Now out: Benedikt Jahnel TRIO 'The Invariant' (ECM 2523)

The trio with Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel and Canadian drummer Owen Howard has been an “invariant” in the life of Berlin-based pianist Benedikt Jahnel, “a constant in a transformational period” as he puts it, and new album The Invariant is issued as the players reach their tenth anniversary as a working unit.

“I like very much interacting with the same group and digging deeper each time into the musical conversation,” Jahnel says. “You have this energetic input and this intense time working together, and then I believe the music develops even when we’re apart. When we come back together I can hear the progression that has taken place in the pieces.” If natural evolution contributes to the music’s growth so do interventions by the pianist-composer, for whom constant revision is part of the creative process: “The version of any given piece that a listener hears on the new album might be the fifth or tenth version. We take the music on the road and then I’ll adjust it, maybe quite dramatically. Even in the studio I will often still adapt pieces, and of course in that process I’m constantly integrating ideas generated from the bass and the drums.” Jahnel is a prolific writer and The Invariant pools the best of the many pieces he has composed in the last five years, incorporating the dynamic responses of his trio partners into the fabric of the material. For the most part this is music carefully shaped for these players; this is its strength and the source of its detail.

The Invariant was recorded in Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in April 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher. Its opening track, “Further Consequences”, picks up where the trio’s critically-lauded album Equilibrium left off, extending ideas about pianistic patterning and textural playing. Like many of Jahnel’s tunes an odd-metred piece, it also contains elements of swing, as the pianist reacts to the implications of Owen Howard’s drumming. “For me this is a departure. I’m more of a straight eighths player. Owen is more strongly rooted in the whole tradition of jazz and the way he approached the tune pulled me, in the solo section, toward the world of swing phrasing...”

The friendship between Benedikt and drummer Owen Howard reaches back many years. By that time Howard was working as a guest professor at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin and Benedikt was his student. Owens unique sound and his magical approach to time is a revelation to every musician that has the honor to play with him and also to every listener.

Antonio Miguel from Spain has succeeded in creating a great reputation as an accompanist and as a soloist in New York although he lived there for only three years. His sound shows the perfect balance between a lyrical touch and a hard grooving senteniousness. His relation to Benedikt grew through many jamsession with mutual friends especially during his brief attendance of the CityCollege New York.

Soon: Order online:

Download information at: Benedikt Jahnel Trio Info

Download pictures and info at: Downloads

Listen to music sample at: Music

Watch a video epk at: Video

Benedikt Jahnel TRIO: 'The Invariant' CD + Songbook

"Flowing patterns" (C.Bauer, Piano News, 03/16)

Order online CD and Songbook:

Listen to some music at: Music

Find score music at: Noten

Watch a video epk at: Video

Benedikt Jahnel TRIO: 'Equilibrium' CD + Songbook

"An extraordinary trio"
(Aba, Mannheimer Morgen 10/12)

Order online CD and Songbook:

Listen to some music at: Music

Find score music at: Scores

Selection of pressclips for 'Equilibrium':

A major success” - Ssirus Pakzad, Jazzthing (Sep 08)

A fine debute. Brilliant.“ - Christoph Irrgeher, Wiener Zeitung (Nov 08)

A simply magnificent album!” - Andreas Matena, MusikAnSich (Oct 08)

"Music full of raffinesse. Unsentimental, smart, extremly clear structured, with great overview - he is a amazing sensetive impressionist.“ Katja Seebald, Starnberger Merkur (Oct 08)

"Improvisation, Rhythm and lyrical parts, that show a welltrained handwriting and tasteful style.“ - Jürgen Jurgeit, Jazzpodium (Sep 08)

"Music full of energetic athmosphere, wonderfully fresh and without any clishé.“ Christoph Griese, Bauer Presse (Aug 08)

In seemingly total independence these three musicians produce an extremely complex texture of harmony and rhythm. They seem to play against each other, they hardly ever meet expectations concerning recognizable forms and still manage to create the miracle of a consistent sound.” Jens Raschke, Kieler Nachrichten (Okt 08)

... not daunting and complicated, but melodic and delicately structured... with room for a little bit of magic...” Süddeutsche Zeitung

"On this recording one gets the unusual chance to listen to some highly non-trivial but elegant music. The TRIO succeeds in finding the perfect balance between being accessible and intellectually stimulating at the same time. Benedikt Jahnels piano trio jazz features three essential properties: Clarity, definiteness and unsentimental beauty. Marvelous ensemble playing." Roland Spiegel, BR (Oct 08)

Jahnel, drummer Owen Howard and bass-player Antonio Miguel present the art of trio they are three emancipated musicians. They manage to alternate their parts in extraordinarily elegant ways - from being an accompanist to becoming a soloist and back again. Moreover there are fascinating interplays, where all three musicians seem to play solo parts at the same time. At least the boundaries between leading and supporting seem to be blurred. Blurred are also the boundaries between classical inspirational structures and very, very clever grooves. What stays in mind: This album speaks to the heart with its very calm atmosphere. But the wit is satisfied with very elaborate compositions.” Juergen Overkott, Der Westen (Aug 08)

Benedikt Jahnel puts himself well out of the comfort zone. The title of his debut as a TRIO player takes the risk of being received as a bloodless and sophisticated - an unfounded assumption." Tobias Richtsteig, Jazzthetik (Nov 08)

More at: Press

Benedikt Jahnel TRIO: 'Modular Concepts' CD + Songbook

"Benedikt Jahnel’s ‘Modular Concepts’ shines with crystal clarity and pure unsentimental emotion, from the first tone the music presents itself I such a natural way that one never questions but simply enjoys and follows along with it. Jahnel is a virtuoso whose harmonies and rhythmically ingenious play radiate both intensity and transparency. First and foremost he mediates, (via this first trio recording) as a musical architect with a sharp focus on proportions. The modular building of his compositions gives the album an overall color and unifies the content. It deals with long movements, carefully defined by the composer that develop from their basic components, which then combine ... and recombine." (Wolfgang Muthspiel - Material Records) July 2008

The compositions reflect his impressions of the city of New York where he líved and worked for two years (2005-2007). The record presents long through-composed movements, that explore, develope and combine certain musical moduls. These moduls provide the core ideas for the songs and improvised sections.

"A major success" (S. Pakzad, Jazzthing 10/08)

Order CD and Songbook at:

Listen to music at: Music

Videos: Siachen - Recent News - Gently Understood

Find score music at: Scores


Benedikt Jahnel

What a speed, what a pressure, what an energy.” (SZ 01/06)

Benedikts musical training started in southern Germany, in Munich with classical piano lessons. Followed by six in the Bavarian and German youth Big Band as wellas studies at the University of Art in Berlin with David Friedman and Hubert Nuss, and at City College New York with John Patitucci, Kenny Werner, Jean-Michel Pilc ..

Details at Biographie

Antonio Miguel

Antonio “Toño” Miguel, bassist and composer, began playing electric bass at the age of 16 when his father taught him his first music lessons in Zaragoza, his home town in the north of Spain. Three years later he started studying the acoustic bass, attending the Professional Conservatory of Music in his town, where he studied classical music. Meanwhile, his musical interests were focusing on jazz music as well by listening to Jaco Pastorius, Chick Corea and Duke Ellington recordings among others.

In 1999, helped by a scholaship from his home town city council, he moved to Madrid to continue his classical and jazz studies. He attended Amaniel Professional Conservatory and Escuela de Musica Creativa, where he finished his diploma in jazz music four years later, studying harmony, arranging, composition and piano among others. He was awarded four scholarships.

In the summer of 2004 he was awarded the Tete Montoliu Scholarship given by the AIE (performers and musicians association in Madrid) and the Joel Scholarship given by The City College of New York, which allowed him to move to the "big apple". He had the oppoturnity to play in master classes and jam sessions with Dave Liebman, Fred Hersch or John Abercrombie. He also attended master classes by Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Fred Hersch, Richard Bona, Allan Holdsworth, and studied with John Patitucci and Sean Smith.

Along his career, Antonio has played with musicians like Paquito D’Rivera, Jerry González, Claudio Roditi, Ben Sidran, Rosario Giuliani, Rick Margitza, Jorge Pardo, Perico Sambeat, Ximo Tébar and Pedro Iturralde in the jazz scene. He has also worked with flamenco musicians like José Luis Montón, Josemi Carmona, Rocio Marquez and El Negri, and artists like Buika, Paloma Berganza, Carmen Paris, Miguel Rios and Ara Malikian.

His recent works include studio and live recordings for Pepe Rivero, Chema Sáiz Vocal Project, Eva Cortés, Benedikt Jahnel Trio, Moisés P. Sánchez Trio, as well as TV productions, movie soundtracks and commercials.

Owen Howard

Brooklyn based Jazz Drummer/Composer, and recent Juno nominee, Owen Howard has been on the cutting edge of the New York jazz scene for the past twenty years.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Canada his passion for the drums began at the age of 15. As a young up and coming drummer in Edmonton, Owen had ample opportunities perform and hone his skills as a sideman with many fine Canadian and International artists passing through town. In 1988 he made the move to New York, to complete his BFA at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

“These performances are thoughtfully conceived and rendered with maturity”‚ has been written of Owen‚ as his role as a bandleader and a composer. Owen currently has five cds to his credit, ”Sojourn”, “Pentagon” (both on Koch), ”Days Before and After” (co-lead with Andrew Rathbun) and ”Time Cycles” (both on Fresh Sound). His most recent CD ”Drum Lore” (BJUR Records) received a 2011 JUNO award nomination for Jazz Album of the Year and has garnered much high praise from fans and critics around the globe!

With his personal approach to the drums, Owen is much in demand as a sideman as well. He has shared stage and studio with greats such as Joe Lovano, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman, Kenny Werner, George Garzone, Dave Holland, Sheila Jordan and Tom Harrell, to name only a few. Being a vital part of a community of creative improvisers, Owen continues to collaborate with contemporaries such as John O’Gallagher, Andrew Rathbun, Frank Carlberg, Adam Kolker, Benedikt Jahnel, John Hebert, Ben Monder, Chris Potter, Andy Middleton, and many, many others. Owen has over 40 appearances on recordings as a sideman and continues to tour the world over, both as a leader and a freelance artist in a wide range of musical contexts.

As an educator, Owen has conducted workshops and clinics throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. He has been on faculty at The Banff Centre Of The Arts, The Maine Jazz Camp and has held guest professorships at St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia) and The University of Fine Arts, in Berlin.