KIT DOWNES    piano



“Enemy is a delight in its intersection of artistry and technicality, but it’s even more brilliant in its authenticity.”

(Downbeat Magazine)

ENEMY is the technicolor Berlin/London based piano trio featuring pianist Kit Downes, bassist Petter Eldh and drummer James Maddren. Described as ‘fiercely intense’ and ‘beautifully intricate’ by the UK’s Guardian, their two past records spotlight three brilliant and creative musical minds, all equally committed to the exploration of constantly morphing new horizons. 

ENEMY now make their We Jazz Records debut with their third album The Betrayal, out 22 September 2023. After their self-titled debut (Edition, 2018) and the follow up (Vermillion, ECM 2022), the explosive yet lyrical trio is seeking new directions with the 12-track new record, arguably their strongest yet. The Betrayal consists of all original material penned by Downes and Eldh. It’s an album of “purposeful contradictions and a shedding of skin”, a studio recording recorded within the scope of a single day, edited, produced and mixed by the band themselves. In their own words, the band “doesn’t really rehearse, playing a lot live, taking risks, always writing new music, always playing as fresh as possible”, and evolving in the process.
Careful listeners will quickly notice how different from Vermillion the new album is. Where once was echo and reverb, is now rhythmic intensity and a more compact sense of sound. The band sounds closer, their movement seems more focused. If ENEMY would have a motto, it would be “no risk, no fun”. True to this, The Betrayal has its sudden twists and turns, yet the trio never loses sight of what makes the music theirs. It wouldn’t be fair to call them “experimental”, at least for the sake of using such a vague word, but they do experiment, having fun while at it.
Listen to the three albums in one serving and you’ll surely hear many directions in music being suggested, tried out, perfected, thrown out, and taken into processing again. You can also hear it within a single track at times.While being on the move at all times, they have a real “swing” in their sound, and there’s always a bigger idea for the music than just playing it, whatever it might be at any given moment. Their music is natural, and why not, for it’s based on long-time collaboration and friendship.
As Kit Downes once said: “Whatever the situation is, I’m always looking forward to meeting up with Petter and James again, discussing everything from W.G. Sebald, to Eels, to Mad Max (Fury Road) to East Croydon.”

Kit Downes is a BBC Jazz Award winning, Mercury Music Award nominated solo recording artist for ECM Records. He has toured the world playing piano, church organ and harmonium with his own bands (‘ENEMY’, ‘Troyka’ and ‘Elt’) as well as with artists such as Squarepusher, Bill Frisell, ‘Empirical‘, Andrew Cyrille, Sofia Jernberg, Benny Greb, Mica Levi and Sam Amidon. He holds a fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he himself studied and now teaches. He has twice been awarded 1st place in Downbeat’s Critics Poll Rising Star for Organ and Keyboard categories respectively, and his ECM records Obsidian, Dreamlife of Debris and Vermillion have been released to much critical acclaim.

The Berlin-based Swedish bassist, composer and producer Petter Eldh was obsessed with Jazz, Classical, Soul, Reggae, Swedish folk music, Middle-Eastern and Hip Hop at an early age and collected vinyl since the age of 7. He initially played guitar before switching to what became his primary instrument, the double bass. Early influences, Charles Mingus, Anders Jormin, Charlie Haden, Charlie Parker, A Tribe Called Quest, Monica Zetterlund, Samla Mammas Manna, Aretha Franklin and Earth Wind and Fire have guided his diverse output as a musician. His current projects include Koma Saxo / Post Koma and Projekt Drums.

James Maddren is a London, UK-based drummer and composer who hails from Horsham, Sussex. He studied jazz percussion at the Royal Academy of Music with Martin France as his drum tutor, graduating in 2009 with a 1st class degree James was also given ‘The Principal’s Award For Outstanding Studentship’. Currently one of Europe’s first-call young drummers, he enjoys listening to and performing all kinds of music and has shared the stage with many artists and ensembles, including the Gwilym Simcock, Kit Downes, Jacob Collier, Marc Copland, Will Vinson and Norma Winstone among others.


…this was a breathless, hight-wire performance of constant invention.

Allaboutjazz.com 05/2023

a formidable trio – three musicians at the top of their game

Jazzwise Magazine (UK)

A strikingly vital, fiery and intense group that will undoubtedly appeal to jazz lovers

Written in Jazz (NL)

One could get lost in Downes’ flitting ruminations, in Maddren’s loose-wristed, polyrhythmic guile, or in Eldh’s athletic questioning and answering, but it was when the ears were attuned to the collective sturm and drang that the real thrills revealed themselves.


Enemy is an enemy – of all those who think that the musical development of the piano trio is complete. They bring new, fresh accents into the action… To hear that is a pleasure.

Rondo Magazine (D)

There is astonishingly fine detail, but all of the tracks have a flow to them which sounds incredibly natural. These are players who know each other well

Sebastian Scotney, The Arts Desk

At the end of the first evening, Kit Downes’ trio “Enemy” brought to the point the extent of stirring complexity that jazz can offer today. What Downes does on piano and Hammond organ, Frans Petter Eldh on bass and James Maddren on drums defies description. As if they were in possession of Jorge Luis Borges’ “Aleph”, each of the three seems to be at every possible point of the harmonic, melodic, but above all rhythmic universe at the same time. The paradox is that in this web of permanent disorientation everything seems to be in its right place. One understands nothing and yet everything makes sense. Stunning.

Jazzzeitung (D)