The Forge in Camden may well have that Friday feeling this week as guitarist Hannes Riepler beams in with a pretty extraordinary band to launch his debut album The Brave.

Riepler is pretty special himself, and since taking hold of the Tuesday jam at Charlie Wright’s in Hoxton over the past two years, the Austrian has got himself firmly established.

In his early-thirties he has written all the tunes on The Brave, just released by Huddersfield indie jazz label Jellymould.

With roots in the acoustic jazz of the 1950s and 60s, he’s joined on the album and at the Forge by piano star Kit Downes; Ma saxman Tom Challenger; Cornish bassist Ryan Trebilcock; and Kairos 4tet drummer, Jon Scott.

The album is urban sounding at times, despite the mountain air evoked in ‘Tyrol, Tyrol’, the song Riepler says charts his journey from his homeland to the big city, Amsterdam and now London.

Playing a 1980s Gibson Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that evoke sounds steeped in the tradition with an ear to the ground for contemporary jazz guitar particularly post-Kurt Rosenwinkel, Riepler is raring to go. Check him out, you might be too.

Stephen Graham

The Forge is on Delancey Street. Tickets: www.forgevenue.org   


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After 33 years the emergence of Sleeper is a seismic event the significance of which will be felt for years to come.

Listening to the 28-minute version of ‘Oasis’, the flute/percussion flavoured track on the second CD of the Keith Jarrett ‘European Quartet’ album – some 10 minutes longer than the rendition of the composition you’ll find on Personal Mountains – it’s hard to avoid thinking about Jarrett’s former employer Charles Lloyd.

Jan Garbarek has always had an unworldliness about him, just like Lloyd, a mysticism too, and there is a sense of this here that Garbarek is placeless, operating not in 1979 when the music was recorded and is now released for the first time, but in the ancient past.

The song feels as if it could have been performed in a cave, or on some lonely plain with just the four musicians present, but yet it’s in front of an audience in Tokyo.

Jarrett possibly contributes percussion effects on this track as well (it sounds as if there’s more than Christensen at work), but even if this is not the case his role here is different to say that on the wondrous ‘Innocence’ from the first disc.

‘Unlike the version of ‘Innocence’ on Personal Mountains it takes five minutes for the heartstopping theme from Garbarek to emerge after a so-honest-it-hurts bass build up from Danielsson’

Towards the latter part of ‘Oasis’, an informal but no less grand symphony of a piece, both Garbarek and Jarrett become more emotional on the song, as if some switch has been turned on, and it’s the level of intensity that makes the European Quartet so special not just here but made blindingly obvious with this release.

There is something quite naïve about the level of motivation on Sleeper which in artistic terms is almost like a surrender, and it’s easy for a listener to sense this sheer abandon. 

In a year when remarkable new music has already been unearthed from the archives (the game changing early-Wes Montgomery Echoes of Indiana Avenue set from Resonance; and 301 the beautiful Sydney swan song by EST), Sleeper is still a milestone and adds hugely to what we know about the Belonging band.

Stephen Graham

Sleeper is released by ECM on 16 July