A name to remember

Along with pianists and trumpeters, saxophonists are usually the frontmen in jazz , especially since the saxophone is more of a jazz instrument than almost any other. From Charlie Parker and John Coltrane to David Sanborn and Joshua Redman – only specialists know the line-ups of the saxophone stars. With tenor saxophonist Moritz Stahl it is exactly the opposite, still. The Augsburger, who just turned 31, has been one of the key figures in the young Munich jazz scene for years, but is still unknown to many. Which may be due to the fact that Stahl doesn’t like to commit himself stylistically and can play as classic as a Stan Getz, then again ultra-modern and effect-enhanced. Above all, however, that he is involved as a “musicians musician” in many projects that do not run under his name.

Stahl has been a member of the Jazzrausch Bigband since it was founded eight years ago, and it is partly thanks to him that the troupe has achieved a worldwide reputation with its revolutionary techno-jazz programs. Ark Noir has also made the way from insider tip to crowd puller, the quintet co-founded and strongly influenced by Stahl, but performing on an equal footing with Sam Hylton on the keys, Tilman Brandl on guitar, Robin Jerner on electric bass and Marco Dufner on drums, that distils genre-spanning music from a wide range of influences, from acoustic jazz to electronic and fusion to hip-hop beats. Two albums, “Tunnel Visions” 2019 and recently “See You on the Other Side” with their “Electronic Alternative Experimental Jazz”, as they call it themselves, or “dystopian dancefloor”, as one critic wrote, are already on the renowned Enja label released.

In addition, Stahl is always there when the most talented youngsters on the scene need a suitable saxophonist. So he is a member of the quartets of Luca Zambito and Philipp Schiepek, the trio of Fiona Grond or fellow student Ralph Heidel, who now lives in Berlin. And heard on Enji and LBT albums. Finally, he is also the first tenor saxophonist in the innovative Bamesreiter Schwartz Orchestra . With all this, it’s easy to forget that, strictly speaking, Stahl has just graduated from university. Fascinated by music even as a small child, Stahl found his way to the saxophone at an early age and rapidly completed the usual stages of becoming a professional musician: at the age of 16 he was already a member of the Bavarian State Youth Jazz Orchestra, and for two years while studying instrumental music with Florian Trübsbach at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich long in the Federal Jazz Orchestra, he also took lessons from cracks like Seamus Blake, Peter Weniger and Paul Heller. From 2018 onwards he rounded off his training by studying composition with Christian Elsässer and Gregor Hübner.

Of course, his busy work has not gone unnoticed. In 2017 he won the Kurt Maas Jazz Award and was awarded the Bavarian Art Promotion Prize. Last year he won the Young Munich Jazz Prize with the Luca Zambito Quartet. And this year he was honored with the BMW Young Artist Jazz Award. So it’s time that he finally stepped into the limelight under his own name. That’s what’s happening now at his first “Summer Week” in the Unterfahrt , where he’s presenting his Moritz Stahl Quintet for five evenings. A young German all-star band with the local guitar high-flyer Philipp Schiepek, the Berlin pianist Julius Windisch, the bassist Lorenz Heigenhuber, who is now based in Leipzig, and the Cologne drummer Leif Berger, for whom he wrote new material specifically.

Moritz Stahl, Tue. to Sat., Sept. 6 to 10, 8.30 p.m., Unterfahrt, Einsteinstraße 42

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