Natural Energy The Jakob Manz Project

Cover Natural Energy

Album info



Label: ACT Music

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Modern Jazz

Artist: The Jakob Manz Project

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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FLAC 96 $ 13.20
  • 1Endless Space03:29
  • 2Fog Light06:58
  • 3Eyes of Crystals06:44
  • 4Soft Like Peanut Butter03:53
  • 5Eyes Up05:21
  • 6Thunderbird08:17
  • 7Engaged06:36
  • 8Speläothem02:32
  • 9Bombylius03:46
  • 10Pauls Vision (Endless Space Outro)02:08
  • 11Splender of Nature04:54
  • 12How High Is the Sky07:28
  • 13Only Now02:23
  • Total Runtime01:04:29

Info for Natural Energy

The audience at the Biberach Jazz Prize a couple of years ago witnessed a miracle. Here was an alto saxophonist who instantly evoked memories of some of the very greats of the instrument: a player with the melodic invention of a Johnny Hodges, the big sound of an Eric Dolphy, the urgency of a Cannonball Adderley, the funkiness of a David Sanborn, plus his own definite touch of individuality. But here’s the surprise: this was no hardened journeyman, Jakob Manz was a mere sixteen years old. And, as was to be expected, this young musician from Dettingen near Stuttgart with his quartet The Jakob Manz Project not only won the audience award, he was also named the overall winner of the competition by a jury chaired by eminent bassist Dieter Ilg. Six months later, Jakob Manz achieved distinction again with a win at the Leverkusener Jazztage’s future.sounds competition.

In the years before he won these two prizes, Manz had garnered support from some prominent people and organisations: while still at school he was accepted into the German Federal Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzo) where there was already quite a buzz about him. He attended the Stuttgart Musikhochschule(music academy) as a junior student and caught the attention of some shrewd professors such as Christian Weidner ("Jakob throws himself into the music with every sinew"), Klaus Graf ("He has extraordinary musicality, has a great blues feeling and an amazing understanding of harmony") and above all Wolfgang Schmid, one of Germany’s most influential jazz electric bassists, and a long-standing member of Klaus Doldinger’s Passport, who invited Manz to do gigs with him. In the meantime Manz has also played alongside Randy Brecker, Ack van Rooyen and most recently Wolfgang Dauner. In what seems a natural progression, Jakob Manz's debut album "Natural Energy" is a "Young German Jazz" release. This latest development sees Manz following in the lineage of Michael Wollny, Roman and Julian Wasserfuhr and Matthias Schriefl. All of these established artists released their first albums as part of ACT’s series representing the younger generation of German jazz musicians.

"Natural Energy", then, is the first tangible evidence of a quite exceptional talent. Jakob Manz did have the advantage of being well nurtured from an early stage. He grew up as the son of an opera singer and a music teacher. He learned to play the drums at the age of five, the recorder at eight, and soon afterwards the saxophone.

"It was through playing the recorder that I discovered my passion for jazz," he says. "What I started to feel was a freedom that could make me very strong in the moment, not thinking forwards, not thinking back, just concentrating on what I'm doing.” Before long Manz was winning awards from both "Jugend musiziert" and "Jugend jazzt". Like most young musicians today, he has a spirit of curiosity and a completely open mind to all kinds of music: "For me, good music is not defined by its style, it depends on the quality of a piece." As an example, the phenomenal feeling he has for playing mainstream jazz can be seen in a stunning flugelhorn-alto sax duet feature with Ack van Rooyen and the SWR Big Band which is available on YouTube.

He is comfortable in that context – to say the least! – but jazz with groove and soul is his genuine passion. And he had the good fortune to find some kindred spirits early on, people just as talented as he is, and more or less of the same generation: Hannes Stollsteimer on piano, Frieder Klein on bass and Paul Albrecht on drums are the musicians who inspire and lift him in the Jakob Manz Project. The assuredness of this group is jaw-dropping. With astonishing power, finesse and creativity, strong instincts for melody, rhythm and catchy hooks, these four youngsters set about their work on "Natural Energy" in the spirit of the Brecker Brothers or the Crusaders. The listener picks up hints of Marcus Miller, Christian Scott and even Bill Evans, and yet they play exclusively their own compositions. In the opener "Endless Space”, the way the tempo is set by a driven by bass and drum-driven groove and the whirling solos is irresistible, as are the funk feel and the earworm-ish motifs of "Eyes Of Crystals". "Paul's Vision" has a rock drive about it, and the Latin rhythms of "Eyes Up" are a delight. The wonderfully expressive ballads on the album are impressive too: in "Soft Like Peanut Butter" and "Engaged", the saxophone truly takes wing. And there is a coalescence of the gentle and the energetic in the anthemic closing section of "How High Is The Sky".

"Natural Energy" reveals not just dazzling virtuosity but also burning conviction and compositional maturity. It is safe to predict that we will be hearing a lot more from Jakob Manz.

Jakob Manz, alto saxophone & recorder (track 6)
Hannes Stollsteimer, piano
Frieder Klein, bass
Paul Albrecht, drums

The Jakob Manz Project
gewann den 1. Preis bei den Future Sounds 2018 der Leverkusener Jazztage, im April 2018 erhielt die Band einen 1. Preis sowie den Publikumspreis beim internationalen „Jazzpreis Biberach 2018“. Im April 2020 erscheint ihr Debut Album “Natural Energy” bei ACT. Bandleader Jakob Manz spielte unter anderem mit Musikern wie Randy Brecker, Ack Van Rooyen oder Wolfgang Dauner. Bereits mit 16 Jahren wurde er ins Bundesjazzorchester (BuJazzO) aufgenommen, mit dem er in Konzertsälen wie der Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, der Kölner Philharmonie oder im Gasteig München sowie in verschiedenen Ländern (u.a. USA, Kanada, Albanien, Niederlande) auftrat.

„Sie jagten den Geist des Jazz mit Nachdruck durchs Forum – und führte dazu, dass die Zuschauer am Ende im Stehen applaudierten.“ (Kölner Stadtanzeiger über den Auftritt bei den Leverkusener Jazztagen)

Im Jakob Manz Project versammelt der junge Saxophonist exzellente Musiker um sich: Paul Albrecht bearbeitet sein Fell und Metall wie ein durchtriebener Altmeister, dem die Götter für nur einen Abend nochmals alle Energie der Jugend schenkten. Sein Spiel löst bei unterschiedlichstem Publikum ungläubiges Staunen aus.

Mit enormer Vielseitigkeit und einem offenen Ohr durchdringt Pianist Hannes Stollsteimer in den perfekten Momenten die lebendigen, mitreißenden Saxophon Soli – mal mit ultraharten, schnellen Funkriffs, mal mit sparsam dosierten Kicks, mal mit verbindend cremigen Übergängen. Als Solist treibt er sein durchdachtes Spiel auf die Spitze. Frieder Kleins E-Bass strahlt mit jedem Ton die Unerschütterlichkeit einer erdgeschichtlichen Zeitdimension aus, egal ob seine Finger die Saiten rasend schnell oder aufreizend langsam greifen. Sein Spezialgebiet sind rhythmisch vertrackte, rasende Linien von verblüffender Melodiösität.

Die musikalischen Persönlichkeiten verschmelzen im Jakob Manz Project zu einem einzigartigen Bandsound, der durch gegenseitige Inspiration und kreatives Zusammenspiel immer wieder neue Farben annimmt. Die Energie der Band überträgt sich in einer sehr direkten und emotionalen Weise auf das Publikum. So erlebt der Zuhörer sowohl die Tiefen der modernen Groove – und Soulmusik, als auch den magischen und ruhigen Fluss des aktuellen Jazz: einen dynamischen und energiereichen Abend, den man so schnell nicht vergisst.

Booklet for Natural Energy

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