Wolfgang Haffner: Silent World

German drummer is joined by Bill Evans, Nils Langren, Till Brönner et al in a set of light, mellifluous fusion recalling Metheny, WR, Hancock


Pandemic lockdowns continue to influence the music we’re hearing in 2023. Silent World contains several compositions that drummer and composer Wolfgang Haffner wrote at that time.

Given the bleak circumstances in which the music came about, there is a wonderfully upbeat and life-affirming nature to the tracks. Indeed, as Haffner himself writes: “The album is about a commitment to life and a return to the origins.”

Working with some hugely talented musicians, he has produced a crisp, engaging album, built around simplicity and clarity that really engages the listener right the way through. Hear And Now is a brisk, optimistic opener, with Bill Evans leading things on soprano sax and taking the theme to soaring heights.

Haffner is a wonderful drummer, always at the heart of the music with his intricate but accessible rhythms; it’s like hearing an finely tuned mechanism ticking away. He often takes the music in unexpected directions, most notably on the haunting, moody La Casa, which opens with a sweep of Studnitzky’s trumpet and vocals from Alma Naidu, with Haffner building a layered, trance-like rhythm to develop the tension as the song develops. It’s beautifully controlled, dramatic and captivating.

Elsewhere, ACT stalwarts like Nils Landgren and Till Bronner add a touch of magic to the tracks on which they feature. Overall, Silent World proves again that from the most testing of circumstances, the most inspirational creativity can emerge. A standout album so early in 2023.

Here And Now; Silent World; La Casa; The Peace Inside; Faro; Yoyo: Life Magic; Rise And Fall; Hope; Belief; Forever And Ever (51.49)
Haffner (d); Simon Oslender (p, kyb); Thomas Stieger, Nicolas Fiszman (b); Sebastian Studnitzky (t); Bill Evans (ss); Till Brönner (flh); Nils Landgren (tb); Dominic Miller (g); Mitchel Forman, Eythor Gunnarsson (kyb, syn); Alma Naidu (v); Rhani Krija (pc); Bruno Müller (elg); Norbert Nagel, Marc Wyand (s, f, cl). Germany, May 2022.
ACT Records 9963-2