As with the premiere of the federal award sponsored by the Initiative Musik, the Club of the Year was chosen by the more than 1,300 members of the German Jazz Union in a secret online vote, so just like at the premiere, the winner has already been determined. The three venues with the most votes will be invited to the award ceremony as finalists – together with the Donau115 in Berlin (as in 2021!) and the Saxstall (in Pohrsdorf near Dresden), the LOFT is once again one of the top three!
The nominees in the 30 other categories have been determined by an independent jury of 25 experts, based on applications and proposals. The winners will now be determined by a main jury, and announced together with the Venue of the Year at the award ceremony on April 27th 2023, on the eve of the expo jazzahead! in Bremen.
Several musicians who had or have a close relationship with the LOFT are nominated.
There are almost no pianists in the scene who have not yet played our legendary Steinway D grand piano or its little brother (Yamaha C3) … or both at the same time. Last year, Pablo Held – who invites you to his LOFT-series meets for the 33rd time in May 2023 – was honored as Pianist of the Year at the German Jazz Prize, and also this year, three musicians most esteemed by us are nominated in the Piano category:
Simon Nabatov’s LOFT concerts are almost uncountable – in addition, he has recorded numerous CDs (some of them award-winning) on our pianos in his Cologne living room. Antwerp-born Marlies Debacker has been exploring the boundaries between improvised and Neue Musik for many years, she has performed numerous concerts including her master’s degree concert (2017) at the LOFT over the past seven years. Elias Stemeseder’s first LOFT concert dates back already nine years, whether with Anna Webber’s Percussive Mechanics or the Robert Landfermann Quintet, whether with percussion virtuoso Jim Black or in a quintet put together especially for a LOFT concert (as part of the Monday Meetings) with vibraphonist Evi Filippou (Evi is also nominated this year, in the Debut Album category) – he has always amazed us with his intelligent play.
In the summer of 2014, the young saxophonist Theresia Philipp played her graduation concert at the LOFT – at that time she lived just around the corner, and a few LOFT-concerts later she could already be found behind the bar: through her help and support, she once laid the foundation for the jungesloft, a team of young Cologne musicians who support us hosting the concerts, and who have also been active programmatically at LOFT for several years (the jungloftler series Monday Meetings has already been awarded the federal APPLAUS price twice). Now, Theresia is nominated with her latest album ΔΔΔ in the category Instrumental Album.
Turkish-born singer Cansu Tanrıkulu has already performed several times at LOFT with bassist James Banner’s combo Usine, she is nominated in the Vocal category. A year ago she could be heard at the LOFT together with Liz Kosack, Ignaz Schick and Kaisuke Matsuno, Keisuke is nominated in the category Guitar, and was one of the featured artists at the Monday Meetings.
Trumpeter Matthias Schriefl has been liviing in Cologne for most of his live, but the Allgäu-native is a true world citizen: one of the most enigmatic musicians in the national scene, who is equally at home in Indian classical as in German brass music, with which he honored the LOFT for its 30th birthday in September 2019. In the Corona lockdown, we switched roles, and celebrated Matthias birthday with a concert (without audience) in the LOFT via livestream. Matthias Schriefl is nominated in the category Brass Instruments.
In the Bass category, next to Hamburg-based Lisa Wulff the Brooklyn/Berlin-based Nick Dunston is nominated. Nick was recently a LOFT resident for a few days at the beginning of this year together with New York drummer Savannah Harris for the continuation of the art of the trio-series of pianist Hans Lüdemann, and has previously been a guest at the LOFT several times with the great New York quartet of drummer Raf Vertessen (with Anna Webber and Adam O’Farill) or as a featured artist at the Monday Meetings. And Felix Henkelhausen, despite his young age, can already be called one of the busiest bass players in the national scene: whether in the BigBand of our jungloftler Pascal Klewer, in the Large Ensemble of pianist Stefan Schultze (Stefan’s Large Ensemble is also nominated in the Large Ensemble category), as a guest of the Pablo Held series meets, with vibraphonist Evi Filippou, who is also nominated for the German Jazz Prize, or with his own quintet: his name already appears delightfully often in our program archive. The next time he will play at the LOFT on May 12th this year, where he will present his quintet (with Uli Kempendorff, Wanja Slavin, Valentin Gerhardus and Leif Berger) and new compositions.
In the Drums category, Eva Klesse is nominated, a drummer whose career we are allowed to witness live for many years now: with the trio no kissing of our favorite guitarist Werner Neumann, she could already be heard at LOFT 10 years ago, numerous concerts and a total of three LOFT-studio albums of her Eva Klesse Quartet followed (the last LOFT-production was nominated for the Quarterly Prize of the German Record Critics in the first quarter of 2021), and most recently she was a guest twice with the US-American pianist Ethan Iverson. Also nominated in the Drums category is legendary drummer Günther Baby Sommer, who has only played once at LOFT (in January 2022, together with the three Lucaciu brothers), but the recording of this was also nominated for the Quarterly Prize of the German Record Critics (04/2022).
In the Vocal Album category, several familiar faces can be spotted. Cologne-based singer Elsa Johanna Mohr was already heard at LOFT with her trio LUAH as part of her bachelor’s degree in June 2019, and with LUAH she is now nominated in the Vocal Album category, as is the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, which has found a new home at LOFT since the beginning of March this year: its album Tales From The Wooden Kingdom, recorded with singer Veronika Morscher and composer & arranger Heiner Schmitz, is also nominated.
Harpist Kathrin Pechlof is after 2021 again nominated in the category Special Instruments: she gave her first LOFT concerts more than 13 years ago, later she performed here alongside the Pablo Held Trio, and with her sextet, she gave her diploma concert at the LOFT 12 years ago with a memorable line-up including Matthias Schriefl (German Jazz Award Nominee 2023), Philipp Gropper (German Jazz Award Winner 2021) Gerhard Gschlössl, Robert Landfermann (German Jazz Award Winner 2022) and Jonas Burgwinkel. Together with the legendary Skúli Sverrisson, Kathrin is invited by Pablo Held to a meets concert on May 22nd this year – not to be missed!
The trio around the young pianist Olga Reznichenko from Dresden stayed at LOFT for a few days during the 2nd Corona-Lockdown-Winter in 2020, where the recordings for their debut album Somnanbule were made. Now the Olga Reznichenko Trio is nominated as Band of the year. The release concert at LOFT in fall 2022 unfortunately had to be postponed, and will hopefully be made up for this year.
In the Composition category, things get personal: the first LOFT concert of Berlin-based guitarist Christian Kühn is still in the making – the e-mail list is already several pages long – but Christian and LOFT operator Benedikt Müller are taking it with a smile. After all, they were closest friends in their childhood: starting in 1988 (roughly the year Hans Martin Müller founded his LOFT), they spent four years together at primary school in Cologne. Even got sparse during their further careers, they never completely lost sight of each other. So these two are particularly looking forward to seeing each other at the award ceremony in Bremen….and no matter how the award ceremony turns out: from afar, they will tele-toast with their third brother from back then (Sebastian S.).
Also in the international categories we can find familiar faces: it has been 11 years since pianist Craig Taborn’s last LOFT concert, back then together with Lotte Anker and Gerald Cleaver, but he has also performed here with Dominique Pifarély and Tim Berne. And we also fondly remember the last concert of pianist Kaja Draksler: in February last year, she tested her Bach interpretations for the first time in front of an audience as a feature artist of the jungloftler series Monday Meetings in the Piano Duo with Marcin Masecki. Craig and Kaja are nominated in the Piano/Keyboards International category.
Finally, cellist Tomeka Reid’s first LOFT concert dates back 15 years now, a memorable Chicago Double evening (The Rempis Percussion Quartet & Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly); her most recent appearance at LOFT was last summer in an expectional trio with Savannah Harris and Angelika Niescier as part of the 2nd Cologne Jazzweek, a festival organized by the Cologne Jazz Conference and directed by former jungloftler (and now member of the board of the Initiative Kölner Jazzhaus in the Cologne Stadtgarten, the Club of the Year of the German Jazz Award 2022) Janning Trumann, and the Cologne Jazzweek is also nominated again (after 2022!) in the category Festival of the Year.
Congratulations to all nominees and fingers crossed for the award ceremony on April 27th 2023 in Bremen – and a big Thank You to all members of the German Jazz Union who participated in the online voting.