Eva Klesse Quartet

Eva Klesse Quartet

EVGENY RING saxophone




When Eva Klesse and her quartet recorded its debut album Xenon in 2014, things were still quite new.
Just six month earlier, Klesse, Ring, Frischkorn, and Lucaciu met in Leipzig; they went on to play a handful of concerts together. Nevertheless, the band already displayed a remarkable diversity of musical styles and a strong creative drive. Essential characteristics remain: atmospheric original compositions in lieu of covers, a knack for interesting melodies, joyful improvisation, and nuanced acoustic arrangements.

In 2015, the band was awarded the Jazz Echo (German Music Award) in the category „Newcomer of the year“. Since the release of Xenon, the quartet played among others the Berlin, Dortmund, and Leipzig jazz festivals, the “Rolf-Liebermann-Studio” in Hamburg (NDR) and the “Bayrisches Jazzweekend”. They toured Chile in 2015, including concerts in Valparaiso, Concepcion and at the ChilEuropa Festival in Santiago de Chile, with support of the German cultural institution Goethe Institute.

On the new album Obenland, released in October 2016 on enja Records, the characteristic sound of the Eva Klesse quartet is now permanently present. All compositions have been penned specifically for this album and are custom-tailored to the four personalities, creating a stronger coherence and simultaneously opening new possibilities for exploring new directions. The aesthetics now sway between detailed chamber jazz and energetic peaks. The dynamic range is wider than ever, transparency and density are evenly balanced, the latter applied so skilfully that the listener can always retain orientation, even through wider musical arcs. During dynamic interplay and mounting free passages, Klesse and her musical partners allow their emotions exactly the right amount of space, in that improvisationconveys intensity instead of egocentric ecstasy. A balance of such subtlety reflects maturity.

When being asked about the mysterious album title, Eva Klesse describes how she – as a little kid – used to retreat to the attic in her childhood house, calling the attic ‘Obenland’ (“land above”). “Today, it’s the imaginary place we go to when we play music. There, we can be free and creative. Sometimes, to me, it resembles a monk going to meditation. Obenland is a mindset, a place with space and time to get engaged.“

“Xenon was somehow pictured from far away“, Eva Klesse looks back and notices “Obenland is much more focused and closer to us“. The vibrant yet concentrated new album confirms what London Jazz News already stated a while ago: “A rising star on the German jazz scene“.


eva_klesse_quartett_by_antje_kroeger m

Only three years ago, these four young personalities joined up, now they appear as one organism. Possibly because of their very different musical backgrounds.“, „Thanks to intriguing melodies and harmonies Eva Klesse quartet’s jazz is appealing for different kinds of audiences and still far away from being mainstream. That takes quite a bit, doesn’t it?

Norbert Krampf, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/2016

Drummer Klesse, who is from the youngest generation, has a different temperament. She is a humble and passionate musician underpinned by a good portion of challenging humor. It allows her to easily move to and fro between interior and exterior, between leading and following, between empathy and directing. It allows her to come up with extraordinary flowing drum work and distinctive dynamics of a kind -both highly captivating and enjoyable. The four musicians, Klesse, saxophonist Evgeny Ring, pianist Philip Frischkorn and bassist Robert Lucaciu are on a par with each other in the group. Mutual understanding, give and take and engagement in terms of surrendering to the music and serve the music are highly developed in the group. There’s a special potential to spark the best in every musician resulting in fantastic timing and dosing. (Good) music lives by creative ways of unifying, reconciling opposites. Klesse (…) has her very own, strong way into that in her/the group’s music (making). Especially subtleness and compactness are unified in a highly consistent and distinctive way. Klesse and her group also have a high degree of emergence in their music (making), another indispensable ingredient of good music. It is also called momentum and it means that the listener gets the idea that not a piece of music is played bit by bit but that the music itself is taking its route in the performance, emerge from one moment to another on its own, unfolds as if it’s the first time it is happening.

Henning Bolte, allaboutjazz.com 04/2017

Drummer Eva Klesse and her group from Leipzig shone brightly through mysterious narratives alternating whispering airy passages with dense climaxes and suspended sudden halts. In its highly inventive playing Klesse’s group (…) united subtleness and compactness in a highly consistent and distinctive way.

Henning Bolte, londonjazznews.com 2016

A rising star on the German jazz scene, drummer Eva Klesse is making international waves with her acoustic quartet of young and vibrant players.


From the first to the last note a perfectly balanced product of the quartet’s road to musical maturity that amazes and creates an appetite for more.“, „bewitching music, truly beautiful and without even the slightest hint of kitsch, a remarkable debut“.

XENON review, Ulrich Steinmetzger

Already lauded as an important young drummer on the German scene, Eva Klesse revealed her exceptional writing skills in a series of six compelling pieces with her quartet. Like changing weather patterns, she can follow a delicate bass/piano duet with a steaming „out“ alto sax solo or a powerful drum solo, but never undermining the overall narrative.


The quartet’s piece was full of subtle turns falling in a Latin groove all of a sudden included. It was no rollercoaster of emotions, but bold and coherent leaps in a flowing line. ‘Escape and Resurface’ would be another apt indication for the group’s game. The quartet’s music was a great combination of strong tunes in a highly dynamic game with subtle turns that made the music such a big pleasure.

Henning Bolte,  allaboutjazz.com 01/2017

the fact that the medicine student switched to music is a stroke of luck for the German jazz


The concept succeeded, above all because of the excellent band that has in its ranks Eva Klesse, probably one of the best soloists of these days.

Mitteldeutsche Zeitung