„…it’s great fun, you want to dance pogo to it. More of this please!“ Hans-Jürgen Schaal, Jazzthetik
„Calypsomanic vitality in XXL“ Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy
Anke Lucks – trombone
Almut Schlichting – baritone saxophone
Christian Marien – drums
Baritone saxophonist Almut Schlichting, trombonist Anke Lucks, and drummer Christian Marien are a miniature brass band, transcending its compact size to produce a raucous, ebullient sound one might expect from a much larger ensemble.more
The trio formed in 2017 and since then it’s developed an irresistible, unstoppable contrapuntal attack of interlocking parts that sees the group pulling apart and coming back together with breathless energy. Each musician juggles shifting rolls, toggling between rhythm and melody as they traverse a beguiling landscape of free jazz, funk, punk rock, and New Orleans brass band traditions.
On each tune the group is constant motion, playing quicksilver harmonies, injecting spontaneous accents, colliding melodic conceits, and generally raising the roof.
While the musicians draw upon a wide vocabulary of techniques and traditions, Insomnia Brass Band never allows its heady ideas to get in the way of a good time.
The Insomnia Brass Band was founded in spring 2017 during a working scholarship of the Berlin Senate and developed its sound around the playing material composed by Lucks and Schlichting. Meanwhile, Marien is also on board as a composer.
Since 2018, the band has been on the road with numerous concerts in jazz clubs and at festivals.
With another Senate scholarship, the trio recorded their first CD, „Late Night Kitchen“. It was released on Tiger Moon Records in November 2020 and has been very well received. In January 2022, the three musicians were back in the studio, again funded by the Berlin Senate. The new CD will be released in September 2022 on Tiger Moon Records.
CD Reviews „Late Night Kitchen“: more
Dusted Magazine – January 2021 – Jennifer Kelly
It is all so complicated and full of sensation — yet at the same time supremely danceable — that you might be surprised when you find out there are only three of them. Insomnia Brass Band sounds like a cubist painting of an oompah band, noses jutting off in every direction, cerebral and off-beat, yet somehow capturing an eccentric, unexpected groove.
The three musicians have an egalitarian air. Any one of them could solo at any given point. Anyone could keep the beat, not just the drummer but often sax or trombone, and anyone could mix it up a little, jaunting in from a diagonal with the same phrase sideways, so that it becomes a counterpoint rather than a main theme. (..)
Yet though the music is complex it also extremely accessible — it’s no accident that one of Dusted’s least jazz-focused writers got caught up in its insomniac groove. This band has got to be a monster live, and even on headphones Late Night Kitchen raises up a nonstop ruckus.
Jazzthetik – November / December 2020 – Hans-Jürgen Schaal
Jazz sometimes bores me – that`s why the Insomnia Brass Band excites me all the more. (…) a fun line-up, nothing is harmonically padded, nothing is prettified. The two wind players and the one drummer romp in earthy grooves, there is polyphonic improvisation, boppishly torn themes are blown, it swings and stomps as if unleashed, the saxophone plays buzzing riffs, the trombone makes funny vocal sounds – who would have thought that such a reduced line-up can produce such a variety of forms and rhythms! Hands-on, unaffected, it’s a lot of fun, you want to dance pogo to it. More of this please!
Jazzzeitung – January 2021 – Michael Scheiner
Brimming with sparkling energy, they simply blow and drum around their manageable size with a muscular, exuberant sound. At the same time they don’t miss pensive and tenderly rough sounds at all, as it is warmly expressed in „Rimdir“ with sighing mischievousness (…)
Late at night in the kitchen – there’s really something going on, the styles change like snatches of language from funk to New Orleans, to punky attitude to crunching blues…. During this time, at most the speaker boxes shake – but they shake in such a way that you long to finally experience this band live (again).
FAZ – October 2020 – Norbert Krampf (Concert review)
All three get down to business with verve and energy!
NDR Kultur – Album of the Week January 2021 – Michael Laages
The CD is good to listen to from backwards: „Alles OK?“ not only sounds like a motto, the last of the nine tracks is also a relaxed intro for everything else. The two instrumentalists understand each other as if they were asleep, or better: as if they were insomniacs. They have a lot of plans for the new year: if the small clubs and all the other battered jazz venues are allowed to reopen. (..) And so the „Insomnia Brass Band“, if everything goes a little better than before, could become one of the very special discoveries in the New Year.
BadAlchemy – September 2020 – Rigobert Dittman
Trombone and baritone instigate with big cheeks to dancing, buxom babes push their sugar daddies around amidst driving staccato, resistance is futile, Marien baby-dodding, tapping hm-tata beats and letting them melt for smooth swing. No? It’s enough to make a cat laugh, every “No” is countered by a melodious „Yes!“ on the horns that weighs heavier. In whose name? In the name of a loudly crowing, calypsomanic vitality in XXL.
Salt Peanuts – November 2020 – Eyal Hareuveni
The Insomnia Brass Band is a powerful trio, always in constant motion and always juggling with quicksilver harmonies, spontaneous accents, melodic conceits, and infectious grooves, delivered with unstoppable joy and with a sharp sense of humor that brings to mind the American quartet Sex Mob led by trumpeter Steven Bernstein.
Citizen Jazz – February 2021 – Matthieu Jouan
Un vrai petit plaisir à se mettre entre les oreilles.
JazzPodium – November 2020 – Stephan Richter
A trio of baritone saxophone, trombone and drums: you fear the cerebral and end up – even as a movement agnostic – happily swinging your dancing leg….
(The musicians) actually manage to get the maximum out of a minimal line-up and remind one of the great New Orleans brass bands. It is amazing with how much variety and speed they switch from accompanying to soloist function, sometimes making you forget how intelligent and precisely crafted the music is.
JazzThing – November 2020 – Januar 2021 – Martin Laurentius
The three Berliners Almut Schlichting (baritone saxophone), Anke Lucks (trombone) and Christian Marien (drums) have reduced the polyphony of the originals to three for their Insomnia Brass Band, in order to retain the greatest possible flexibility and to alternate ad hoc between history with its typical second-line grooves, for example, and the free-tonal lines of contemporary improvised music.
This leads to sharp contrasts (..) in the dramaturgy of the original pieces on „Late Night Kitchen“, but increases the tension immeasurably and results in a sprawling, energetic interplay of thematic motifs and rhythmic patterns with silvery, resounding intervals, crystalline themes and meandering solo choruses of the two brass and woodwind players.
Sonic – November / December 2020 – Ulrich Steinmetzger
The music of the Insomnia Brass Band is enigmatic, voluminous, raw and like a promise of something greater. It appeals to the legs and to the head, taking a few steps back as a miniature version in order to move forward. And above all, it leaves you wanting more.
Hifi&Records – January 2021 – Hans-Dieter Grünefeld
New Orleans polyphony (..) hardbop and free elements (..) Even a fierce two-beat dispute „Nein-Doch“ is possible. Nevertheless, there is agreement on the nostalgic unison motif to the „Gingerbread Resistance Song“ (…) optimal communication, dense interactions (…)
Jazzhalo Online Magazin – December 2020 – Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther
Come in to the „Beach Bar“ for breakfast – that is the musical invitation at the beginning of the album, which is dominated by a strong dialogue between the two wind players. The baritone saxophonist purrs in the depths of her instrument, forming a recurring bass line for the trombonist to spread moving waves of sound. Before „Beach Bar Before Breakfast“ segues seamlessly into „Lullaby“ a brilliant percussion solo can be heard (…).
„African Birdsong“ does without recorded bird calls and shines with a rhythm that is otherwise only known from street marching bands. Dull drum rolls – think of an African drumming workshop – accompany the purring saxophone voice, which doesn’t just linger in the low tones. And off it goes with tropical sound fever in the spirit of Fela Kuti. (…)
Concerto – November 2020
The two wind players interlock in melodious cooperation, the drummer sets accents, on a par, or moves the playing forward in a jazzy way. This is jazz of the freer kind, something worth listening to.
LongPlay Blog – November 2020 – Robert Ratajczak
The album „Late Night Kitchen“ is a collection of nine compositions, revealing a huge potential of the band.
Insomnia Brass Band generates sound usually associated with larger ensembles. At times it is hard to believe that we are listening to a jazz trio. Richly arranged songs of this mini brass band are full of unexpected turns and spontaneous harmonic-melodic surprises. The artists like to improvise, which can be seen in almost every piece, and their music is full of joy and sense of humour, which can be heard during numerous games involving generating various sounds.
(…) the formula discovered by the Insomnia Brass Band is an excellent convention without equal, successfully combining the traditional style of New Orleans brass bands with free jazz, funk and the spontaneity typical of rock music. .
19.01.2022 München Unterfahrt
20.01.2022 Wien Porgy & Bess
11.03.2022 Villach Kulturforum
07.04.2022 Insomnia Brass Band Double Drums (feat. Alfred Vogel) Berlin Sowieso
12.05.2022 Salzburg JazzIt (& Max Plattner Trio)
28.05.2022 Schwäbisch Gmünd Jazz Mission (& Alfred Vogel, Schlagzeug)
16.06.2022 Berlin NoVilla Poets´Corner Festival
19.06.2022 Berlin Brass Festival
12.08.2022 Erfurt Jazzclub
27.08.2022 Rangsdorf GEDOK Sommerfest
03.09.2022 Hannover Tonhalle
08.09.2022 Chemnitz Weltecho
10.09.2022 Karlsruhe Jazzfest in der Schauburg (& Alfred Vogel, Schlagzeug)
16.09.2022 Rottweil Jazz im Refektorium
17.09.2022 Nürnberg Jazzstudio
24.09.2022 Tosterglope Kunstraum
13.-16.10.2022 Salzburg Festival Jazz & The City (& Alfred Vogel, Schlagzeug)
28.10.2022 Gdansk Jazz Jantar Festival
27.11.2022 Berlin Satellit
Retrospect Concerts 2021:
09.04.2021 Uslar Literatur- und Kunstkreis
10.04.2021 Syke Jazz Folk Klassik
28.05.2021 München Unterfahrt
29.05.2021 Heidelberg Jazzclub
05.06.2021 Brelingen Kultur unterm Schauer
12.06.2021 Berlin Klangworte Jazzexzess
24.07.2021 Krefeld Jazzklub open air
25.07.2021 Schwäbisch Hall JazzArt Festival
26.07.2021 Reutlingen Pappelgarten
05.08.2021 Passau JazzFest
06.08.2021 Bezau Beatz Festival
08.08.2021 Klasdorf Umrangiert Festival
15.08.2021 Gerswalde Großer Garten Jazzexzess
19.08.2021 Chemnitz Weltecho
20.08.2021 Ilmenau Jazzclub
22.08.2021 Sassnitz Erntemondkonzert
10.09.2021 Bielefeld Bunker Ulmenwall
12.09.2021 Jena Distelschänke
19.09.2021 Münster Cuba Cultur
14.10.2021 Karlsruhe Jazzclub
15.10.2021 Eschen (Liechtenstein) Tangente
16.10.2021 Pfaffenhofen Künstlerwerkstatt
04.11.2021 Bamberg Jazzclub (& Alfred Vogel, Schlagzeug)
05.11.2021 Klagenfurt Innenhofkultur (& Max Plattner, Schlagzeug)
06.11.2021 Prien Jazz am Roseneck (& Alfred Vogel, Schlagzeug)
07.11.2021 Taubenbach Zoglau3 (& Alfred Vogel, Schlagzeug)
12.12.2021 Leer Jazz im Speicher
15.12.2021 Passau Café Museum
16.12.2021 Graz Stockwerkjazz
Retrospect Concerts 2020:
03.01.2020 Darmstadt Jazzinstitut
29.02.2020 Bremen MIB Festival
08.08.2020 Berlin Festival Jazz am Kaisersteg
13.09.2020 Peitz Jazzwerkstatt Festival
30.10.2020 Wiesbaden Achter
31.10.2020 Nordhausen Jazzclub
Retrospect Concerts 2019 & 2018:
30.03.2019 Uslar Literatur- und Kunstkreis
04.08.2019 Pohrsdorf Saxstall
27.08.2019 Berlin Klunkerkranich
01.11.2019 Nürnberg Jazzstudio
02.11.2019 Erfurt Jazzclub
15.11.2019 & Bass X3 Berlin Jazzkeller 69
19.10.2018 Husum Kunstverein
17.11.2018 Sassnitz Grundtvigthaus
24.11.2018 Eberswalde Guten Morgen (10.30h)
17.12.2018 Magdeburg Jazz in der Kammer
Concert Videos: here and at our Youtube-Kanal
Contact & Booking & Imprint:
Photos: Oliver Potratz, Frank Schindelbeck, Rolf Schoellkopf, Uli Templin, Alexander Beierbach
Text: Peter Margasak