Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quintet

La pianista e compositrice Kaja Draksler, vincitrice del Deloitte Jazz Award 2009, ha formato nel 2006 il Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quintet con alcuni suoi colleghi studenti al Prins Claus Conservatorium di Groningen (George Dumitriu alla chitarra, Goran Krmac alla tuba e Kristijan Krajncan, semifinalista al Thelonious Monk Drums Competition 2012, alla batteria). Nel 2008 alla band si è unita la cantante turca Sanem Kalfa, vincitrice del Montreaux Jazz Vocal Prize 2010.
La band ha pubblicato due album: Akropola nel 2007 e Turku nel 2009.
Il Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quintet si focalizza sulla musica originale dei suoi cinque membri. Il loro innovativo approccio musicale combina la musica dei loro paesi di origine con sonorità jazz e della musica classica, incorporando intriganti improvvisazioni e strutture formali spontanee. Il loro spettro sonoro è ampio e pieno di colori: miscela elementi acustici ed elettronici e spazia da performance di brani composti nota per nota ad improvvisazioni del tutto libere.
Il quintetto è stato scelto come una delle tre band per il prestigiosissimo 12 Points! Plus Programe e si è esibito in festival quali lo Skopje Jazz Festival, il Ljubljana Jazz Festival, il 12 Points! Festival, il Vossa Jazz Festival, l’Akbank Jazz Festival ad Istanbul, ed il Jazzkaar a Tallinn.
Kaja Draksler – pianoforte
Sanem Kalfa – voce
George Dumitriu – chitarra ed electronics
Mattia Magatelli – contrabbasso
Kristijan Krajncan – batteria
Da qui è possibile accedere a del materiale video della band.

JazzWise Online Magazine, May 2011
“Yet perhaps unintentionally the festival’s wild cards from Slovenia (though ironically based in relatively close proximity in Amsterdam) pianist Kaja Draksler took things to a completely different level with her stunning Acropolis Quintet. Rather than mining a straightforward mix of Balkan folk melodies, theirs was a wide-ranging sound world seamlessly splicing together Eastern modalities, deft Chick Corea-esque compositions, crunching Downtown-ish guitars and subtle electronica over urgent bass and drum figures to create a perfectly balanced hybrid sound. This was contemporary music making of the highest order, with the stunning vocals of Sanem Kalfa finessing their already intoxicating brew with a beguiling approach that found common ground between plaintive folk and excitable jazz harmonies. The band reached their rhythmic peak on guitarist George Dumitriu’s locomotive inspired tune ‘Pacific’ with its interlocking grooves delivered with feverish intensity.
It was going to take something very special indeed to surpass let alone equal this show of strength, yet 12 Points! is all about camaraderie not competition, and with the audience palpably buzzing, they were ready for even more sonic exotica.”
by Mike Flynn

Irish Times
“Once again, it’s the middle act that takes the most risks on the 12 Points paper, but are also in danger of delivering the most explosive set. Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler leads a truly international cast of characters and influences in her Acropolis quintet, with musicians from Romania, Italy and Turkey bringing their own sounds to bear on the music.
There is no way this music should work; Draksler brings austerity, subtlety and poignancy with her fluid piano playing, and rings through in bright, rich textures. Drummer Kristijan Krajncan lays down muscular beats that are supple and intense; guitarist George Dumitriu introduces bursts of electronic colour that contrast with the excellent organic, brooding basslines of Mattia Magatelli, and Turkish singer Sanem Kalfa threatens to steal a show with her melancholic, dramatic vocal that haunts the instrumentation and holds the whole proposal together.
If it sounds complicated, it is – but this is a carefully considered, well marshalled intricacy. It would be all to easy for this band to stumble over each othe’s lines and introduce too many elements to the palette, but the control and restraint they show around the central themes makes for an epic, elegant set that demands to be listened to, and there is a joy on stage and in the music making that make it a privilege to be in the room with. The songs are built up into a tower of sound that references all the glittering influences at play before collapsing down with exquisite musical drama. Perhaps the best set of the week then, and a band that are ready to establish themselves on bigger stages than this.
So how do you follow that, and put a coda on what has been one of the most inventive, creative and expressive festivals in Ireland in quite some time? Simple – strip it back to a Finnish trio, let them plant some pop seeds that germinate into jazzy green shoots and fill a room with bursts of sound and colour.”
by Laurence Mackin