Nikolaj Hess Spacelab & Strings
Spacelab, the telepathically interplaying, almost trance-inducing super trio with Nikolaj Hess’ virtuosic and heart-melting piano playing in front and international Danes Anders Christensen and Mikkel Hess on bass and drums, collaborates with the explorative stellar quartet “Strings” led by Cæcilie Balling.
They present a beautiful and vibrant set of Hess’ original compositions, creative experiments with the string quartet repertoire and visits to the great jazz composers like Duke Ellington - combined in the melting pot of jazz, nordic, folklore and classical.
Danish pianist/composer Nikolaj Hess returns, melding two ensembles on Spacelab & Strings. Interweaving a classical string quartet with a piano trio, the recombinant septet finds Hess delving into new abstractions, exploring color, tonality and time. Reminiscent of an ECM Records title, the first track gives a knowing nod from the outset. It’s title: “ECM Country”.
"Simply put, these guys are the best piano trio in Denmark, and Nikolaj Hess is one of the most inventive jazz pianists working today"
- Mitch Myers Magnet Magazine, 2019
"A delightful, reflective, almost pastoral use of light and shade. If Chopin had been born in New York and received tuition from say Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett he may have sounded like this"
- 'Bebop spoken here' (UK)
“Seems few of the audience from this Thursday's opening concert would deny having one of the musical experiences of their lives. An absolutely beautiful and grand soundscape evolved with a supreme ensemble. The strings section delivered an impressive performance, while pianist and conductor Nikolaj Hess played, in coop with his rhythm section, every key formidably. It was a frontal collision between classical and jazz music. We were served a series of captivating works, one after the other, pieces of Ravel and Shostakovich i.a. mixed with the musicians' own compositions elegant and inventive. An inferno of notes and rhythms rolled over the stage in a tempo that left the audience short of breath added featherweight and vulnerable moments. You found yourself at a loss for words and touched - and simultaneously content.”
- Giant Steps August, 2020