The fruit of the pan-European cooperation between German trumpet player Markus Stockhausen, Hungarian classical guitar player Ferenc Snétberger, Norwegian bass player Arild Andersen and French drummer Patrice Héral, Joyosa (2004) is more than a traditional solo jazz recording with sidemen. Coming to life as distinct duos from 1997 onwards, the friendly connections between all four members evolved into a quartet in 2002 where “each of the musicians involved writes pieces for this collective group that has no “leader”. (Joyosa liner notes – Enja records).
The friendship between the musicians transpires nicely throughout the entire recording. Informed by their varied geographical and musical backgrounds, Stockhausen, Snétberger, Andersen and Héral manage to fine-tune a delicate acoustic balance, quietly hovering between jazz, classical or world music and some fictional northern-European traditional music. A Patrice Héral composition, “Mona” is an exquisite theme featuring crystal clear choruses on the trumpet and the guitar. Understated, memorable, and one of my all time favourites.