Strong melodies, virtuoso musicians and poetic lyrics are the key elements of 8 Octopi.
The band led by Swiss flute player Ben Zahler features the rare combination of a vocalist with a jazz flute and a drum-less rhythm section. Vocalist Isabelle Ritter is one of the most remarkable voices of the current Swiss jazz scene while the new rhythm section with Iannis Obiols and Ilya Alabuzhev guarantees superbly musical interplay.
In 2023, the band releases its second album Errors in Disguise on BERTHOLD records. Musically, the band adds live electronics to its live shows to further develop the band sound and add to the energy on stage.
2018, the band (name back at the time: Ben Zahler’s Songgoing) published its first album Quietly Cold on TCB Music (The Montreux Jazz Label) and received high praise from both the audience and critics.
Swiss journalist Steff Rohrbach writes about the album:
“ Quietly cold – the title of this album may be somewhat misleading, as the music is neither as quiet nor as cold as it suggests. The music has depth and not a little humor: contemplative, altogether beautifully rounded, intelligent and entirely honest songs, with magnificent dialogues and a convincing interplay.“
„They still exist, these songs that seem to embrace you with their pure beauty.“
The Best Songs 2018: Tagesanzeiger / Der Bund
„the first flute notes convinced me of the project“
Jodok Hess, Swiss Radio SRF 2
„Isabelle Ritter’s voice is superb!“
The songs are deeply rooted in the history of jazz songs and yet try to go that one step further by extending song forms, mixing improvised with arranged parts and by extending the harmonies used in standards.
Charles Mingus allegedly said once «Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.» This is exactly what Ben Zahler tries to achieve with his music: Rather than creating abstract, complex soundscapes, the band focuses on strong melodies, daring harmonic structures which after all still are songs that simply sound good.