Shake Stew band members:
Lukas Kranzelbinder - bass
Clemens Salesny - alto saxophone
Johnny Schleiermacher - tenor saxophone
Mario Rom - trumpet
Manuel Mayr - bass
Niki Dolp - drums, percussion
Mathias Koch - drums, percussion
When you often read about Shake Stew as Austria's jazz band "of the hour" at this point, it's not entirely true. However, what has developed since the founding of this exceptional formation, brought to life in 2016 by bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder, is also not so easy to summarize. With their premiere at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival and the subsequent debut album "The Golden Fang," Shake Stew started a run of success through the ears of Europe virtually out of nowhere, and it hasn't seemed to let up since.
After causing a sensation as a stage band at Vienna's Porgy & Bess club in spring 2017, it didn't take long for the really big festivals to take notice of them as well. The fact that a young Austrian formation already in its third year of existence has invitations to the Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Frankfurt Jazz Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival, as well as appearances from Jazz au Chellah in Morocco to the Eurojazz Festival in Mexico, is absolutely unique in this form. The daily Der Standard described Shake Stew as "magical," the "Presse" ran the headline "Das Wunderensemble," and when the septet presented its second album, "Rise and Rise Again," in 2018, Klaus Nüchtern also picked up on the hype surrounding the band in the weekly der FALTER: "Of course, a domestic jazz combo can never reach such geilomatous stratospheres of hipness and meaningfulness as Wanda or Bilderbuch, but if anyone has managed to come close, it's Shake Stew.
The Ascent Never Stops!" From then on, it was only a matter of time before international media also took notice of the band of the "Basssenkrechtstarter" (Süddeutsche Zeitung) Lukas Kranzelbinder, and so something unprecedented in this form happened in September 2018: the German weekly DIE ZEIT sent its journalist Ulrich Stock to Munich for a whole five days to closely follow and report on the band's summer residency at the Jazzclub Unterfahrt. This resulted in a full-page report in the feature section of the quality newspaper, which boiled over with euphoria: "What I heard blew me away. Grandiose rhythms, melting horns, hypnotic funk-beat-swing-afro-jazz-rock-rhythm-and-something. I was so spellbound, I could hardly stand up. By now I know other listeners have had similar initiatory experiences; something emanates from this band that is new and special - and immensely appealing."
And so Shake Stew's status as the Austrian jazz band "of the hour" has now lasted for several weeks and months - indeed, soon to be years - and anyone who was able to witness the septet's two-day guest performance at Porgy & Bess earlier this year knows why NDR is already calling Shake Stew a "cult band." Both evenings sold out, a total of almost 900 listeners* crowded into the club to hear the latest sounds of the formation so unusually occupied with two drums, two basses and three horns.
Now the time has come and while the sounds of the last album are still clearly in the ear, new material of a - at least for the time being - seemingly inexhaustible musical output is already being sent into the world: "Gris Gris" is the title of Shake Stew's already third studio album and already the mysterious title serves as an indicator for the unique sound journey on which the band takes its listeners this time.