Nils Kugelmann: Stormy Beauty

Without using any words, young German bassist leads piano and drums in explorations of unexpected love, the power of nature and the like


Young Munich-born Kugelmann shows plenty of flair and energy on this, his debut recording for ACT. Interested in music from an early age, and trying out various instruments including clarinet, piano, keyboards and bass, he then pursued formal studies on clarinet and in composition. He’s already won a clutch of prestigious awards and listening to the material on Stormy Beauty it is not hard to understand why.

With great support from Zambito and Wolfgruber, the trio sounds like it has been playing together for some considerable time, with its tightly knit and fluid sound. The inventiveness and the quick changes of mood and tempo along with an intensity to the music are very reminiscent of the work of Martin Tingvall.

Kugelmann uses his compositions to explore themes such as unexpected love and the wonder and power of nature. Despite the often searching, exploratory nature of the compositions, they are accessible and engaging. The title track plays with different timings and patterns in a way that reflects what you’ll hear in some of the recordings of Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bartsch.

The album concludes with the lovely Song For A Golden Blossom – a questioning, scurrying, yet melodic piece of work that manages to encapsulate all the excellent qualities of composition and performance to be heard throughout Stormy Beauty. A fine listen.

About The Moment Of Beginning; Unexpected Love; Symphony For The Rain; Finding Your Place; Late Change; Stormy Beauty; Final Run; Wild Leaves Falling; Song For A Golden Blossom (55.03)
Kugelmann (b); Luca Zambito (p); Sebastian Wolfgruber (d). No location, April 2022.
ACT 9684-2