Once known as a techno city, Berlin has quietly become the capital for jazz bands in recent years. While the queues in front of the techno clubs become shorter and shorter, the city is slowly converting into a melting pot for all sorts of musicians and artists with amazing instrumentalists, producers and bands from all over the world moving to the German capital to create a new scene. As a result, Berlin has come out with some of the craziest, non-conformist types of music. Toy Tonics sister label Kryptox has started to establish itself as a key platform for this new scene.
One of the protagonists of this scene is Joel Holmes, the former band leader of Carl Craig’s synthesizer ensemble and keyboarder of (Grammy-nominated) cult band Roy Hargrove. Joel Holmes’ new album ‘Into The Abyss’ is a perfect capturing of the current moment in Berlin. The album features other main players of its new scene such as Ziggy Zeitgeist from Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange, as well as tapping into international talent such as acclaimed flutist Tenderlonious from London.
Few people bridge the gap between jazz and electronic music as successfully as Holmes. Over the past years, he’s been working with some of jazz’s most relevant artists, incl. Roy Hargrove, Curtis Fuller, Javon Jackson, Nnenna Freelon, Curtis Lundy and Jimmy Cobb. Once tapped into electronic music too, he made records with legends such as Carl Craig. Working with techno artists made him curious about the new dance scene, resulting in his moved to Berlin, where he quickly started making music with the likes of Cody Currie and Kapote.
Joel describes the album in his own words as follows: “The next album “Into the Abyss” is the first time I recorded music through the lens of different landscapes and on 2 different continents reflecting the times of today’s music that is mirroring what is happening in our communities and worlds today. From dark colors to light, music is so diverse, and I tried to reflect this in my album. This is also the first time I have had this many special guests on an album. So I’m excited about this.“
Album release: 05.05.23