© Andreas Waldschuetz
© Andreas Waldschuetz
With 2 drummers, 2 bass players and 3 horns, 7-piece Austrian band Shake Stew is not your average outfit. Led by dynamic bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder, Shake Stew features some of the leading lights on the young Austrian and German jazz scenes, their unusual set up helping create a unique sound of hypnotic afrobeat and jazz grooves mixed with intense and mysterious soundscapes. Their critically acclaimed debut, The Golden Fang (2016) led one Austrian newspaper to liken them to “an intergalactic road movie for the ears“ others speaking of a „musical masterpiece!“ Formed by Kranzelbinder in 2016, specifically to perform at the prestigious Jazzfestival Saalfelden, Shake Stew released The Golden Fang shortly after, going on to sell out a six-month residency at Vienna’s legendary jazz club Porgy & Bess. From there on they developed a remarkable hype around this septet with its unique combination of pure energy and spiritual eruptions often leading the critics to create new terms and genre-labels to put their live experiences into words. Their forthcoming new album ‚Rise And Rise Again‘ will be released in spring 2018 and will only further establish their status as one of Europe‘s most upcoming Jazzbands, with London-based saxophone-wizard Shabaka Hutchings joining the band on two tracks. Like Hutchings, Kranzelbinder is a prolifically talented musician – at only 30 years old he has already established himself as one of the most active and versatile bassists of the young Austrian music scene with an awe-inspiring list of achievements; he‘s been a member of Mario Rom’s Interzone, written an opera, founded the Polyamory Sound Festival, organized a series of concerts on top of different mountains in Carinthia called ‚Almrausch(en)‘ which involved both musicians (including himself plus double bass) and audience hiking 2000m up a mountain, created a new project to open the Südtirol Jazz Festival – and all this alongside performing with a raft of A-listers from the Austrian jazz scene, as well as touring and recording with Shake Stew. It seems that he found the best vehicle to express his musical ideas in this rather unusual setup: „The 28-year-old writes fantastic pieces: Shamanic smears of sound, a fusillade of colossal, architectural beats, and snaking, energy-drunk horn lines – vast, cinematic music.” So one thing’s for sure: At some point SHAKE STEW will let loose. And if that happens you’d better be around.