Album Preview: Thimo Niesterok’s “Stepping Forward”

Written by | New Releases, News

This coming autumn, German trumpeter Thimo Niesterok gears up to release his third album, “Stepping Forward,” on October 20th, 2023, on the  Mons Records label.

Niesterok, one of the few trumpeters in Germany wholly dedicated to the art of swing music, returns to breathe new life into classic swing-era staples, all while adding his own creative touch with three original compositions. Joining him on this musical adventure are three of the most sought-after musicians in the German jazz swing scene: Thilo Wagner, Rolf Marx, and Henning Gailing. The result is an album set to warm the hearts of swing enthusiasts and beyond.

Originally hailing from Southern Germany and now calling Cologne home, Thimo Niesterok has steadily built a formidable reputation as a leading exponent of the new vanguard of swing players. His musical journey has taken him on extensive tours throughout Germany, Europe, and even to far-flung destinations like India, South Korea. His accolades include winning the Kobe Jazz Street Award, which earned him an invitation to perform as a soloist at the Kobe Jazz Street Festival in Japan.


Following his 2017 debut album, “First Clambake,” and the successful 2019 release, “Two Talkin’ Horns,” a collaborative project with the renowned trombonist Dan Barrett, Niesterok presents “Stepping Forward.” Reflecting on his latest endeavor, Niesterok shares, “The first two albums taught me valuable lessons. However, in the wake of the Covid era, I sensed a new creative urge within me, prompting me to explore uncharted musical territories.” This fresh outlook led him to collaborate with esteemed musicians, including pianist Thilo Wagner, guitarist Rolf Marx, and bassist Henning Gailing, all of whom command respect in both the German and global swing music scenes.

The album’s selection of repertoire mirrors a guiding philosophy that runs throughout the entire recording: a deep-rooted desire to curate a collection of songs characterized by their enchanting melodies, providing a delightful experience for musicians to perform and, in turn, eliciting positive emotions from the audience.

“Stepping Forward” kicks off with the lively title track, showcasing Thimo Niesterok and pianist Thilo Wagner’s impressive virtuosity, setting the album’s swinging tone right from the start. The chemistry between the two musicians shines as they deliver a masterclass in swing phrasing.

The album then transitions to “Rose Room,” a vintage tune from 1917 by Art Hickman. Here, the tempo slows down, allowing for a captivating muted trumpet solo by Niesterok. The historical reference to San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel, where Hickman’s band once performed, adds a layer of depth to the music. Following that, “Dickie’s Dream,” originally composed by Lester Young and Count Basie, receives a fresh arrangement that retains its Basie essence while introducing inventive twists. Guitarist Rolf Marx takes center stage, impressing with his “Freddie Green” style comping and an outstanding solo. These tracks, along with others on the album, highlight the musicians’ expertise in delivering soulful and innovative interpretations of classic jazz standards.


When listening to “Stepping Forward,” it’s evident that Thimo Niesterok is well-versed in this style. The album’s performances not only highlight his position as a leading figure among the new generation of swing musicians but also his ability to assemble a group of exceptional musicians and create an album that embodies the spirit of swing, fulfilling Niesterok’s primary goal of bringing happiness to listeners.

Mark your calendars for the release of “Stepping Forward” via Mons Records on October 20th, 2023. The album will be available on CD and all major streaming platforms. The first single and accompanying video, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” dropped on September 8th, followed by the second single “‘Tis Autumn“. The third single and video “I’m Crazy ‘Bout My Baby” was released today. Prepare to step into the swinging world of Thimo Niesterok, where jazz enthusiasts will undoubtedly find joy and inspiration.

1. Steppin’ Forward | 2. Rose Room | 3. Dickie’s Dream | 4. ‘Tis Autumn | 5. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was | 6. Night Stroll | 7. I’m Crazy ‘Bout My Baby | 8. Time On My Hands | 9. Come Rain Or Come Shine | 10. Home | 11. Pennies From Heaven

Thimo Niesterok, trumpet | Thilo Wagner, piano | Rolf Marx, guitar | Henning Gailing, bass

Release Date: 20 October
Format: CD | Streaming
Label: Mons Records

Last modified: October 6, 2023