Stormy Beauty Nils Kugelmann
- 1About the Moment of Beginning05:54
- 2Unexpected Love05:38
- 3Symphony for the Rain05:20
- 4Finding Your Place05:28
- 5Late Change06:18
- 6Stormy Beauty06:04
- 7Final Run06:36
- 8Wild Leaves Falling04:33
- 9Song for a Golden Blossom07:52
Info for Stormy Beauty
Berlin might well be considered widely as the creative hub of the German jazz scene, but in the deep south of the country there is another city where talented and promising musicians are finding new pathways in jazz. Among these, for example, are the Jazzrausch Bigband, vocalist Alma Naidu and guitarist Philipp Schiepek. They all hail from Munich. Bassist Nils Kugelmann, born in 1996, is another new talent from the Bavarian capital. His ACT debut "Stormy Beauty" makes it clear why, already at a young age, he is considered among the top German bass-players.
As the album title implies, Nils Kugelmann's music concerns itself with some of the most important things which music can express: beauty, excitement and passion. There can be very few emerging musicians able to portray these emotions and states quite so convincingly, captivatingly and creatively as Kugelmann. He is an artist of quality and genuine promise, as successes such as the European Burghausen Young Jazz Prize 2023 at the Burghausen Jazz Week and the BMW Young Artist Jazz Award 2022 attest. Kugelmann has also recently won the renowned European Burghausen Young Jazz Prize 2023 at the Burghausen Jazz Week. His trio played pieces from the "Stormy Beauty" project, and part of the prize was to share the same programme with guitar legend and festival headliner Lee Ritenour, at the festival’s opening night gala concert.
Kugelmann's music is persuasive and powerful, not least because he is so much more than ‘just’ a bass player. He is a true all-rounder, a universal musician and composer. From an early age he tried out singing, clarinet, piano or synthesizer, and then mainly the bass. Even as a teenager, Kugelmann was both composing and improvising, hovering between academic music and pop, between acoustic and electronic music. He began his formal studies in music combining classical clarinet and composition, and wrote pieces for orchestra and even musicals which received performances in Munich.
The focal point of this eclectic mix, however, was studying the bass with Henning Sieverts at the Munich Musikhochschule, and those studies have already given him a strong identity: he has been a first-call bass-player for several years, someone who gets the call whenever Munich colleagues are putting together a rhythm section. Indeed, his services have been called upon by luminaries like Benny Golson, Johannes Enders and Trio Elf. And yet this does not prevent Kugelmann from following other projects such as his duo with drummer Sebastian Wolfgruber...where he plays the piano, or the Lightville Duo alongside his partner, the equally talented pianist/composer Shuteen Erdenebaatar, originally from Mongolia.. in which he plays a very unusual instrument, the contra alto clarinet.
It is, however, in his trio with Luca Zambito on piano and Sebastian Wolfgruber on drums that Kugelmann has found his true calling. "Stormy Beauty" demonstrates that with admirable clarity. All of the tracks here are written by him; his signature as composer is unmistakable. Whether he is evoking a euphoric mood of departure in "Unexpected Love" and "About the Moment of Beginning", or tracing the path to finding one's own voice in the exuberant improvisations and crashing rhythms of "Finding Your Place, or showing a reverence and enthusiasm for nature in the hymn-like "Symphony for the Rain" and "Wild Leaves Falling", or intoning the powerful love song "Song for a Golden Blossom", there is no mistaking Kugelmann's outstanding qualities and unfailing instincts, his way of finding melodies and motifs which stick in the mind. His instrumental virtuosity frees up the double bass and even turns it into the dominant melodic instrument in a piano trio. Kugelmann gives every single note a sense of definitiveness and a feeling of expressiveness, even at the fastest tempo. And, above all, we hear a perfect account of the high art of equal interplay: Kugelmann has Luca Zambito and Sebastian Wolfgruber alongside him, both of whom are quite exceptional young musicians.
"Stormy Beauty" is a strong debut, full of power and passion. Here is a young artist who has something new to give to jazz, and also the confidence to follow his own path.
Nils Kugelmann, bass
Luca Zambito, piano
Sebastian Wolfgruber, drums
Recorded by Manfred Mildenberger, April 2022
Mixed by Florian Oestreicher at Realistic Sound Studio
Mastered by Christoph Stickel
born in Munich in 1996, came to music at an early age thanks to a musical home. It started with the recorder and was quickly followed by piano, clarinet and finally the bass. He wrote his first composition for clarinet at the age of 11, his first piece for big band at 15 and his first works for orchestra and two musicals at 18. These premiered under his baton at venues including the Herkulessaal of the Residenz, Nymphenburg Palace, the Wagenhalle and the Gasteig in Munich.
After graduating from the Pestalozzi-Gymnasium in 2016, Kugelmann studied double bass at the "Hochschule für Musik und Theater München" with Henning Sieverts, graduating with a Master's degree in 2022. During his studies, Kugelmann already attracted attention as a sideman in various projects. He played concerts with the Benny Golson Quartet, Trio Elf and Johannes Enders, among others. In addition to winning first prize at the "European Young Artists' Award Burghausen 2023" and prizes at the "Biberacher Jazzpreis", "Förderpreis des bayerischen Jazzverbands" or the "Future Sounds Wettbewerb" in Leverkusen, Kugelmann has also just been honoured for his work as a composer and musician with the "Musikstipendium der Stadt München" and the "BMW Young Artist Jazz Award". He is also part of various permanent bands such as the "Shuteen Erdenebaatar Quartet" (Young Munich Jazz Award), the "Luca Zambito Quartet" (Young Munich Jazz Award) or "Renner".
Nils Kugelmann Trio
The beauty of nature, deep human feelings and the pure joy of making music together inspire Nils Kugelmann when writing for this line-up. He has just been awarded the "BMW Young Artist Jazz Award" for his work as a musician and composer and first prize at the "European Young Artist Award Burghausen 2023" with his trio.
With pianist Luca Zambito (winner of the "Young Munich Jazz Award", among others) and drummer Sebastian Wolfgruber (LBT, Fazer, Embryo), his trio features two equally award-winning and passionate musicians of young German jazz. Together, the three long-time companions have already won prizes at the "Förderpreis des Bayerischen Jazzverbands" and the "Future Sounds Wettbewerb" in Leverkusen.
In addition to the communicative and risk-taking interplay, Kugelmann's compositions create an unmistakable band sound. His history as a classical composer is clearly noticeable. Cinematically energetic soundscapes are created that captivate and touch the listener from the very first note.
The basis and the common heartbeat of the three exceptional talents, however, is the deep connection and love for jazz. What emerges from this is music that wants to be heard - driven by palpable joy in playing, full trust in each other, the lightness of friendship and a wonderfully powerful and driving bass sound that bears Nils Kugelmann's unmistakable signature.