With his playing on the prepared grand piano, Philip Zoubek has developed a unique style within contemporary European jazz. Through his use of this technique, he has created a new and highly differentiated tonal language that employs references from jazz history and exponents of contemporary new music as background motifs. Zoubek is an unconventional pianist who has devoted himself to what is probably the most conventional of jazz formations: the piano trio. As his 2018 album "Outside" attests, Zoubrek, along with contrabassist David Helm and drummer Dominik Mahnig, enjoys turning the page to find something new. One critic chose it as his album of the year, another called the group the best piano trio to come along in some time. The trio proved to be the ideal format for these three musicians who, with their thirst for adventure and intensive work ethic, continually refine their common language through a collective process. They draw from an expansive musical foundation, which they reinterpret through their intense interactivity and the seamlessly interconnected flow of composition and improvisation.


Philip Zoubek Trio »Nonplaces«

Philip Zoubek Trio

2020 WhyPlayJazz (WPJ055)
CD + MP3 Album Download

Track listing

  1. Alarms  4:29
  2. Mirrors  5:20
  3. Memento  6:28
  4. Silver  5:33
  5. Gorilla  4:07
  6. Remin  5:33
  7. Those  5:45
  8. Kran  5:24
  9. The Other Life  2:37
  10. Mind At Play  6:24
  11. Alarms Postlude  2:31
Philip Zoubek Trio »Outside«

Philip Zoubek Trio

2018 WhyPlayJazz (WPJ042)
CD + MP3 Album Download

Track listing

  1. Scanning  7:34
  2. Rhetorics  5:21
  3. Now Then  2:45
  4. Sketch  4:56
  5. Spaces in Between  5:26
  6. Der König  4:21
  7. Gambit  4:49
  8. The Clearing  4:35
  9. The Long Fade  6:02
  10. Distorted Chants  5:02


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Der Kölner Pianist Philip Zoubek trieb die faszinierende Klangarbeit mit seinem Trio weiter, unter anderem durch die Einbeziehung analoger Synthesizer.

Ihre Musik ist deftig, aber nie derbe. Sie ist zart, aber nicht fragil, komplex aber nicht kompliziert.

At times, the experience of hearing this record is akin to a live, acoustic emulation of skipping through a dense catalog of challenging music, where in the span of just a few bars you land on a new soundscape, only to continue cascading along.

Pianist Philip Zoubek’s trio with bassist David Helm and drummer Dominik Mahnig plays a spiky, clanging version of free jazz, with occasional synth injections, that takes a little bit from modern classical composition but remains rooted in the jazz vocabulary.

Nonplaces – to właśnie mózgowe, abstrakcyjne i bezkompromisowe granie. Otwartogłowi chwytajcie przewiew!

Der Pianist Philip Zoubek führt sein kreatives Trio gleichermaßen versiert durch introspektive Balladen und furiose Rhythmuspassagen.

On their second outing, “Nonplaces” the trio offers traditional expectations but breaks away into new modern constructs that blend electronic harmonies and melodies while still delving into improvisation.

Tutto ciò si riverbera nei dieci brani che compongono questo Outside, indistintamente a firma del pianista, per quanto scrollarsi di dosso tutta la pesante tradizione, la letteratura, che una formula trafficata come il piano trio si porta appresso sia impresa da far tremare i polsi a chiunque. Qui la volontà di battere itinerari personali è in ogni caso largamente avvertibile, con risultati anche egregi.

Shadowing each other’s every movement Helm and Mahnig make the perfect back-up to Zoubek’s compositional and keyboard flights.

Die drei blieben in ihren Interpretationen harmonisch nah an den Kompositionen und konzentrierten ihre Gruppen- und Solo-Improvisationen auf Melodie und Rhythmus mit nahtlosen Übergängen zwischen Komposition und Improvisation. [...] Dieses Trio bietet eher Modern Jazz als Avantgarde und schreckt erfreulicherweise nicht vor melodischer Schönheit zurück.

Zoubek states briefly the restless themes but then the whole trio articulates it, clashes with its fragments and together abstracts the theme in a manner that blurs the boundaries between the composed and the improvised parts. [...] Maybe in this way Zoubek trio, suggests a new realization of the possibilities of a piano trio in the 21st century. Leaving behind the past, far too common aesthetics of the chamber jazz trios as a prey to the lurking beast.

Die meisten Stücke sind permanente Formwandler, ein Kaleidoskop hüpfender Melodien und subtiler Rhythmus- und Stilveränderungen, strukturell zusammengehalten und kontrolliert durch den phänomenalen Sinn für Tempo, den die drei Musiker hören lassen.
Eine formatbildende, außergewöhnliche Einspielung: Für mich das Album des Jahres!

Achim Doppler, CONCERTO

Immer wenn man meint, den Sound „einordnen“ zu können, wird man eines Besseren belehrt, weil das Philip Zoubek Trio aus dem gesamten Fundus der Piano-Trio-Tradition schöpft.

Rich, colorful, expressive and enchanting musical language is created by using synthesis of experimental and traditional musical decisions, sound experiments, special effects, expansion of instruments technical abilities, open form and spontaneous free improvisation. All these elements make an effort to creation of remarkable, expressive and great sound of this album.

Philip Zoubek Trio‘s newest album, Outside, is a magnificent album of modern, at times avant-garde jazz. Each composition is interesting in its own right and played to near perfection by the three talented musicians on record.

Zoubek hat das Rad auf musikalische Weise neu erfunden – auch dort ist in der Bewegung alles mal oben, unten, vorn oder hinten.

Ein Kollektiv im besten Sinne des Wortes, alle 3 sind wunderbarere Musiker, mit kluger und zupackender Musik.
Das beste Klaviertrio seit langer Zeit !