Album Review: kanoe, Since You’ve Asked

Written by | CD Reviews, News, Reviews

When looking at the current trend of recording jazz interpretations of popular music, Uwe Schenk and his ensemble, Kanoe have hit the mark, releasing an album featuring highly creative versions of songs from the likes of Scott Walker to Robert Wyatt and St. Vincent. With an emphasis on stripping these compositions down to their essence, bathing them in a new light while avoiding excessive zeal, the result is an LP that embodies lyrical jazz and contemplation.

Schenk, accompanied by seasoned musicians Jochen Feucht, Florian Dohrmann, and Michael Kersting, cultivates a deep appreciation for the beauty of simplicity. Co-producer Andreas Vogel’s keen insight into the resonating pieces, coupled with Schenk’s arrangements rooted in jazz, particularly emphasizing woodwind sounds, sets the stage for Since You’ve Asked. The warm timbre of the clarinet adds a refreshing and unspoiled quality to the compositions, creating an ideal atmosphere for a relaxed set of ballads. The LP, a testament to these ideal conditions, beckons the listener to fully immerse themselves in the soundscape, providing an invitation to dive deep into the music.

Uwe Schenk, a seasoned pianist and multifaceted artist, embarked on his musical journey studying jazz piano in Amsterdam before establishing himself as a freelance musician, composer, and music producer. Post his qualification, Schenk delved into music education and jazz piano, leading him to accompany the vocal group “Honey Pie” for several years. In the mid-90s, he realized his dream of owning a recording studio, now known as Uwarton, providing him with a space to effortlessly materialize his musical ideas. Over the years, Schenk’s versatile career expanded into film music, notably contributing to the crime series “SOKO Stuttgart.”

Moving on to the album in question, “Since You’ve Asked” continues the collaboration seen on his previous release “Redone” with Jochen Feucht and underscore Schenk’s ability to craft unique soundscapes blending the tradition of the  jazz piano trio together with engaging woodwind arrangements, and thereby marking an individual space within the German jazz landscape.

In essence “Since You’ve Asked” presents a captivating collection of ballads that invites listeners into an intimate sonic journey. The opening track, Robert Wyatt’s Shipbuilding, sets the tone with a wonderful piano intro, showcasing a neo-classical touch. Jochen Feucht’s clarinet adds a burst of color, transforming the piece into a full jazz ballad. The transition to St. Vincent’s New York brings a different vibe, a ballad with a lighter atmosphere than the initial track. It’s Raining Today stands out with its double-time straight-eight feel, offering a treat for the ears with beautiful melodic clarinet work and flute overdubs that expand the harmonic voicing.

At Last I Am Free showcases the melodic prowess of bassist Florian Dohrmann, featuring intricate interplay between piano, bass, and clarinet. The rendition of Chic’s original, The Financial Times referred to as the “cracked soul of disco,” takes on a haunting lament on this album. Since You’ve Asked, with its moody pop-infused ballad, combines elements of melody, drama, pensiveness, and elegance. Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You introduces a medium tempo with a pop/blues-inspired soundscape, albeit tinged with dark undertones.

Closing the album with Share a Little Love In Your Heart, the trio employs a lilting 6/8 feel, wrapping up the collection with a sense of warmth. The liner notes aptly describe the album as a vinyl collection of ballads designed for listening, creating a peaceful and meditative atmosphere. While each track stands out individually, the magic lies in their collective impact, making this album a unique and satisfying listening experience. The trio’s understated brilliance, combined with the exceptional addition of Jochen Feucht’s reeds, elevates this recording to a truly special realm. In sum, a wonderful and highly recommended album that, as the liner notes suggest, has the power to make the world a better place, even if just for the duration of the record.

Since You’ve Asked will be available as LP on the 24th of November and can be ordered at the website or found at all retail outlets for vinyl. The album can also be streamed here at Spotify.

Track Listing:
1. Shipbuilding | 2. New York | 3. It´s Raining Today | 4. At Last I Am Free | 5. Since You’ve Asked | 6. If I Ain´t Got You | 7. With Share a Little Love In Your Heart

Uwe Schenk, piano | Jochen Feucht: clarinet, saxophone, flute | Florian Dohrmann, bass | Michael Kersting, drums

Release Date: 24 November 2023
Format: LP | Streaming/
Label: Self Release – Distribution, Cargo


Last modified: November 24, 2023