The Squid's Ear Magazine

Likhachev, Yaroslav Quartet: Occasional Sketches (Clean Feed)

Performing the embracingly angular compositions of Russian-born, German-based saxophonist Yaroslav Likhachev that pivot on hard bop transformed through inventive approaches, since 2016 Likhachev's Quartet with Yannis Anft on piano, Conrad Noll on bass and Moritz Baranczyk on drums have pursued new forms of expression while maintaining jazz, traditions here in nine well-defined "sketches".

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product information:

UPC: 5609063005882

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF588
Squidco Product Code: 32117

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Topaz Studio, in Cologne, Germany, on August 20th, 21st and 22nd, 2021, by Reinhard Kobialka.


Yaroslav Likhachev-tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

Yannis Anft-piano

Conrad Noll-bass

Moritz Baranczyk-drums

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Russian-born but part of the German scene for some years now, saxophonist Yaroslav Likhachev is a notorious example of a generation of musicians committed to renewing the jazz tradition, never afraid of going far in that task but at the same time respecting the past with particular devotion.

A former pupil of the avantgarde reeds player Frank Gratkowski, one of the greatest in Europe, and like him very much focused on finding new paths for the practice of improvisation, be it in association with written music or completely free, Likhachev dives his personal style in the American jazz sound and uses the stylings and the vocabulary of bebop and hard bop as the solid basis of a methodic experimental work. His music is fluid, each situation driving us to the following one, without sudden breaks but always in surprising ways.

Nothing is superfluous, and nothing is less than what is needed at the moment: the sense of balance is astonishing all along these "sketches" also thanks to an impeccable communication between the band's players Yannis Anft (piano), Moritz Baranczyk (drums) and Conrad Noll (bass). We needed something like this in the present troubled times."-Clean Feed

Artist Biographies

"Russian born (1991) and Cologne (Germany) based tenor saxophonist Yaroslav Likhachev took up a career as a jazz musician at the age of sixteen after many years of classical piano education.

The decision to follow the jazz path came after a live concert of the legendary American saxophonist Benny Golson, which unexpectedly took place in his hometown in the far Siberia. The concert was like a shock which pushed Yaroslav to jump into the jazz world with great enthusiasm and inspiration.

His former saxophone teacher at the College of Music in Novosibirsk encouraged him to take part in different International Competitions and Festivals and to continue his studies in Europe after the Diploma graduation .

Yaroslav´s wish to discover new styles of jazz brought him to saxophone player Prof. Wolfgang Engstfeld in Cologne, one of the greatest names of german modern jazz. During his four years of Bachelor study at the The Cologne University of Music (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln) he also had the possibility to have lessons with the extraordinary avantgarde saxophonist Frank Gratkowski, who showed the him new sides of the instrument, towards a more experimental new music approach.

He also attended master classes and workshops by Mark Turner, Branford Marsalis, Scott Robinson etc. who helped him to get closer to the spirit of the American jazz scene.

©Andreas Daschner

Yaroslav is currently working on different musical projects, always following multiple directions of music, running parallel to the "hot" roots of the Bebop and to the new experimental sounds of jazz.

The musical "credo" that he adopts to write his original compositions, is explained by his commitment to create and perform music that reflects the echoes of the traditional jazz style but also goes in constant searching for personal and innovative ideas.Furthermore, Yaroslav is a truly art enthusiast and his music often takes inspiration from other art forms - above all photography, a field that he considers as particularly close to his musicianship of improvisation artist.

He regularly performs with his Quartet, formed in 2015 (Yaroslav Likhachev Quartet) in some important jazz clubs, like Loft (Köln), Stadtgarten (Köln), Jazz-Schmiede (Düsseldorf) etc.

Particularly fascinated by the powerful and complex sound of Big bands took part in the last years in numerous Festivals and Tours, like Moers Festival, Kölner Musiknacht, JazzTube Festival Bonn, Karlovy Vary JazzFest (CZ), Theater Plzeň (CZ).

Yaroslav is also active as a music educator in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and shares his musical passion with his students, having experienced himself the extreme importance of mentorship in the process of learning and discovering music.

At the present time Yaroslav Likhachev is continuing his Master Studies at the Folkwang University of the Arts (Folkwang Universität der Künste) in Essen, under the tuition of Prof. Matthias Nadolny.

In the year 2018, the Yaroslav Likhachev quartet was awarded a scholarship by the Werner Richard-Dr. Carl Dörken Stiftung.

Best Instrumentalist Prize(Prix du Meilleur Instrumentiste) - Tremplin Jazz d'Avignon 2019, France.

Individual Soloist Award(Nagroda Indywidualna) - Krokus Jazz Festiwal 2019, Poland.

Finalist of Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis 2020 (New German Jazz Award)."

-Yaroslav Likhachev Website (

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"Yannis Anft (* 1993) is a German jazz musician ( piano, composition). Live and act

Anft grew up in Cologne. After a predominantly classical piano training, his interest in jazz began to develop. This was followed by private piano lessons with Hans Lüdemann and in 2012/13 with André Nendza at the Jazz Haus Schule, preparation for studying music. Since autumn 2013 he has been studying jazz piano at the Cologne University of Music and Dance with teachers such as Jürgen Friedrich, Hubert Nuss and Sebastian Gramss.

Anft is active in several bands such as the Salomea Project around Rebekka Ziegler, Leif Bergers Der harte Kern, the quintet by Moritz Wesp and the quartet by Lisa Wulff. With his own Yannis Anft Trio, which (with Alexander Dawo and Leif Berger) released the album Fluff on Toy Piano Records in 2017, he was one of the finalists for the Young German Jazz Prize in 2016. Concerts and tours with various projects took Anft through Germany and to the Jazzablanca Festival in Morocco."

-Wikipedia (

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"Conrad Noll (born April 10, 1991 is a German jazz musician ( double bass, composition0.

Noll initially had classical cello lessons from the age of eight. In his youth he became interested in jazz and from 2007 he taught himself how to play the double bass before finally making it his main instrument. He then studied double bass at the Cologne University of Music and Dance (Bachelor 2016).

He has been playing in the HNK Trio with pianist Felix Hauptmann and drummer Fabian Knzer since 2009. In 2011, the trio took second place at the national meeting Jugend jazzt and thus received the DLF Studio Prize. The trio subsequently recorded their first album First Steps (2012), followed by a second album on Unit Records in 2014 (together with saxophonist Florian Boos). Besides this, he was active in various formations, such as in Sebastian Gramss ' Bassmasse (album Schwarm, 2014), the quartet of Yaroslav Likhachev and the quintet ofDaniel Tamayo. With his own Conrad's Quintet (with Jan Klinkenberg, Thomas Esch, David Heiss, Daniel Filbert) he mainly plays his own compositions and arrangements of compositions by the double bass player Oscar Pettiford."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) (

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Moritz Baranczyk: "Born in Aachen (born in '84), he was given his first drum set at the age of four; After years of lessons with Stefan Kremer and Edgar Liebert, from 2005 he studied jazz and pop drums at the Maastricht Conservatory with Arnoud Gerritse and Ron van Stratum and continued to enjoy lessons with Jonas Burgwinkel, Hendrik Smock and Ted Poor(US);

He also attended workshops by Antonio Sanchez, Loren Stillman, John Abercrombie, Joost Nickel and the New York band Guttbucket, among others. Moritz' broad musical interest is also reflected in his work as a drummer and drum teacher: he is active in various areas from jazz to pop, funk & soul to hip hop and gospel styles, electronic music, avant-garde and free improvisation."

-Real Live Jazz DE (Translated by Google) (

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Track Listing:

1. O.S. #3 06:27

2. O.S. #4 05:41

3. O.S. #2 05:34

4. O.S. #6 07:27

5. O.S. #5 04:16

6. O.S. #8 01:59

7. O.S. #1 05:10

8. O.S. #7 06:04

9. pre O.S. 04:56

Related Categories of Interest:

Clean Feed
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Quartet Recordings
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New in Improvised Music
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