The more I check “the end of the year lists”, the more I’m convinced that Jazz is really starting to carve out a healthy amount of space for itself in the mainstream! Kamasi Washington is, of course still doing his thing, and it’s fair to say that he is now – like it or not – the de facto leader of the new Jazz vanguard, especial after releasing his sophomore opus Heaven And Earth. Which BTW your mom might even own by now – go ask her. Makaya McCraven, who’s been around for a while, and has been adding a bit of that hip hop spice to that Chicago improv sound, is everywhere with his latest offering called Universal Beings. And so is Oakland native Ambrose Akinmusire with his ambitious string laced Origami Harvest. And so is Ben LaMar Gay with his stark mixture of string arrangements and spoken word – the record is called 500 Chains. And if Saul Williams is doing shows and recording with David Murray and the Infinity Quartet, then you know what’s up!
Kaos Protokoll might not be as ubiquitous a name as those that I just mentioned above, but their latest release entitled Everyone Nowhere also deserves a nice little patch of that warm limelight. What this Swiss outfit brings to the table is much softer than any of their American compatriots, but equally noteworthy. I would be tempted to describe their music as a concoction of classical Spiritual Jazz, with textural Ambient Electronica, something of a Neoclassical aesthetic (because of its lyricism) and a sharp Prog-like technicality (much more subtle now than on any of their previous releases). And their drummer, Flo Reichle, is also one half of The Beautiful Now whose Moes EP done smacked us upside the head just a month back or so when it dropped. Anyway, what these fellas do is kinda uncommon!
Kaos Protokoll are Benedikt Wieland (band leader / bass), Flo Reichle (drums), Simon Spiess (sax) and Luzius Schuler (keys and electronics). Press play on their latest video to song Story Line and see what they’re all about. This joint is the perfect introduction to their world. Before singing off: since when did Jazz outfits start making music videos? That’s also a thing now, right? And this one right here is kinda slick too!