There are blogs that write about the great famous jazz musicians who we all know and love – those who release under ACT, ECM, Blue Note, etc – but there are also some brilliant local, niche jazz blogs that give a lot of space to artists who are not internationally recognised…yet!
We check out a LOT of jazz media outlets (partly to decide which ones best suit the album campaigns we’re working on) which means spending a lot of time reading reviews and discovering music we’ve never heard about before.
Of course, many of these niche European jazz websites write mostly about their local scene; reviewing self-released CDs as well as live gigs in their city – but this is actually what we’re looking for sometimes!
So, anyway, here’s my list of some great ‘niche’ jazz blogs & websites in Europe and the sort of music they can help you discover…
And no worries: if these blogs are not in your native language, Google Translate will help you get the “Wow! I have to check this out!” experience as well.
(I’ll avoid all UK sites as we recently covered them in this article about Great British Jazz Blogs & Websites that you should know about)
JAZZPORT (Czech Republic)
There’s a super kind man reviewing for Jazzport (Jan Hocek), you might remember him from our Q&A. He seems to review everything that he receives (I hope that’s not a secret?) and as he’s a real jazz fan and a great writer, it’s a joy reading what he publishes.
Jan writes: “I like reviewing good music! My favorites are contemporary jazz, free jazz and hard bop from the sixties. I also write a lot about free improvisation and classical contemporary 20th century music.”
Recently discovered thanks to Jazzport: Valér Miko Trio
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: Clemens Kuratle’s Murmullo (Lies)
DONOS KULTURALNY (Poland)
Donos Kulturalny is the one-man-show of the journalist Krzysztof Komorek who also writes for the major printed magazine JazzPress and collaborates with the Radio Jazz.FM. It’s focused mostly on releases from independent labels and self edited music from Poland and beyond.
Krzysztof writes: “What I like to review the best? I can’t express the type of music. I like solos as well as chamber projects – duos & piano trios. And finally: unexpected things. When there’s some kind of a surprise during listening.”
Recently discovered thanks to Donos Kulturalny: Hildegunn Øiseth
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: Mulo Francel & Chris Gall (Mythos)
Aside from the fact that I kind of like looking at Hungarian writing (and listening them talk…), Hungarian jazz is a hidden gem worth attention.
Started on March 1st 2011, JazzMa is the leading jazz website in Hungary and run by Róbert Maloschik who was previously jazz editor-in-chief of Bartok Radio (the classical and jazz station of Hungarian Radio).
Róbert writes: “Between 1975 and 2010 I made 1037 jazz programs which I think it’s an absolute world record! And from 1995 till today me and my lovely wife Gabriella organised more than 1200 jazz concerts, too. We invited such world star jazz musicians like Pat Metheny, Al Jarreau, Jack DeJohnette, John Patitucci, Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Omar Hakimn Eliane Elias, Jan Garbarek, Randy Brecker… Between 1998 and 2013 I organized 12 talent competitions. I like modern mainstream jazz. My favourite jazz musicians are Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis”
Recently discovered thanks to Jazzma: Juhasz Gabor Trio
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: Nikol Bóková Trio (Inner Place)
The jazz scenes of small countries are often underestimated and overlooked. That says nothing about their quality though. Why don’t you explore something completely new today? This blog focuses on Slovakian jazz – as well as any international names they like too.
Jazz.sk writes: “The jazz.sk portal is open to all genres of jazz, we are not focused on a specific jazz subgenre. We write about news from the jazz world, as well as from the local scene. An interesting feature of jazz.sk is that in addition to being active on the Internet, we organize the ESPRIT survey – an award for the best Slovak Jazz album of the year, the Jazz START UP competition for young jazz talents and jazz workshops Evening Jazz Ateliers.”
Recently discovered thanks to jazz.sk: Luboš Šrámek & Nikolaj Nikitin
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: NuHussel Orchestra (The Forest)
JazzFlits is a Dutch online magazine which comes out twice a month. They reflect what’s happening in their & neighboring countries but review any albums they like even if they’re totally unknown in the Netherlands.
Recently discovered thanks to JazzFlits: Braskiri
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: Sefrial (Sefrial) in JazzFlits
JAZZBLOG JAZZNYT (Denmark)
There are two jazz sites with very similar names; one of them is the Danish jazz blog and the other one is from Norway: Jazznytt Magazine. I’m referring here to the Danish one – the owner and the only author Niels Overgård writes astute, concise reviews – which also means that you can read more of them…
Niels writes: “Jazznyt is focusing on jazz from a danish perspective. There’s a broadminded and curious taste that goes beyond the borders of jazz. Free, funny, fragile, fusionistic, fertile, fantastic, funky and loads of other jazz-styles. Over 200 yearly posts with reviews of new releases from Denmark, Scandinavia, Europe and the whole wide world of wonderful jazz.”
Recently discovered thanks to Jazznyt: Carsten Meinert
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: Blicher Hemmer Gadd (Get That Motor Runnin’)
I like their straightforward review style: you find out who played with whom and where you know their name from. They put albums into a wider context and usually go quite deeply into musicians’ history. Plus you’ll find many interesting interviews they’ve done with musicians.
JazzAround: “The name of our webzine (a real magazine till 2004) tells the line we are following from the start, around is almost as important as the word jazz is. It means that on Mondays Robert Sacré writes about blues, gospel. Robert is a well known connoisseur of these genres. Tuesday is the “around day” held by Yves Tassin (from electro to jazz and even alternative pop), Wednesday is the interviews day, on Thursday mostly jazz/jazz from Belgium (Claude Loxhay, Jean-Pierre Goffin), and on Friday free jazz, improvisation by Jean-Miche Van Schouwburg a specialist. We also collaborate sometimes with Citizen Jazz, London Jazz and Jazz’halo.”
Recently discovered thanks to JazzAround: Jean-Paul Estiévenart
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: Andrew Rathbun (Character Study)
SPELLBINDING MUSIC (Ireland)
As the site itself states: Focusing mainly on independent releases, Spellbinding Music operates as a human-generated recommendation engine and instinctively follows two simple threads: it seeks genre-bending and spine-tingling music.
Recently discovered thanks to Spellbinding Music: Hailu Mergia
Recent review via the Jazzfuel press outreach: Søren Bebe Trio (Echoes)