New York-based saxophonist Dennis Brandner has built a reputation in recent years as a musician of extraordinary technical sophistication, a creative approach to composition, and an improviser of lyrical yet exciting content. Born in Wolfsberg, Carinthia, Austria, a generous scholarship from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music led him to the Big Apple in 2008, where he completed his master's degree in 2015, during which time he also had the opportunity to take lessons from jazz greats such as Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille, Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Steve Wilson, Walt Weiskopf, and Seamus Blake. His accomplishments resulted in, among other things, tenure as a saxophone and ensemble instructor and teacher of jazz theory and improvisation at City College (a position he still holds), as well as performances with world-class musicians - among them keyboard legend Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Don Menza, but also the New York Jazzharmonic Orchestra, Craig Harris, Franz Hackl and Adam Holzman.
One of his own European projects is the new trio Invisible Ink with bassist Philipp Kienberger and drummer Hubert Bründlmayer. Another is the present electro-acoustic trio Still Head, whose music is in the broadest sense in the realm of contemporary jazz. The influences, however, are as diverse as the points of origin: not only the jazz scene of New York leaves its traces in the compositions, but also the latest developments in European electronic music. The exploration of the peculiarities and possibilities of combining acoustic and electronic instruments is just as relevant as wide-ranging dynamics, an open approach to form and the most diverse sound concepts.
Dennis Brandner (saxophone), Roman Rofalski (synthesizer, electronics), Felix Schlarmann (drums)
The music of Still Head is characterized by all three band members. In addition to Brandner, these are German pianist and composer Roman Rofalski, who holds a professorship in Hanover, and Amsterdam-based German drummer Felix Schlarmann, who teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Rofalski has dedicated his musical work to constant change, experimenting with a wide variety of genres - from classical literature to popular music to jazz to new music and experimental electronics. He is a permanent member of the Oh Ton-Ensemble for contemporary music, devotes himself to experiments between analog and digital, and works with jazz musicians such as Eric Harland, Peter Bernstein, Joe Lovano, Tony Moreno and David Berkman. Schlarmann's work also encompasses a range of different activities, whether as a member of the Amsterdam Splendor Collective for musicians and composers, as director of the Jazzfest Amsterdam or in collaboration with musicians such as Joel Frahm, Dave Douglas, Tineke Postma, Ernst Glerum, Michael Moore, Luis Bonilla, Jasper van't Hof or Harmen Fraanje.