May 22, 2024

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CD review: Christian Winninghoff – Cloud Sounds 2022: Video, CD cover

Cologne trumpeter Christian Winninghof and his band are joined by the Hi Hornz section and 4 special guest vocalists in this originals jazz album drenched in groove and soul.

The pandemic years were a challenging time for many creatives, and Cologne trumpeter, composer and arranger Christian Winninghoff, a member of the Jazzkantine and the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, was no exception.

Known for performances more suitable for the atmosphere of a densely packed club than for a ventilated concert hall with a masked audience, he spent the forced downtime working on the essentials: his sound, expression and soul.

Diving into songwriting and reinterpreting the great classics, the resulting album has his stamp on both trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as in his arrangements and compositions.

Cloud Sounds makes use of some of the illustrious voices of Cologne’s jazz and soul scenes; alongside singers Nora Becker, Sam Leigh Brown, Inga Lühning and Albert N’sanda, Cloud Sounds features other friends including the lead trombonist of the WDR Big Band Ludwig Nuss and the HI HORNZ SECTION, contributing a powerful funk spirit.

The album’s togetherness owes a special thanks to the fact that all the album was tracked live on a single summer weekend in Topaz studios in Cologne.

As for so many people, the two pandemic years were a challenging time in many respects for creatives like Cologne trumpeter, composer and arranger Christian Winninghoff, a member of the Jazzkantine and the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Because jazz from the ivory tower was never his thing. His music has always sounded energetic and groovy, more suitable for the atmosphere of a densely packed, heated club than for a ventilated concert hall with a masked audience, possibly even arranged in a checkerboard pattern.

In the prescribed retreat – after what felt like half a life with concerts, shows and theatrical performances almost every weekend – so now a lot of time to concentrate on the essentials: Sound and expression! The goal: soul music. His compositions have always had fragile and lyrical moments and Christian’s fourth album CLOUD SOUNDS almost became a pure song or ballad album.

The focus of the new CD is for him in this project to go in search of traces in terms of song-writing, to fathom the essence of great songs and to reinterpret them for himself. The es-sence is always the expression, the feeling that a song conveys. And his interpretation possi-bilities are manifold, both on the trumpet, the flugelhorn and in his arrangements and com-positions. In the opening song, a relaxed version of the Beatles classic ‘Two of us’ in ¾-measure, Sam Leigh Brown interprets with warm vocal timbre. Dreamy floating pieces follow on easily therefore swinging jazz and multi-layered songs. A lot of hypnotic power is used in these compositions and arrangements (including Brian Wilson’s ‘Surf’s Up’) pieces related wind colors, which sometimes come as a polyphonic chorale, sometimes in an evocative unison. The calm, breathing timing in finely tuned interaction then prepares the foundation for the both powerful and soulful improvisations often on flugelhorn and plugged trumpet, sometimes reduced, sometimes lively and playful.

Christian is grateful to have won illustrious voices of the current jazz and soul scene for his varied and entertaining album. Alongside the all-round strong singers Nora Becker, Sam Leigh Brown, Inga Lühning and Albert N’sanda, there are some friends and companions from the Cologne jazz scene, such as the lead trombonist of the WDR Big Band Ludwig Nuss. In addition, there is a reunion with the HI HORNZ SECTION, which contributes powerful funk spirit. The album owes a special homogeneity to the fact that all 14 basic tracks of the album were recorded live on a single summer weekend in the Topaz studios in Cologne.

I like the vocal pieces very much, especially ‘Playing With The Clouds’ performed by Nora Becker from Hamburg. For the first time in my life, I wrote some of the songs on my own and it was a thrilling adventure how the sounded sung by some of the greatest jazz singers on the scene. There are 15 musicians all in all performing so great on the album. I’ve been knowing them from so many different projects and musical settings. So meeting each other and bringing out their qualities through playing my music, felt like a blessing for me,- an interview with me said Christian Winninghof.

1 Two of Us 03:27
2 Wonderful Life 05:06
3 Who Do You Wanna Be? 04:11
4 Playing with the Clouds 04:40
5 Flow Circus 03:06
6 Perfect Weekend 04:01
7 Nostalgia 04:20
8 Acker Blues 04:10
9 Surf’s Up 05:10
10 A Summer’s Day 05:04
11 Bad Bari Blues 03:49
12 Out of the Cloud 04:32
13 Blaupause 02:05
14 The Fool on the Hill 04:28

Christian Winninghoff – trumpet, flugelhorn, euphonium, vocals on ‘Flow Circus’
Martin Schulte – guitars
Kirill Vorwald – piano, keyboards
Nico Brandenburg – bass
Kai Schönburg – drums
Stephan Emig – percussion
THE HI HORNZ
Marc Leymann – alto aax, bari sax
Heiner Schmitz – tenor sax, bari sax
Marcus Bartelt – flute, clarinet, bari sax
Jan Schneider – lead trumpet on ‘BAD Bari Blues’
Ludwig Nuss – trombone

VOCAL APPEARANCES

Nora Becker – vocals on ‘Playing With The Clouds’ + ‘Flow Circus’
Sam Leigh Brown – vocals on ‘Two Of Us’ + ‘A Summer’s Day’
Inga Lühning – vocals on ‘Nostalgia’
Albert N’sanda – vocals on ‘Who Do You Wanna Be’

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

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