Heinrich von Kalnein & Sophie Min: Intertwined Trees

Flute and piano duo drawing from jazz and classical music reminds of Bill Evans' work with flautists but is pleasingly individual


Intertwined Trees is the first collaboration, and first recording, of German flautist Heinrich von Kalnein and Australian pianist Sophie Min. This delightful duo draw from both jazz and classical traditions in almost equal measure, I reckon. Most compositions are by Sophie Min, with two – #2 and #5 – by von Kalnein, and one (#4) jointly-composed – “jointly-composed” suggesting to me that it is freely improvised.

The history of the album can be traced to the pair’s invitation for a duo performance at the 2022 Perth Jazz Festival. They began by rehearsing at Queensland Conservatory in Sophie’s present home town, Brisbane. Then a few weeks later, after the festival and on the day of their departure back to Europe, they entered the recording studio to cut Intertwined Trees.

The approach is discursive, and there is lovely flute playing and good variety in the approach to piano. The flute lines in particular seem to transcend style in an original and very pleasing fashion. The combination of flute and piano recalls Bill Evans’s collaborations with Jeremy Steig and Herbie Mann. And it reminds me of one of my favourite jazz anecdotes, when Mann performed with his great rival Sam Most. Mann’s fans chanted “Mann is the most”, while his rival’s chanted “Most is the man”. 

Hopefully someday – maybe it’s already happened? – Heinrich von Kalnein will be greeted with “Heinrich is the most…” But till then, I look forward to hearing more from his excellent duo with Sophie Min. The album appears on Natango Music, Kalnein’s label platform, in both CD and download formats.

Intertwined Trees; Hoping; Black Suitcase; Free Flow; Triangle; Mole; Western Sunsets; Indelibility (47.35)
von Kalnein (f); Min (p). Perth, Australia, 6 November 2022.
Natango Music