Jazz as horror music: The Michael Wollny Trio and its "Ghosts"

There aren't many jazz musicians who regularly hit the charts with their new albums.

Jazz as horror music: The Michael Wollny Trio and its "Ghosts"

There aren't many jazz musicians who regularly hit the charts with their new albums. The pianist and Leipzig music professor Michael Wollny, who was born in Schweinfurt and is now 44 years old, belongs to this small circle of artists who combine high standards and "saleability".

His current record "Ghosts" - recorded in a virtuoso trio with Tim Lefebvre (bass) and Eric Schaefer (drums) - promises a renewed attempt at hit parades beyond the jazz niche. As with the successful predecessors "Weltentraum" (2014), "Oslo"/"Wartburg" (2018) and "Mondenkind" (2020), Wollny has developed an ambitious concept for his ten pieces.

This time he is researching "the ghosts that populate pieces from jazz, classical and pop and haunt him again and again", as his label ACT explains. Pop cover versions (Nick Cave, Timber Timbre, David Sylvian), jazz standards (George Gershwin, Duke Ellington), a classical piece (Franz Schubert's "Erlkönig") and two brilliant original compositions alternate in a quite heterogeneous mix - and but as usual with Wollny, a very own flow is created.

In addition to his earlier audible penchant for the dark and creepy (e.g. in the album "Nachttouren" from 2015), the term "hauntology" played a major role for Wollny in "Ghosts". According to the label, it's about music "that awakens memories of things long past, forgotten and spooky with ghostly sounds".

The pianist himself says: "This perspective, these sounds and last but not least the term itself have interested me enormously in recent months - right down to the idea of ​​producing a piano trio album that deals with the subject." Wollny's highly atmospheric, fascinating gothic music again has all the ingredients to inspire a large audience by jazz standards.

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