Isabelle Bodenseh (*1969) is a German-French jazz musician, composer and bandleader.
The flutist Isabelle Bodenseh lives near Mainz, Germany, and moves musically across borders in the genres of jazz, rock, classical and world music. The new album of her ISABELLE BODENSEH formation is called "Flowing Mind" (GLM) and documents very impressively her enormous musical range and profound authentic language.
Early on it was clear to the half-Frenchwoman that the classical music studies she had begun with the goal of becoming an orchestral musician were not enough for her. She found the freedom she was looking for neither in classical music nor in the role of an orchestral musician. She found it in jazz and improvised music - after putting aside her orchestral music studies and studying school music in Frankfurt in the early 1990s, Isabelle Bodenseh continued on the path of free music, taking lessons with jazz flutist and composer James Newton in Los Angeles.
After half a year of studies in the home country of jazz, the flutist moved on to Cuba. In Havana, thanks to a one-year scholarship from the DAAD, she was able not only to study Afro-Cuban flute and Latin jazz flute with the most renowned Cuban musicians, but also to study composition with Andrés Alén and go on concert tour with Cuban bands.
Since then, Isabelle Bodenseh has brought her musical expertise from all over the world to many different projects. She has performed in formations such as Chantal (3 albums), Verquer, Son Aché, La Serena (6 albums) or with the Sisters in Jazz International, as well as being a guest musician with Richie Beirach, or as a theater and studio musician in over 30 CD productions, which also include playalongs for the renowned Schott and Artist Ahead sheet music publishers.
In 2016, in addition to teaching improvisation at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt am Main since 2000, she founded the "JAZZ Á LA FLUTE" platform to bring the flute more intensively into the jazz spotlight. On this basis was born not only an academy for improvisation, but above all her heart project, a duo with Lorenzo Petrocca, with whom she recorded the albums "The good life" (Invivio records) and "Essenza"(GLM) in 2017 & 2020. Over the years she expanded the flute family beyond the "normal" flute still with alto and the particularly interesting bass transverse flute. The ISABELLE BODENSEH formation with flute, guitar, Hammond organ and drums that emerged in 2018 is reminiscent of recordings of the 60s with guitarist George Benson and flutist Joe Farrell, especially in the first album "Mrs Bo's cookbook" (2018, HGBSblue). Bodenseh's band with Lorenzo Petrocca on guitar, Thomas Bauser on Hammond organ and Lars Binder on drums forms a perfect rhythm section over which the flute can generously unfold and launch soloistic flights of fancy. In addition to radiant melodic passages, the funky and percussive aspect is by no means neglected here. Tours have already taken the versatile flutist with her dynamic and energetic charisma all over Europe. The new, now fourth album with the lyrical and profound flute voice has received great international recognition in over 40 reviews.
"It is the human factor of Isabelle Bodenseh's music: breathing, flowing, floating - life. One experiences an exciting, unpredictable, ever-surprising quartet that can breathe life into every fiber of even the most austere arrangements....
Flowing Mind is a work of art in every sense."
Jazzthetik, Lothar Trampert
" Ms. Bodenseh's playing is of an unadulterated purity. In these works we experience the uninhibited exuberance of her playing as well as an otherworldly trance. Everywhere it is noticeable that the tonal balance in this memorable performance is gloriously exact."
JazzdaGama, Raul da Gama
Isabelle Bodenseh: Flowing Mind
Isabelle Bodenseh: C-, Alt- und Bassquerflöte
Lorenzo Petrocca: Gitarre
Thomas Bauser: Hammond Orgel
Lars Binder: Schlagzeug
In the last five years a couple of albums by Isabelle Bodenseh (the last being “Essenza” with Lorenzo Petrocca on guitar, GLM EC587-2) have drawn attention to the remarkably gifted German flutist with French roots. A musician who constantly amazes with her personality and performance she is gaining long overdue popular recognition. An improvising soloist and skillful composer with a sense of flowing melodic lines, a strong sense of rhythm, a wealth of playing techniques, and an extremely rich tonal palette on a variety of flutes, Isabelle is a complete musician whose combination of classical training, experience in modern and latin jazz, flamenco, rock, salsa (to name a few), and her curiosity to step beyond, allows her to tell her own stories.
The 4th album “Flowing Mind” includes five memorable melodies by herself and one by each of the other three musicians of her regular working band: guitar wizard Lorenzo Petrocca, organ virtuoso Thomas Bauser and the master of brushes and sticks, Lars Binder.
While the sound of a Hamond trio is reminiscent of the 1950s to 1970s, the combination with the flute, which was relatively rare (Jerome Richardson, Hubert Laws, and Herbie Mann come to mind), remains fresh, unspent, and appealing, especially when approached with so much inventiveness. A constantly swinging, grooving unit by four master musicians challenged by intriguing tunes.
Marcus A. Woelfle, Bayerischer Rundfunk
- ISABELLE BODENSEH: Flowing Mind, GLM Music, 2023
- JAZZ Á LA FLUTE: Essenza, GLM Music, 2020
- JAZZ Á LA FLUTE: Mrs Bo’s cookbook, HGBSblue Records, 2018
- JAZZ Á LA FLUTE: The good life, Invivo Records, 2017
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