with Joachim Kühn. Together with Michael Wollny, they have created an exciting homage to Kind Of Blue.
Michael Wollny is a musical adventurer, someone who always seeks out new sounds and sends his audience on exciting journeys of sonic discovery. Consequently, the critical response to his music has been appropriately enthusiastic. In 2009 he won both the jury and the audience prizes of the prestigious inaugural BMW Jazz Award in Munich, with his trio [em]. The industry’s critics have also been raving about his music for years, whether solo or performing with other musicians. The French publication Jazz Magazine described Wollny as, “the spearhead of a new generation of European jazz musicians”; Fono Forum described his “magical sounds”, and Jazzthing magazine wrote: “Piano music which has probably never been heard before in this form.” It is as if the critics all already knew Wollny’s lastest CD, Wunderkammer. Together with harpsichordist Tamar Halperin, and producer Guy Sternberg, Wollny again searches for that which hasn’t been heard before. This CD is a sound trip into the wonderful worlds which are created when all the historic and modern keyboard instruments of an entire museum are combined.
On "Certain Beauty", their second album for ACT, saxophonist Heinz Sauer and pianist Michael Wollny show how perseverance can lead to music of exquisite splendour.