baloni, with Belgian reed-player Joachim Badenhorst (clarinet, tenor saxophone), French-Japanese violist Frantz Loriot (viola) and French-German bassist Pascal Niggenkemper was formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2008, establishing a triple-entente based on the listening to the other, the exploration of the unknown and the vertigo of the moment. Whether they tread through steep and jagged terrain or along curvy paths strewn with melodies both fleeting and tenacious, it is impossible to distinguish the improvised from the written. But what matter which bottle, as long the poetic journey leads to drunkenness in the end.


Since the very beginning of their story, baloni could always count on the support of the Portuguese label Clean Feed. They have released Fremdenzimmer in November 2011, Belleke in July 2014 and the LP Ripples in March 2015.




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Festivals and venues presence includes:

Bimhuis (Amsterdam, NL), Offene Ohren (Munich, D), Club W71 (Weikerscheim, D), Brand! Festival (Mechelen, B), Downtown Music Gallery (New York, USA), Jazz im Goethe-Garten Festival (Lisbon, P), Le Petit Faucheux (Tours, F), Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre (Paris, F), Theater am Gleis (Winterthur, CH), D'Jazz Nevers Festival (Nevers, F),  Grenzenlos Festival (Cologne, D), Meteo - Mulhouse Music festival (Mulhouse, F), Banlieues Bleues Festival (Pantin, F), Exploratorium (Berlin, D), Aufsturz (Berlin, D), Abbaye de Neumünster (Luxemburg, LX), Rataplan (Antwerp, B), Maison H.Heine (Paris, F), WIM (Zürich, CH), Ham Sessions Festival (Ghent, B),  LVR Landesmuseum (Bonn, D), Jazzolder (Mechelen, B), Jazzatelier (Ulrichsberg, AT),  J.Pelzer Jazz Club (Liège, B), Clean Feed Festivals (Berlin & Cologne, D), DSMC (New York, USA), Cafe Orwell (New York, USA), New Adits Festival (Klagenfurt, AT), Ort (Wuppertal, D), etc.








Reviews




About Live performences


Selected best concert of the year 2012 by David Cristol for Jazz Magasine/Jazzman!!!


Philippe Renaud, Improjazz magazine n° 199 - October 2013

"Baloni, Improjazz vous en a déjà parlé, avec l'interview réalisée par David Cristol. Le trio se retrouvait sur la scène de la Chapelle Saint-Jean, soit dans un cadre parfait pour cette musique "de chambre" improvisée. Le set fut parfait d'un bout à l'autre. (…) L'ensemble est parfaitement cohérent, incisif, et l'on sent que sous un aspect sérieux et concentré, ces trois-là s'amusent et sont heureux de joue LEUR musique. Et, par ailleurs, ils apparaissent séparément dans d'autres contextes européens, (…) signes que l'intégration de la jeune génération est en plein mouvement."


Philippe Méziat, Jazz Magazine / Jazzman, November 2013

(…) on commence par un trio franco-germano-belge de musique à la fois écrite et improvisée, présenté par l'altiste Frantz Loriot (…). Alternances de vibrations et fusées éclatées en tous sens et de passages écrits dans la meilleur veine "de chambre" contemporaine, et au total une heure pleine de rebondissements et de suspens propres à retenir l'attention. Un très beau CD publié chez Clean Feed sous le titre "Fremdenzimmer". (Choc Jazz Magazine/Jazzman)










About Fremdenzimmer (Clean Feed, CF237CD, 2011)


Jazzques, October 20th, 2012

(…) Ce jazz très libre, fait appel à tous les sens et Baloni ne nous laisse jamais tranquille, il nous oblige à rester en éveil, à rester attentif. (…) Il ne faut rien manquer.  Le trio démontre ainsi qu’il est possible de rendre toujours accessible une musique «dite difficile» dans laquelle l’improvisation n’apparaît pas toujours aussi abstraite qu’on l’imagine… Il suffit simplement de bien vouloir l’entendre. Si le voyage avec Fremdenzimmer n’est pas de tout repos, il est cependant FA-SCI-NANT d’un bout à l’autre.


Daniele Chicca, October 1st, 2012

(…) Il viaggiatore siamo noi. Alle prese con una tempesta. Una lotta verso l’accettazione in un mondo estraneo. Alla ricerca non di una verità che ci accomuni, ma di una verità tutta nostra.

Viaggi così intensi come questi si vorrebbe durassero di più, perché ci possano aiutare anche a rivelarci chi siamo. Come tutte le esperienze inaspettate, che ne scatenano un milione di altre. Ogni nuovo ascolto non sarà mai uguale, non vi comunicherà le stesse cose. Rassegnatevi, è tutto frutto della vostra immaginazione (ma andate a vederli in tour). Con una sola certezza: il significato di questo CD è da cercare dentro di noi. E’ dato dai collegamenti che facciamo nella nostra testa, dalle sensazioni che restano.


David Cristol, ImproJazz magazine, June 2012

(…) Mais cette musique ne pourrait exister et convaincre sans un sens aigu - et responsable - de la respiration, de la suspension et de l'organisation. Toutes choses subtilement et intelligemment abordées et perfectionnées ici. Beau disque.


Jeroen Revalk, Cobra.be, May 2012

(…) Het slingert de luisteraar heen en weer tussen verwarring en bewondering. Maar wie de moeite neemt om echt te luisteren, wordt beloond met drie kwartier verrassende klanken en muzikale delicatessen.


Steff Gjissels, Free Jazz Collective, February 29th, 2012

(…) The journey goes deep into the realm of lyricism and sonic beauty, a journey of strange harmonic encounters, timbral greetings, shared distances, differences of perspectives adding to the overall texture. As with these encounters, possibly hiking, on foot, the pace is slow, vulnerability a prerequisite for openness, openness the prerequisite for suprise, suprise the prerequisite for new ideas and the aha-erlebnis of new possibilities. (…) Just beautiful. So real! (****1/2)


Stephan Moore, JazzWrap, February 22nd, 2012

(…) At a time when music needs to move forward, Baloni is one of those rare groups that can show us the way. Fremdenzimmer is an album of unexpected exchanges, harmonies and patterns that fans of challenging and introspective sounds must give a priority listen.


Franck Bergerot, Jazz Magazine / Jazzman, January 30th 2012

CHOC - (…) La cohérence du propos et la constance de sa teneur finissent pas vous faire douter. Cette musique a l'élan de l'improvisée et la densité de l'écrit. (…) Ils ne se refusent aucun type d'événements (…), nous embarquant avec une palette de timbres qui fait oublier qu'ils ne sont que trois, avec une diversité de propos et une précision de geste qui les tiennent à l'écart des systèmes et des approximations dont ont pu souffrir le free et sa descendance. Jazz ou musique de chambre? (…) ils ne ressemblent qu'à eux-mêmes. Inouï!


Giuseppe Mavilla, Scrivere di Jazz, December 18th, 2011

(…) Si tratta di una produzione di grande valore: un misto di  originalità e  azzardo che premia la ferma volontà del trio di uscire da canoni espressivi già conosciuti. (…)Badenhorst, Loriot e Niggenkemper ricercano l’assoluto orizzonte di un'ideale commistione tra le varie essenze della musica contemporanea e riuscire a percepirne i contrasti, le affinità e le possibili sintesi per poi riproporle nella dimensione temporale e definita di una produzione discografica è sicuramente di grande merito. Stridulo, delicato, tempestoso ma straordinariamente unico e affascinante: questo è Fremdenzimmer.




















































About Belleke (Clean Feed, CF305CD, 2014)


Stefan Wood, Free Jazz Collective, September  2014

Baloni is an improv trio comprised of Joachim Badenhorst (bass clarinet, clarinet & tenor sax, worked with Han Bennink and Tony Malaby), Frantz Loriot (viola, played with David Ware), and Pascal Niggenkemper (double bass, played with Frank Gratowski).  Belleke is their second album on clean feed, their debut Fremdenzimmer garnering accolades for their unique brand of music, part chamber jazz, part surreal improvisations inhabiting classical trappings.

(…) Chamber industrial noise abstractions.  (…) a Schoenberg like classical piece, before the three build up the tension, (…) then fading into an almost minimal silence.

(…) all demonstrate the trio's ability to redefine the boundaries of how their instruments sound, in as of themselves and how they interact with each other.  The music never digresses nor is superfluous, the mostly sub eight minute works are succinct and clear.  (…)

Belleke is an excellent album of creative music making, defying convention and creating a unique sound that combines improvisations with classical sensibilities.  Recommended. (****).


Dave Sumner, Wondering Sound, July 2014

An odd sort of chamber jazz recording, where the expected elegance is eschewed for a gawky, captivating motion. (…) The range of expressionism has a breadth of uneasy serenity all the way to a crashing wave of dissonance, yet despite the varying degrees of silence and sound, the songs all sound part of a cohesive image. The shifting tides of “Feuertreppe” are both ferocious and stunningly beautiful.


Dave Sumner, Bird is a Worm July 2014

Belleke is an odd sort of chamber jazz recording, where the expected elegance is eschewed for a gawky, captivating motion.  With their sophomore release, Baloni, (…) hit on a range of expressionism that covers the breadth from an uneasy serenity all the way to a crashing wave of dissonance.  Yet, despite the varying degrees of silence and sound, the songs all sound part of a cohesive image.

(…) the music is framed in an unsettled peacefulness, vulnerable to the shifting tides (…) untamed songs of an unpredictable nature. And through it all, a motion with a strange and captivating flow.


Guy Peters, Cobra.be, September 2014

Universe with different rules .

(…) We were very looking forward to what the second (…) would yield. (…) 'Belleke' is a most remarkable universe in which different rules apply. (…) Despite carefully composed passages, the ten pieces are also guided by poetic and associative improvisation, which is the cozy mystery sometimes late for what it is and salvation in uncanny places. The result is confusing, wrenching and sometimes almost frighteningly intense moments where harmony and cinematic experience first be subjected to full derailments shattered whimper, obsessively scraping and maddening chatter. Music with a surprising doggedness at times, but never meanders gratuitous or directionless.

And yet it's also music that demonstrates a remarkable commitment and can be found in both extremes of the spectrum, but the most beautiful of all is explained in the title 'Snowflakes', a soft shuffling sound poem with the delicate simplicity of a Japanese wood engraving into each other.


Clifford Allen, New York City Jazz record, November 2014

(…) Baloni maintains a willful tension between comely melodies and contorted absurdism with enjoyably weird results.


Pirmin Bossart, Jazz'N'More, December 2014

"Empfehlung" Die Musik flimmert, schreit, strömt, kämpft: Souverän und mit instrumentalen Raffinessen navigiert dieses Trio durch neun Tracks, in denen Hörgewohnheiten herausgefordert, geschliffen, zerstört und durchsichtig gemacht werden. Obwohl in New York entstanden, ist diese Trio mit Badenhorst (Han Bennink, Tony Malaby), Loriot (Leandre, Phillips, David S. Ware) und Niggenkemper (Cleaver, Sorey, Nabatov) durch und durch europäisch-avantgardistisch geprägt. Aber der kammermusikalische Jazz von Baloni zieht sich nicht in die klassische Ecke zurück, sondern wird von einer improvisatorischen Lust und Wucht getrieben, die Grenzen auslotet, raue Sounds keltert und Dissonanzen konfrontiert. Handkehrum wird auch mal geräuschhaft in den Zonen der Reduktion und der Stille musiziert ("Snowflakes"). Trotz dem offenen Kontext mit ungewohnten Klängen operieren die drei Musiker mit formalen Eckpunkten und intelligenten Interaktionen, die den Tracks Konturen und Nachvollziehbarkeit geben. Das zeigen Stücke wie "Feuertreppe" oder "What grows beneath", in denen freies Spiel, klassische Tonalitäten, Reibungen und rhythmische Parameter nicht einfach wild koexistieren, sondern in faszinierenden Architekturen und in gebührender Intensität verdichtet werden. (*****)


By An.Ga., Jazz Colours, December 2014

In questo scorcio di millennio il trio è formazione ricorrente, rappresentativa di quanto di più ori- ginale e innovativo è accaduto, forse perché più agevole di altre da controllare e, a saperla im- piegare, foriera di grandi possibilità timbrico-di- namiche e pertanto espressive. Tra i migliori trii in attività includiamo Baloni: per l’energia sot- topelle e per la costante freschezza della propo- sta, non ultimo per la capacità di equilibrare le parti composte con quelle improvvisate in un fluire musicale timbricamente cangiante e dina- micamente misuratissimo. In questa seconda prova, confermano il loro superiore talento e la cifra autoriale. Calati in una sorta di perenne, in- stabile equilibrio tra camerismo eurocolto nove- centista e improvvisazione totale, quello che maggiormente sorprende ed emoziona del trio è la capacità di restituire una amplissima varietà di soluzioni timbrico-dinamiche, quella di tra- scolorare agilmente dal Giuffre più pastorale e sereno alla dissonanza più urticante. Nell’iniziale Belleke, quieto ma tutt’altro che sereno, le pro- porzioni armoniche e di ruolo tra le parti rendono omaggio alla tradizione europea, eppure alcune

tecniche e suoni non convenzionali sono spia di altro a venire. In Building Nothing out of Some- thing emerge la grande abilità nel costruire la narrazione musicale a partire dalla ricerca tim- brica, tecniche estese incluse. In quattro minuti scarsi il brano fluisce lentamente, esso è formato solamente da note acute, slabbrate o pigolanti, da gemiti d’animali feriti e sopra tutto domina una ambigua intercambiabilità timbrica a con- fondere gli strumenti. Il robusto, solidissimo e ro- tondo pizzicato di Niggenkemper, in una lunga cadenza solitaria densa di arpeggi ed accordi, apre Mon Seul Désir. Agli arpeggi si uniscono, molto dopo, violoncello e clarinetto, gementi e stralunati; più oltre, tutto si fa rarefatto e side- rale ai limiti dell’udibile fino alla chiusa. Il clari- netto basso di Badenhorst apre Turning inwards Like a Glove con un tema epico esposto in soli- tudine; qui il trio raggiunge livelli inusitati di mi- metismo sonoro e libertà timbrica: il violoncello pigolante di Loriot e il contrabbasso, diventato ora percussione, di Niggenkemper fanno da sfondo al canto popolare di Badenhorst. Tra le migliori incisioni dell’anno in corso.



About Ripples (Clean Feed, CF321LP, 2015)


Martin Schray, Free jazz collective, August 2015

When I saw Baloni at Munich’s Offene Ohren (German for “Open Ears”) jazz club in April this year I was surprised by the development the trio has made. (…) they have become extraordinary, especially due to the facts that they seem to know each other even better, that they listen to each other very closely so that they are obviously able to react, and that they have a desire to risk something with their music. The musicianship has always been excellent, their improvising is a natural flow and the various timbre explorations are really gripping(…)

From the start their albums were fascinating, Fremdenzimmer and Belleke were discussed very friendly on this blog, and Ripples is even raising the bar. In general their style is infused with Baroque and modern classical music as well as the sound of jazz pioneers like Jimmy Giuffre or Joëlle Léandre. Based on these influences they have created something unique. There are enormous contrasts in dynamics, emotions and sound, on the one hand the instruments literally seem to surpass each other in furiousness and on the other hand they present moments of incredible privacy (Badenhorst and Loriot at the end of “De Rimpelingen Des Levens” (The Ripples of Life)). The music swells and ebbs – actually the album rather sounds like “waves” instead of “ripples”.

(…) Ripples was recorded live at Exploratorium, Berlin on April 11th, 2013, it is a wonderful chamber jazz recording and another proof for the marvelous output Clean Feed has had this year. As many very good albums it becomes more interesting the more often you listen to it. (****1/2)


Marek Zając, Multikulti Project, June 2015

"Po dwóch - znakomitych - płytach wydanych w portugalskiej oficynie trio Baloni okrzepło i nie bardzo juz można pisać o nich, jako o młodym zespole będącym nadzieją i przyszłością europejskiego jazzu. Fakt, członkowie zespołu to wciąż stosunkowo młodzi muzycy, ale zespół wydający swoją trzecią płytę powinien mieć już ugruntowana pozycję tak wśród krytyków jak i publiczności. Najnowsza płyta sprawia zresztą, że nie ma takiej potrzeby - znakomity album broni się sam, a Joachim Badenhorst, Frantz Loriot oraz Pascal Niggenkemper, do rozpoznawalnego stylu wciąż wprowadzają nowe elementy, z roku na roku i z płyty na płyty ewoluując wraz ze swoją muzyką.

Podobnie jak na pierwszych dwóch albumach fascynuje ich penetrowanie granic między kompozycją a improwizacją, a sami muzycy z niezwykłą uwagą podchodzą do procesu twórczego starannie słuchając siebie nawzajem. I to wydaje mi się najistotniejsze i zupełnie wyjątkowe w ich podejściu do muzyki - istniejące szkice kompozycji, tematy, mają znaczenie, ale - w ścisłym sensie tego sformułowania - są tylko punktem wyjścia. Zdarza się im porzucić kompozycję tylko dlatego, że partner zaproponuje coś ciekawego, albo też - jak wspominał któryś z nich - w skutek pomyłki muzyka, co zrodziło zupełnie nowe, nieoczekiwane napięcie wewnątrz zaprojektowanej części utworu. W tym sensie granica między kompozycją improwizacją jest płynna - szkielet istnieje a nic nie stoi na przeszkodzie by go modyfikować lub też zbudować zupełnie nowy.

Całość jednak muzyki jest jakby zabarwiona melancholią, a i muzycy mają niejaką skłonność do tworzenia lirycznych melodii - często zupełnie z czapki. Sprawia to, że piękno ich bywa nieoczywiste i poszczególne tematy, ich liryzm i kunszt, odkrywamy nie od pierwszego spotkania z muzyką tria. Muzyka, chociaż prowadzana w ciemnych i kontemplacyjnych barwach, bardzo często ma niepokojący charakter wyrastając gdzieś z nie-jazzowej. Improwizatorzy sięgają bowiem do tradycji komponowanej muzyki awangardowej dwudziestego wieku - do dokonań Scciarino, Scelsiego, Nono czy Berio, czasem wzbogacając ją jednak zdecydowanym groovem. Odpowiada za to basista Pascal Niggenkemper - jeden z najciekawszych muzyków młodego pokolenia. Takie podejście do muzyki owocuje także dużą zwartością formy, co sprawia, że do muzyki Baloni można powracać naprawdę wiele, wiele razy. Polecam gorąco!"





 

© Peter Gannnuushkin

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baloni


Joachim Badenhorst reeds

Frantz Loriot viola

Pascal Niggenkemper double-bass


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