A swirling maelstrom that disappears into an extinct underground giant volcano. It is an eternal interplay between plunging into the infinite depths of the sea and the thrill of enjoying the danger at the edge of the vortex. In any case, there is no such thing as safety. Fish and other sea creatures instinctively avoid the vicinity of the whirlpool, while people repeatedly fall victim to their untamable curiosity and dare to get too close.
Axel Zajac began playing the electric guitar autodidactically for 2 years at the age of 15, until his horizon of interest expanded to include jazz music, among other things, and thus required more socio-musical and educational exchange.
In 2010 he started studying jazz guitar at the University of Osnabrück, where many projects as well as workshops and courses with internationally renowned and successful musicians such as Vijay Iyer, Prasana, Chrisitan McBride, Carl Verheyen, Guthrie Govan, Lionel Loueke, Scott Henderson, Lee Konitz and many more.
Over time, his knowledge and passion for the diversity of improvised music grew and he made contacts and connections with musicians who think and feel similarly. In 2015, he won the European Burghauser Nachwuchs-Jazzpreis with the band Malstrom.
In the same year, he finished his Bachelor’s degree and began the Master of Music course in Bremen, where he still lives today.
In 2017, Malstrom took first place in the International Getxo Jazzcompetition and has now also played festivals throughout Europe.
Axel has played with musicians such as Greg Osby, Nasheet Waits, Israel Varela (drums with Pat Metheny & Mike Stern), Niels Klein, Christian Thomé, Samy Deluxe and Florian Weber, with whom Malstrom also released an album in 2017.
In 2021 he won the prize for best instrumentalist at the T’remplin Avignon Jazz 2021.
Jo Beyer (*1991) is a German drummer and composer living in Cologne. Through his independent and energetic way of playing the drums, composing and collaborating with a wide variety of musicians, he has already been able to inspire people all over the world with his music. As a child, he received his first piano lessons, then switched to drums, which he studied at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus (Denmark).
The focus of his musical work is his own quartet JO as well as the trio Malstrom, which has released four albums so far (with pianist Florian Weber, among others) and has already played extensive tours all over the world. His band JO, which has been around since 2015 and for which he writes the music, recently released its second album Party and combines all the musical parameters that are necessary for Beyer’s way of playing the drums and expressing himself musically.
Besides a very communicative / improvisational interpretation of the pieces and uncompromising fun, which is reflected in the intricate and at the same time catchy compositions, Beyer works with the possibilities of softly played and nevertheless highly energetic music as well as creative and experimental sounds on the drums. His open and innovative playing combined with his very own way of expression has already earned him various international young jazz prizes.
In addition to extensive tours and workshops all over the world (also in cooperation with the Goethe Institut) in over 15 countries, Jo Beyer is regularly part of radio and television broadcasts. In addition to his work as a bandleader, he plays in various bands and projects as a sideman and can be heard on over a dozen CD releases. Jo Beyer has played at the following international festivals, among others: Int. Jazzwoche Burghausen, Elbjazz, Jazzfest Bonn, Oslo Jazzfestival, OCT Jazz Festival (China), B-Jazz Festival (Belgium), Krokus Jazzfestival (Poland), World Youth Jazz Festival Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Getxo Jazzfestival (Spain), Tremplin d’Jazz Avignon (France).
Various jazz magazines write enthusiastically about his latest CD release Party:
“It is jazz in the good old sense on the one hand but it is also music in the here and now. Good composition,
great interpretation, wonderful music.“ – Jazzviews, England
“Each performer [of Jo Beyer’s band] seems to have the ability to understand one another and thus their
approach to jazz. Jo Beyer is certainly a name to watch out for in the near future!“ – Jazz in Europe, France
Florian Walter has been active as a saxophonist/clarinetist and in the field of contemporary composition since 2006. He studied school music, jazz saxophone, composition and history in Essen and plays in numerous ensembles ranging from experimental pop to new music and free improvisation to theatre music.
As an instrumentalist as well as a composer, Florian Walter seeks new ways of constructing sound and bringing it into a situational context without resorting to established mechanisms. In addition, the search for new forms of concert situations is an important moment in his work. For example, together with the ensemble Die Verwechslung, he has organised the concert series Trinkhallen Tour Ruhr International since 2010, is co-operator of the music label Umland Records, curator of the series Kabinet Adapter and Büro für akustische Innenraumpflege, co-curator of Soundtrips NRW and founding member of the Netzwerk Klangbasierte Künste NRW, artistic director of the nano#festival, member of the Ensemble Theaterspiel and chairman of the board of the Jazz-Offensive- Essen e.V.. In 2019 he was awarded the Westfalen Jazz Prize, and in 2020 the WDR Jazz Prize for The Dorf & Umland.