The Squid's Ear Magazine

Jim & The Schrimps (Jim Black / Asger Nissen / Julius Gawlik / Felix Henkelhausen): Ain't No Saint (Intakt)

"Jim" is US drummer & composer Jim Black working in Berlin, and The Shrimps are the trio of bassist Felix Henkelhausen and the two-sax front line of Germans, Asger Nissen on alto and Julius Gawlik on tenor, finding a rapport and common approach to free improv, they formed to perform & record Black's assertive compositions influenced by the tradition of Black American jazz.

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product information:

Includes a 16-page booklet with liner notes by Peter Margasak, photos and discographic information.

UPC: 7640120193973

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: ITK397.2
Squidco Product Code: 33079

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels w/ booklet
Recorded at Hansa Studios, in Berlin, Germany, on August 17th and 18th, 2022, by Nanni Johansson.


Jim Black-drums, composer

Asger Nissen-alto saxophone

Julius Gawlik-tenor saxophone

Felix Henkelhausen-acoustic bass

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Drummer and bandleader Jim Black has been one of the most influential figures in progressive jazz since the nineties. In this new formation, Black brings together the young musicians Asger Nissen, Julius Gawlik, Felix Henkelhausen, who are among the most original and articulate voices of European jazz innovation, with the same basic instrumentation as two of the greatest bands Black has propelled and helped shape from behind the kit: Tim Berne's Bloodcount and the collective Endangered Blood. The music of this energetic quartet has a feverish intensity and from the first note the quartet's music goes straight for the jugular. Many influences and ideas come together without ever resorting to genre-hopping. "The music thrives on immediacy, and in some ways it's a visceral rejection of any kind of passivity"-Peter Margasak, liner notes

"Ain't No Saint (Intakt Records, Switzerland), by Jim & The Shrimps, is headed by drummer Jim Black. His Shrimps are bassist Felix Henkelhausen with two sax men-Julius Gawlik on tenor and Asger Nissen on alto. They play a kind of instrumental freak-out. Avant-Garde Prog. Progressive to the max. What may seem like jazz at first morphs into the unknown within minutes. It's wild and may take some getting used to. But that right there is its brilliance. Stick it in your ear. It's good for you. Let your mind wander during their incessant noodling. It has a feverish intensity that won't let go. I sat there dumbfounded and literally watched the music cascade out of the speakers. It's dangerous. You may not ever be able to listen to regular music again. It's irregular. Amorphous. Circuitous and meandering when it goes from point A to point B. It'll grab on to your neck with sharp teeth and-like a rabid dog-won't let go."-Mike Greenblatt, Goldmine

Includes a 16-page booklet with liner notes by Peter Margasak, photos and discographic information.

Artist Biographies

Jim Black is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians bringing jazz into the 21st century. In addition to being one of the most influential drummers of our time, he is also the leader of one of the world's most forward-thinking bands, AlasNoAxis, featuring his longtime collaborators Chris Speed, Hilmar Jensson and Skúli Sverrisson. Based on the foundation of his virtuosic but highly personal approach to jazz drumming, Black's aesthetic has expanded to include Balkan rhythms, rock songcraft and laptop soundscapes. Though he is revered worldwide for his limitless technique and futuristic concepts, what many listeners treasure in most Jim Black's work is the relentless feeling of joy and invention he brings to his performances. Jim Black's smiling, kinetic, unpredictable presence has enthralled and inspired audiences worldwide for over twenty-five years.

Since the mid-90's, Black has played a major role in the incorporation of new sounds and techniques into the jazz/creative music context. As a member of the collective group Pachora (with Speed, Sverrisson, and guitarist Brad Shepik) Black was one of the leaders in the study and adaptation of Balkan music into jazz-based music. His advanced techniques abstracted the odd time signatures of the Balkans into a new polyrhythmic language equally informed by modern jazz, drum&bass and the dumbeks of the Balkans. Black has also been an innovator in the use of electronics in improvisation, bridging the gap between electro-acoustic improv and more jazz-based traditions. Today, Black's performances are just as likely to feature his laptop-based electronic textures as his drumming.

Born in 1967, Jim Black grew up in Seattle alongside future colleagues Chris Speed, Andrew D'Angelo and Cuong Vu. After cementing their personal and artistic relationships in Seattle's various youth jazz ensembles, in 1985 they moved to Boston, where Black entered the Berklee School of Music. In Boston, Black, Speed and D'Angelo formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, which rapidly attracted the attention of the jazz cognoscenti in Boston, New York and beyond.

By 1991, Black and the other members of Human Feel had moved to New York City, where they electrified the Downtown music scene then centered around the Knitting Factory and rapidly became among the city's busiest sidemen. Black's early years in New York saw him take featured roles in some of the most critically acclaimed bands of the time, like Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Ellery Eskelin's trio, and Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio. Thus began fifteen years of near-constant touring and recording, with the above bands as well as artists like Uri Caine, Dave Liebman, Nels Cline, Steve Coleman, Tomasz Stanko, and Laurie Anderson.

-Jim Black Website (

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"Asger Nissen is a Danish saxophonist and composer, born in 1996 in Elsinore, Denmark. At the age of 6, Asger's musical interest was sparked as he started Suzuki Violin. Very quickly, he got a taste for jazz music and began to improvise. He later picked up the saxophone and with 13 he started taking jazz saxophone lessons with Peter Fuglsang (DR bigband).

Along with attending Danish high school, Asger did his pre-studies at Elsinore MGK taking lessons with Simon Thorsen and Flemming Agerskov. Already at this time, Asger Nissen was an active part of the Copenhagen Jazz Community, amongst others with the award winning Avant Garde Sextet, ALAWARI.

In autumn 2017, Asger Nissen moved to Berlin, Germany to study his bachelor at the Jazz Institute Berlin (JIB/UdK). At the JIB Asger has been under close guidance by Prof. Peter Weniger (Sax, DE) and Prof. Greg Cohen (Bass, US).

With his strong and emotional sound as well as energetic and curious approach, Asger Nissen has established a strong name within the Jazz circles of Germany. He has been working and performing with artists like Jim Black, Wanja Slavin, Jonas Westergaard, Chris Dell, Otis Sandsjö, Petter Eldh, Uli Kempendorff, Pablo Held, Bernhard Meyer etc.

Asger Nissen has toured in a broad variety of countries like Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and the US."

-Asger Nissen Website (

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Julius Gawlik is a German saxophonist born in 1997 in Halle (Saale), based in Berlin. He is known for the groups BuJazzO, Jim & The Schrimps, Knudsen / Rudzinskis Space Big Band, and NDR bigband.

-Julius Gawlik Website (

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"Felix Henkelhausen was born 1995 in Oldenburg (GE) and started with classical Piano and Cello lessons a an early age. Later he became interested in the DoubleBass and started his Pre-Studies at the HfK Bremn with Prof. Detlev Beier at the age of 16.

Since 2014, Felix is studying at the Jazz-Institut Berlin with Prof. Greg Cohen and Marc Muellbauer. Other mentors have been, Robert Landfermann, Jim Black and Drew Gress.

He performed in Germany, France, Island, Belgium, Poland, Ukraine, China, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Lithuania and the UK.

Despite his young age, Felix has played with national and international renowned musicians such as: Nate Wooley,Toby Delius, Eric Mcpherson, Marc Copland, Jochen Rueckert, Lotte Anker, Andrea Parkins, Achim Kaufmann,

Philipp Gropper´s Philm, Oli Steidle, Jim Black, Pablo Held, Gebhard Ullmann, Wanja Slavin, Peter Schlamb and many others."

-Felix Henkelhausen Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. The Set-Up (For Baikida Carroll) 3:04

2. Snaggs 3:17

3. Asgingforit 5:26

4. Crashbash 2:43

5. Riversgardens 3:43

6. Bellsimmer 4:04

7. Surely 4:53

8. Schrimps BBQ 4:41

9. No Pull 4:44

10. Heyscram 5:41

11. The Once 6:58

12. Bowerdfield 6:07

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Quartet Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
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