Wasted & Wanted (ACT)

Michael Wollny’s [em]

Released February 24, 2012

The Guardian 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2012





“Whatever you do, question everything around you and don’t simply follow authorities.” While this attitude might be associated by some with punk music, it was also adopted by jazz visionaries like Miles Davis and Albert Mangelsdorff. Reinventing yourself, discovering something new, making a clean sweep, being a bit of a rebel and always being driven by creativity – this outlook also applies to Michael Wollny, Eva Kruse and Eric Schaefer.

Michael Wollny once said that they wanted to have some punk in their jazz. Breaking boundaries is the philosophy of the trio and certainly holds true on “Wasted & Wanted“. European jazz tradition, indie rock, Western and contemporary art music, sound experiments and some punk attitude – this all merges effortlessly and uniquely together and makes the trio one-of-a-kind. The potential of the band was discovered early on and they took the jazz world by storm. They have been highly acclaimed ever since their debut album “Call It [em]“ was released in 2005, and the German newspaper DIE ZEIT even called them “the world’s most exciting piano trio”. Their album “[em] live at Jazzbaltica“ from 2010 was hailed as “the finest jazz album of the last quarter of a century” by the well-known English critic Stuart Nicholson and it received the Echo Jazz award for “Best Ensemble National”.

On “Wasted & Wanted“, the listener won’t hear be greeted by overtly intellectual and ostentatiously academic jazz, but rather extremely energetic music with some nearly telepathic interaction between its creators. Such energy levels are seldom reached in jazz. The pianist Michael Wollny, who is stylistically absolutely unique, proves once again why (according to the Hamburger Abendblatt), he is “the strongest personality in the German (jazz) music business since Mangelsdorff”. Eva Kruse’s pulsating bass is the driving force of the trio, while drummer Eric Schaefer is full of rock energy with his insistent, versatile and richly coloured sound. “Wasted & Wanted“ exudes fresh, unconventional, continuously surprising and exciting music that is full of creativity, power and virtuosity.

Four pieces on the album were not written by Wollny, Kruse or Schaefer, but nevertheless they seem like tailor-made for the trio: their interpretation of the funeral march from the Symphony no 5. by the musical innovator Gustav Mahler is a dusky and almost claustrophobic ballad. They also construct their very own version of Heinrich Heines’s poem “Ihr Bild”, that was set to music by the German classical composer Franz Schubert in 1828. Wollny’s interpretation of Luciano Berio’s “Wasserklavier” is a dreamy interlude, while “Das Modell” by the German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk begins mysteriously and rises into a bubbling climax.

Wollny, Kruse and Schaefer take us along on a high intensity musical adventure, full of enthusiasm. It is an adventure that changes its colours like a chameleon: it’s about tracing new sounds and experiencing different emotions. Energetic and ecstatic, mysterious and contemplative, melancholy and overwhelming, performed with heart and brain, powerful and wild – the album is all of this and more.

Track Listing:

1. Wasted & Wanted (Michael Wollny) 03:35

2. Symphony No. V, Mov 1: Trauermarsch (Gustav Mahler) 03:36

3. Metall (Eva Kruse) 03:51

4. Blank (Eric Schaefer) 05:31

5. Bulintang (Eric Schaefer) 03:21

6. Cembalo Manifeszt (Eric Schaefer) 03:13

7. Wasserklavier (Luciano Berio) 02:40

8. Ihr Bild (Franz Schubert) 04:51

9. Nr. 10 (Eva Kruse) 03:29

10. Das Modell 04:09

11. Dario (Michael Wollny) 03:47

12. Whiteout (Michael Wollny) 05:12

13. Wasted & Wanted [Live at JazzFest Berlin 2011] (Michael Wollny) 03:36

14. Blank [Live at JazzFest Berlin 2011] (Eric Schaefer) 06:23

15. Metall [Live at JazzFest Berlin 2011] (Eva Kruse) 04:45

16. The Fearless Vampire Killers [Live at JazzFest Berlin 2011] 08:07


Michael Wollny: piano, spinett
Eva Kruse: bass, glockenspiel
Eric Schaefer: drums, kulintang, melodica

Recorded August 2011 at FWL Studios Leipzig and November 2011 at Hansa
Studios Berlin by Guy Sternberg.
Produced by Guy Sternberg
Executive Producer: Siggi Loch
Cover art: Love is the Drug (Detail), 2011 by Daniel Richter / ACT Art Collection


Young German pianist Michael Wollny brings this spirited trio to Ronnie Scott’s next week, for the second night of Jazzwise magazine’s festival – and to judge by the four-track live bonus CD that accompanies this adventurous new studio session, the band’s hard-rocking energies and sophisticated improv and composing skills fuse with intensifying heat. The opening title track occupies that chord-punching territory occasionally linking the band with the Bad Plus and Neil Cowley’s group, but however groove-powered Wollny can be, his music always buzzes with variety: Mahler, Berio and Schubert share the tracklist with the group’s originals on this eventful set. Bassist Eva Kruse’s intricate Metali entwines a long snaking melody repeated at extremes of the register, while Blank has a pounding-heart dancefloor drum sound under a ringing chord-melody. Wollny’s jangling harpsichord-like spinet is pitched against hip-hop drums, and stabbed, improv-like pieces share space with tranquil drifters of plucked piano strings and long bowed tones. It’s a very imaginative chemistry of patience and eclectically contemporary edginess.

John Fordham (The Guardian)