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video  Laura Pleifer




«World class, state of the art jazz-inflected pianism through a post impressionist chamber-jazz filter […]
It is new in our year best-of»

Stephen Graham, Marlbanky

Julia Hülsmann was born in Bonn in 1968. She took classical piano lessons from the age of eleven and started her first band at 16. In 1991, she moved to Berlin to study jazz piano at the University of the Arts (HdK) and the following year joined the German Youth Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO). Since 1997, Hülsmann has worked with her own trio, playing at clubs and festivals all over Germany.


Julia Hülsmann’s ECM debut The End of a Summer  came in 2008, with regular partners Marc Muellbauer (bass) and Heinrich Köbberling (drums), followed by Imprint, in 2011. In 2012, the trio became a quartet with the addition of English trumpet and flugelhorn player Tom Arthurs, a line-up which released In Full View, in 2013. Arthurs brought a strong new frontline voice that not only inspired Julia Hülsmann as player and arranger, but also had a stimulating effect on the composing activities within the quartet.


Singer Theo Bleckmann added his considerable vocal gifts to the quartet on A Clear Midnight: Kurt Weill and America (2015), an imaginative response to the composer’s songs that had its origins in the 2013 Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau. John Fordham wrote in the Guardian: “This might just be one of the great jazz treatments of the songs of Kurt Weill […] Not a sound is out of place on this beautifully crafted project.”


On The Next Door Julia Hülsmann returns with the quartet from 2019’s Not Far From Here, and presents her unique pianistic voice in a varied programme of almost exclusively original music, composed by herself and her colleagues – tenor saxophonist Uli Kempendorff, Marc Muellbauer on double bass and drummer Heinrich Köbberling. A deep respect for the jazz tradition, as cultivated in the post-bop and modal jazz of the 60s, permeates this session and, with the quartet’s modern twist, sets the stage for highly expressive soloing and profound interplay.


The band on her new album is her regular quartet which tours a lot and can therefore take clarity, transparency, openness and trust – and freedom – to astonishing levels. […] The feeling that this group has progressed and can now find all kinds of different ways to create a convincing flow and narrative, is palpable.

Sebastian Scotney, The Arts Desk


World class, state of the art jazz-inflected pianism through a post impressionist chamber-jazz filter […] A wonderful record full of interest that rewards frequent replay. It is new in our year best-of.

Stephen Graham, Marlbank


‘Since the last album we’ve been on the road a lot’, Hülsmann notes. ‘We’ve had time to further develop our rapport as a quartet and, as a result, our interplay has become more intuitive.’ The fruit of their labour, presented on this album, is focussed largely as an intimate ensemble sound that twists and turns between 60’s modal customs and post-bop swing, all wrapped up in a blanket of subliminal, understated beauty. There’s a thoughtful, inquisitive nature to much of Hülsmann’s music, allowing her, and the band, to develop ideas and themes within the tunes they’re performing. This openness serves them well, facilitating an organic ebb and flow to the recording, quietly yet confidently allowing the quartet to further develop their identity along the way. This must also be aided by the fact that all the members of the group contribute so much to the musical interplay, not just in shared performance, but also in compositions. […] an extremely enjoyable album. With further touring imminent from the quartet, I’d imagine their characterful music will sound immediate and involving in a live setting. This quartet just seems to grow in stature with each recording it makes.

Mike Gates, UK Vibe


The Julia Hülsmann Quartet is one of the most reliable jazz projects that hails from Germany. The pianist reassembles her excellent quartet for ‘The Next Door’, the follow-up to the well-received ‘Not Far From Here’ (2019), after spending considerable time on tour with them. The program consists of originals by each of the members plus a sweet rendition of ‘Sometimes it Snows in April’ by Prince, here expressed with a similar unpressurized atmosphere that characterizes the original version. […] Whether compressing or loosening up elements, the music of Hülsmann and her peers is a strikingly precise affair.
Filipe Freitas, Jazz Trail



Photos: Peter Hundert, Volker Beushausen, Ralf Dombrowski, Nathan Dreessen, Peter Hundert, Arne Reimer, Dovile Sermokas, Simona Turk




Sarah Chaksad

+ 41 79 427 82 66

Jonas Winterhalter

+ 49 176 931 480 32

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