Benny Troschel – FOLKSMUSIK

Benny Troschel’s debut album FOLKSMUSIK is released by BERTHOLD records 19.04.2024.


The line-up:

New York Quintet:

Benny Troschel – trumpet, flugelhorn

Niall Cade – tenor saxophone

Matt Wong – piano

Perrin Grace –bass

Peter Lazorcik – drums



Cologne Septet:

Benny Troschel – trumpet

Julia Brüssel – violin

Konstantin Reinfeld – harmonica

Janning Trumann – trombone

Jonathan Hofmeister – piano

Oliver Lutz –bass

Leif Berger – drums

The album features two young, yet masterful bands, Troschel’s German septet and his American quintet. “The album is a tribute to our transatlantic friendship, about the dance of opposites and dualism coming together,” says the trumpeter and composer. Troschel decided that the American band should play the German music and the German band the American songs, “in order musically to showcase the mutual respect, love and connectedness of both nations. For the New York Quintet, I arranged the music in a traditional Tin Pan Alley fashion. You get to hear old Schlager (hit songs) in one of the most iconic jazz styles. The Cologne Septet by contrast uses hip-hop and a variety of modern jazz forms.” The combination of old and new, fusing different genres, creates a unified whole featuring superb musicianship, including Troschel’s own highly regarded trumpet sound.


Brought up in Germany Troschel began playing as a six-year-old. “I’ve always admired the trumpet since to me it was a very powerful, golden and elegant instrument,” he recalls. His teenage playing was highly thought of and his early acclaim and success led to a bachelor degree at Manhattan School of Music in New York. “I fell in love with the US and still feel very much at home both in America and in Germany,” he says.


“I interpret music from the people, folk music and Volksmusik – through jazz,” says the composer, “with each band paying tribute to the other nation and iconic songs such as Oh Susanna and Hoch auf dem Gelben Wagen (High on the yellow wagon) coming together.” Troschel sees the American-German dynamic as intense and constantly evolving. “In its founding years a lot of Germans emigrated to the US, bringing beer-brewing culture, pretzels and German city names. In the last century, two major wars shocked the world and the American-German relationship. But Lilli Marleen, originally a German song, was sung by soldiers on both sides. In a complex way it shows the interconnections.” Trizonesien is an adaptation of the post-war German carnival melody. Written originally by Karl Berbuer, it became a frivolous substitute national anthem for West Germany, then occupied in three zones by France, United States and United Kingdom. Veronika, der Lenz ist da was a popular 1920s song whose best-known version was sung in the 1930s by the Comedian Harmonists, some of whose members were Jewish. “They were a very jazzy vocal group and I chose this song because of its widespread acclaim and playful melody.”

Ezekiel saw the wheel is a reworking of the African-American spiritual. “I’ve tried to showcase the people’s music as plural and to pay tribute to African American culture as a part of American music.” In Chester, the early American revolutionary song, Troschel portrays, “…the young nation, fighting for independence, paving a road to a free world. In the folk ballad Jessie James I tackle the Wild West gangster theme, widely associated with early American culture.”


Creating the album was a logistical tour-de-force. The quintet recorded their pieces in the Rudy Van Gelder studio in New Jersey. “All the great jazz stars recorded there, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins. If there is any sacred jazz studio in history, this is it, and we all felt very lifted by the jazz spirit,” says Troschel. “We had a mere four hour session just like then and had to be highly effective.” For the septet recording in Cologne, Troschel, “created more contemporary arrangements, writing for four very unorthodox melody instruments perhaps never before recorded in this combination, plus rhythm section. Still, we only had one day in the studio to record and get everything right.”


FOLKSMUSIK has already received great reviews from leading jazz musicians.

Dick Oatts (saxophonist): “This debut recording clearly defines Benny Troschel’s talents on so many levels… each presentation is so refreshing. His ability in finding the right musicians to bring out his vision is superbly thought out. Benny’s sound on the trumpet is beautifully dark and rich in density…”

Tony Kadleck (trumpeter): “Benny’s trumpet sound has hints of Miles Davis in it, but his ideas are clearly his own. His fantastic ability on the trumpet including a strong range, musically complement his dense reharmonizations of these classic folk songs which are ear-bendingly beautiful.”

Marcus Printup (trumpeter): “These arrangements are amazing. Congrats…”


Ian Bild – February 2024

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