Lukas Kranzelbinder - Double Bass, E-Bass, Guembri, Bandleader
Clemens Salesny - Alto Sax, Stritch
Johannes Schleiermacher - Tenor Sax, Flute
Mario Rom - Trumpet
Oliver Potratz Double Bass, E-Bass
Niki Dolp Drums, Percussion
Mathias Koch Drums, Percussion
Austrian band SHAKE STEW has become something of a phenomenon.
With their premiere at Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2016 and their following debut The Golden Fang they seemingly exploded into the scene out of nowhere. Since then their high energy mixture of hypnotic afrobeat and jazz grooves has made them enormously successful not only on home turf but across Europe. Led by rising star bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder they quickly became one of the hottest live acts on the circuit, while the impact of their second album Rise and Rise again (featuring Shabaka Hutchings) enabled them to spread their unique sound further afield, including an extensive tour of Canada, Mexico, Morocco and stand out shows at prestigious festivals like Montreal, Rochester and North Sea Jazz Festival. The band has also attracted the attention of Germany’s leading newspaper Die Zeit who, in an unusual move, sent one of its writers to spend 5 days with them to cover the formations summer residence at Jazzclub Unterfahrt; the resulting feature was euphoric in its praise:
"What I heard blew me away. Captivating rhythms, melting brass, hypnotic funk-beat-swing-afro-jazz-rock-rhythm-and-something. I was glued to my seat and could barely get up. […] Meanwhile I know that other listeners had similar initiation experiences; something comes from this band that is new and special - and very attractive."
Die Zeit | September 2018
Riding on all this success Shake Stew released their third studio album Gris Gris in November 2019. Not content to do anything by halves (their first single was 19 minutes long), Gris Gris is a double album of what they do best: A high-octane mix of fiery jazz and trance-like groove injections combined with mysterious soundscapes and spiritual free jazz eruptions - or as UKs MOJO magazine described it:
"Able to blind you into a trance and make you dance to your knees, Gris Gris twists, blisters and burns like a fevered dream."
MOJO | November 2019
The album was soon awarded with the "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik" for the first quarter of 2020 and was ranked as #1 album of 2019 by Jazzthing Magazine in their annual "Best of" - beating the likes of Brad Mehldau, Michael Kiwanuka and Terri Lyne Carrington! Further reactions included a front page Coverstory in Jazzthetik Magazine as well as praise from The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Jazzwise, Concerto, AllaboutJazz, and many more.
Shake Stew’s unusual configuration of 2 drummers, 2 bass players and 3 horns is one of the key things that make this 7-piece band stand out. The percussive rhythm section of Nikolaus Dolp and Mathias Koch, along with 2 bassists, Lukas Kranzelbinder and Oliver Potratz, create the soundboard for three of the most impressive wind players on the European scene – Clemens Salesny, Johannes Schleiermacher and Mario Rom – to fully let rip. This instrumentation, which at first seems a little strange, seamlessly blends together, creating the trademark Shake Stew high-energy sound that their reputation has been built on. The addition of the Guembri (Moroccan bass lute) – something Kranzelbinder has been playing with for a while now – and flute, add yet more texture to what is already a complex balance of sounds. With all 9 tracks on Gris Gris written by band leader Kranzelbinder, Shake Stew have once again pulled the rabbit from the hat and produced an album which encapsulates their ferocious spirit and passion – something that is only outmatched by their unique energy during live shows!