Clara Haberkamp

Solo

Clara Haberkamp   piano

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New Album: Clara Haberkamp Trio – PLATEAUX
(Release May 17, 2024)

Duo azadi

Clara Haberkamp   piano

Atena Eshtiaghi   cello

Trio

Clara Haberkamp    piano

Oliver Potratz   bass

Jarle Vespestad   drums

Defiant. Sensitive. Lively. Unconventional. Authentic. Courageous. Clever.

Jazzthing

On Tour – verfügbare Daten

July 4 + 16, 2024 | September 22-29, 2024 | October 18  – November 4,2024 
November 11-20, 2024 | December 9-18, 2024 | April 2-6, 2025 | October 22-22, 2025

Clara Haberkamp (*1989) has been making a strong impression on the German jazz scene ever since her early days with BuJazzO, now well over a decade ago. She is now on the management roster of one of Germany’s most prominent agencies, Agentur Wolkenstein in Regensburg.

Leading a piano trio has been a constant throughout Clara Haberkamp’s professional career; she formed her first trio in 2010. Jarle Vespestad joined the group as its regular drummer in 2022, and “Plateaux” the first recording to feature him 

What comes across most strongly in „Plateaux“ is the trio’s command of an astonishing spectrum of styles and moods. As she says of the trio: “We play on an equal footing and are ready to go in new directions at any moment. This requires a great willingness to take risks. I can sometimes hand over responsibility and let myself go.“

Both of her co-conspirators are infinitely subtle, top-flight players from a slightly older generation: bassist Oliver Potratz is one of the most in-demand players of the instrument in Germany; Jarle Vespestad’s vast experience includes several years with both Farmers Market and Tord Gustavsen’s trio. Each of them has made the best part of 100 albums.

And yet it is the phenomenally adept pianist who is clearly the one in charge, shaping the music in its many forms, throwing out the rhythmic and harmonic challenges to her skilful and wise colleagues.

The album title “Plateaux” comes from a 1980 book whose authors found every way they could to observe and encourage the dismantling of traditional power structures and hierarchies: “Mille Plateaux” by philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari, both of whom died in the 1990s. The world has moved on since those days, and to witness Haberkamp at the helm of her trio is to understand that there are many better ways to invent and to communicate.

The music of “Plateaux” has everything from the knottiest of counterpoint (“Collage”), achingly intense lyricism (“Enfold me like a poem”), the quiet and reflective (“On a Park Bench”), idealised dreamscape (“Fantasmes”) to moments when she brings the music back to simple, heartfelt forms of expression which cannot fail to reach every heart (“If you could read my mind”). And there can be very few singer/pianists since Shirley Horn who have reached the degree of interdependence of piano and voice that Haberkamp brings to her hauntingly reharmonized “Danny Boy”, a welcome return to singing for just one track on the album.

“I have changed,” says Clara Haberkamp My role models these days are women, in music and elsewhere, who combine strength and self-determination with compassion and receptiveness.” These reflections don’t just feed into her own continuing development and her rising profile on the European music scene, they are also a defining part of the way she plays and leads her trio: naturally, totally at ease with herself at the piano and in her role as leader. It allows her to stand out in the crowded field of piano trios as very special, or “souverän” as the Germans say.

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PHOTO- Duo Azadi - Photo von Farahnaz Sharifi

Duo Azadi

Azadi means freedom, and so what these two talented musicians create in the flow of improvisation with enough song structure and somewhere in the waters of jazz and classical music can leave no one untouched. Genre boundaries are disregarded and it doesn’t matter where the musical material of their playing comes from: only possibilities count, and there are an infinite number of them. Outbursts, surprises and emotional exuberance are allowed and required and guarantee maximum authenticity, and everything is in flux.

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Biography

The pianist, composer and singer Clara Haberkamp (*1989 near Unna) lives in Berlin. Between 1998 and 2006, she won several “Jugend jazzt” and “Jugend musiziert” competitions at state level. Later she was also a pianist in the national jazz orchestra (Bujazzo). From 2009 to 2013, she studied piano at the Jazz Institute Berlin with Hubert Nuss, David Friedman and Greg Cohen, among others. She completed her subsequent master’s degree in composition at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre in May 2017 with the CD recording of a programme composed especially for the NDR Big Band at the Rolf Liebermann Studio in Hamburg. 

With the Clara Haberkamp Trio, she won the “Newcomer Award” at the “Jazz Baltica” festival in 2011 and realised her first CD (“Nicht rot, nicht weiß, nicht blau”). In the following years, she recorded 3 further albums both as a trio and as a soloist. With their album “Orange Blossom” (Traumton Records), the trio was nominated for the Echo Jazz 2017 in the “Newcomer” category. “Reframing The Moon” will be released in August 2021 on Malletmuse Records. In 2019, Clara Haberkamp presented her composition “dinner with a nymph” in a promotional video for CASIO Music, since then she has worked regularly with CASIO Music. 

Clara Haberkamp teaches improvised song accompaniment at the Berlin University of the Arts and was entrusted with teaching composition at the Babelsberg Film University. Since summer 2020, she has been working on her doctorate on the topic of “Extended methods of improvised song accompaniment taking into account current trends in new music and jazz”. The artistic-scientific doctorate is funded by the “Dissertation Plus” programme of the Claussen Simon Foundation. 

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Firstly, there is Haberkamp’s touch. She sets her chords with clear contours and without any gentle whispering, which do not leave the terrain of romantic harmony until they transition into the off-beat phrasing of modern jazz. But wherever the musical material of her playing comes from and however dynamically she sets her lines or chords, the grand piano always sounds as if the steel strings have been replaced by gut strings. This sound character underpins her entire playing, as if every note has been impregnated, covered with a fine coating that protects against all coarseness and any unqualified rumbling. Her playing has something pleasantly even, discreet even in powerful phrases, one could almost describe it as a marvellously feminine gesture (…). In any case, Haberkamp is a great pianist who never shows off her virtuosity, with an elegiac, lyrical soprano voice that is a little (…) reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, only more straightforward, without all the tremolos. 

FAZ

Rapidly rising German star pianist Clara Haberkamp has a daunting musical brain… but then, by stealth, Mehldau-ishly perhaps, she can melt the heart with a ballad like her own tune “Mein Herz ist unterwegs”, played with limpid clarity and unmistakable emotional depth.

THE ARTS DESK

Haberkamp shakes off the burden of the big names like a leaf that has accidentally fallen on her back. She honours her personal heroes (…) by detaching herself from them.

JAZZTHING

When the piano, bass and drums of her trio sometimes float around each other in a dreamlike rubato, she manages to quickly draw you into her world, in which the music sometimes consists of just a few well-placed dabs. The space between the individual notes stimulates the listener’s imagination. Clara Haberkamp is a master of omission. (…) Without long run-up phases, this trio creates a somnambulistic atmosphere. At times the musicians sneak around each other playfully, hovering towards each other, tending towards pleasantly enchanted moods, then again they strike out in a very pointed and rhythmically daring manner. This constant change, the free handling of forms and the courage to reduce creates something very appealing.

JAZZTHING

In addition to a beautiful-sounding, devotional trio composition, the ensemble surprises with a cool version of “Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt” by Friedrich Hollaender, an adaptation of the Gordon Lightfoot hit “If You Could Read My Mind” and the traditional “Danny Boy”. It is the only song on which the pianist, who has also studied singing, sings – the touching conclusion to an excellent album that has what it takes to take a top spot in the densely populated pool of jazz trios. Not a bad move for a label that has just been launched.

MICHAEL SCHNEIDER, MBZ