When Eva Klesse and her quartet recorded its debut album Xenon in 2014, things were still quite new.
Just six month earlier, Klesse, Ring, Frischkorn, and Lucaciu met in Leipzig; they went on to play a handful of concerts together. Nevertheless, the band already displayed a remarkable diversity of musical styles and a strong creative drive. Essential characteristics remain: atmospheric original compositions in lieu of covers, a knack for interesting melodies, joyful improvisation, and nuanced acoustic arrangements.
In 2015, the band was awarded the Jazz Echo (German Music Award) in the category „Newcomer of the year“. Since the release of Xenon, the quartet played among others the Berlin, Dortmund, and Leipzig jazz festivals, the “Rolf-Liebermann-Studio” in Hamburg (NDR) and the “Bayrisches Jazzweekend”. They toured Chile in 2015, including concerts in Valparaiso, Concepcion and at the ChilEuropa Festival in Santiago de Chile, with support of the German cultural institution Goethe Institute.
On the new album Obenland, released in October 2016 on enja Records, the characteristic sound of the Eva Klesse quartet is now permanently present. All compositions have been penned specifically for this album and are custom-tailored to the four personalities, creating a stronger coherence and simultaneously opening new possibilities for exploring new directions. The aesthetics now sway between detailed chamber jazz and energetic peaks. The dynamic range is wider than ever, transparency and density are evenly balanced, the latter applied so skilfully that the listener can always retain orientation, even through wider musical arcs. During dynamic interplay and mounting free passages, Klesse and her musical partners allow their emotions exactly the right amount of space, in that improvisationconveys intensity instead of egocentric ecstasy. A balance of such subtlety reflects maturity.
When being asked about the mysterious album title, Eva Klesse describes how she – as a little kid – used to retreat to the attic in her childhood house, calling the attic ‘Obenland’ (“land above”). “Today, it’s the imaginary place we go to when we play music. There, we can be free and creative. Sometimes, to me, it resembles a monk going to meditation. Obenland is a mindset, a place with space and time to get engaged.“
“Xenon was somehow pictured from far away“, Eva Klesse looks back and notices “Obenland is much more focused and closer to us“. The vibrant yet concentrated new album confirms what London Jazz News already stated a while ago: “A rising star on the German jazz scene“.