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Ben Kraef (ts), Bernhard Ludescher (p), Tom Berkmann (b),
Mathias Ruppnig (dr)
Contemporary Jazz

The group Kraef/Ludescher/Berkmann/Ruppnig consists of four Berlin based musicians who are coming together for the first time in this constellation. Living in Berlin as a musician is a delightful experience because the scene in jazz remains fresh and open. All 4 of those incredible musicians have played countless gigs and sessions in and around Berlin with one another in different constellations. Therefore it is a very special occasion to see them all in one place for this concert. They will play a fine array of well selected original compositions that will gain new colors and shapes through the interpretation of this unique musicians. Allthough all of the musicians come from a traditional jazz background, the compositions will shed light on every aspect of the musical spectrum and genres, striving for the unexpected.
Ben Kraef – saxophone
Ben Kraef is a German-Montenegrin saxophonist and composer based in Berlin. Ben graduated from the University of Music “Hanns Eisler”, Berlin. In 2007 he relocated to New York City on a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and obtained a Master of Arts from The City College of New York in 2009. In the past years Ben has won international acclaim in form of several prizes and awards, among these most notably the Biberacher Jazzpreis (2006), the “Concours International de Jazz de Fribourg” (2007), the Yamaha Saxophone Contest (2007), and the Billie Stoller Scholarship to an outstanding scholar and musician from The City College of New York (2008). Ben’s activities as a performer have included his membership in the renowned National German Youth Big Band (BuJazzO), where he was part of the concert line- up for a total of three years.He has had the chance to perform throughout Europe, the Middle East, as well as southern Africa and Japan.The list of internationally renowned musicians Ben has been performing and recording with includes Lalo Schifrin, Archie Shepp, Phil Woods, John Abercrombie, Fred Hersch, Gunther Schuller, Tania Maria, Jim McNeely, Peter Herbolzheimer, David Gilmore, Jeff „Tain“ Watts, George Garzone, Herb Geller, Vincent Herring, Pee Wee Ellis, Tony Lakatos, Ari Hoenig, Lonnie Plaxico, Charles Tolliver, and Yoshiaki Masuo. Ben has also performed with several well-known pop groups, among these „Wir Sind Helden“ and Joy Denalane.He recorded two albums as a leader. The first one, ‘Berlin – New York’, was released in 2010 on ACT and features bassist John Patitucci, drummer Marcus Gilmore, and pianist Rainer Boehm.His second record, ‘Think of One’ (shoebill music), was recorded in a trio setting with drummer Albert Tootie Heath and John Patitucci.
Bernhard Ludescher – piano
Bernhard Ludescher has established a lot of different projects in Austria with the main project being Loktor and also started to work as a producer for various artists such as Maria Rerych (aka Mareea) which resulted in the CD release of her debut album „Out of the Shadows“ in 2018. Bernhard’s band Loktor was founded in 2013 and released their debut CD „Loktor of Heaven“ in 2015, plus a series of videos which lead to concerts all over Europe. Loktor won the Joe Zawinul Award soon after the initiation in 2014. While continuing to work as a live pianist and keyboarder for several jazz and funk based projects he founded the electronic Project „DX-Digital“ in 2018 to continue pursuing a more electronic approach to music. After living in Vienna and Graz, Bernhard moved to Berlin in 2016, where he quickly established to be a well sought pianist/keyboardist in many jazz/funk and pop projects.
Tom Berkmann – bass
Tom Berkmann is a German musician based in Berlin. He studied double bass at the Jazz Institut Berlin and at Manhattan School of Music in New York as a DAAD scholar. He was a semifinalist in the International Double Bass Competition „Bass 2010“, received the German Academy Award for „Best Film Score“ in 2013 and won the German Critics Award at the Berlin Film Festival for the Soundtrack of the feature movie „Oh Boy“. The Album of his latest project “Scopes” – that he is co-leading with drummer Mathias Ruppnig – was highly praised by “Downbeat Magazine” and “All About Jazz” among others. It was released on the British label Whirlwind Recordings in 2019 and features Ben van Gelder and Tony Tixier. As a sideman Tom can be heard on various Albums, including Tobias Meinhart’s Berlin People featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel.
Mathias Ruppnig – drums
Austrian drummer and composer Mathias Ruppnig is an indemand musician in theBerlin jazz scene. With his own projects „Mathias Ruppnig Quintet“, „DACH“ andSCOPES he tours Europe and Asia regularly. He completed both a Bachelor andMaster’s Degree at the University of Music and Performing Arts, in Graz, Austria. As aleader and composer he released already four records on well established labels suchas british based Whirlwind Recordings.In 2014, he won the „Downbeat Award for College Graduate OutstandingPerformance“ in the Latin group category with the KUG Composers’ Ensemble. Since2018 Mathias is a member of the Tobias Meinhart 4tet & Kurt Rosenwinkel (Sunnyside Records).