Austrian band SHAKE STEW has become something of a phenomenon.
With their premiere at Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2016 and their following debut The Golden Fang they seemingly exploded into the scene out of nowhere. Since then their high energy mixture of hypnotic afrobeat and jazz grooves has made them enormously successful not only on home turf but across Europe. Led by rising star bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder they quickly became one of the hottest live acts on the circuit, while the impact of their second album Rise and Rise again (featuring Shabaka Hutchings) enabled them to spread their unique sound further afield, including an extensive tour of Canada, Mexico, Morocco and stand out shows at prestigious festivals like Montreal, Rochester and North Sea Jazz Festival.
Shake Stew’s unusual configuration of 2 drummers, 2 bass players and 3 horns is one of the key things that make this 7-piece band stand out. The percussive rhythm section of Nikolaus Dolp and Mathias Koch, along with 2 bassists, Lukas Kranzelbinder and Oliver Potratz, create the soundboard for three of the most impressive wind players on the European scene – Clemens Salesny, Johannes Schleiermacher and Mario Rom – to fully let rip. This instrumentation, which at first seems a little strange, seamlessly blends together, creating the trademark Shake Stew high-energy sound that their reputation has been built on. The addition of the Guembri (Moroccan bass lute) – something Kranzelbinder has been playing with for a while now – and flute, add yet more texture to what is already a complex balance of sounds. With all 9 tracks on Gris Gris written by band leader Kranzelbinder, Shake Stew have once again pulled the rabbit from the hat and produced an album which encapsulates their ferocious spirit and passion – something that is only outmatched by their unique energy during live shows!