Nonplaces by Philip Zoubek Trio

2020 WhyPlayJazz (WPJ055), CD + MP3 Album Download

Philip Zoubek Trio »Nonplaces«

Track listing

  1. Alarms  4:29
  2. Mirrors  5:20
  3. Memento  6:28
  4. Silver  5:33
  5. Gorilla  4:07
  6. Remin  5:33
  7. Those  5:45
  8. Kran  5:24
  9. The Other Life  2:37
  10. Mind At Play  6:24
  11. Alarms Postlude  2:31


Philip Zoubek (piano, synthesizer), David Helm (bass), Dominik Mahnig (drums)

Production credits

All compositions by Philip Zoubek. Produced by Philip Zoubek for WhyPlayJazz. Recorded December 2019 by Manuel Egger at suburban Studios, Winterthur. Mixed and mastered by Manuel Egger. Design by Markus Dorninger, based on illustrations by Ernst Häckel. Special thanks to Manuel, Claudia, Roland Schulz, Markus, the Zoubeks and my band mates David and Dominik.

“Nonplaces”, the new CD by the Philip Zoubek Trio, presents an unusual approach to the popular format of the piano trio. The musicians take up the challenge of drawing something new and invigorating out of this classic jazz form. With extreme dynamics, emotive twists and turns, precision and an immense musical joy, they get straight to the point as they step out of the given musical framework to forge their own vision. There is a clarity that only an optimally coordinated organism can deliver. This is an album of inspiring trialogues in constructive spontaneity, a musical departure from the tried and true that has no need of reassurance or support from past role models.

Philip Zoubek envisions “nonplaces” as imaginary places that do not yet fit into the usual categories. This is an ideal formula for his new trio music. As a roundel of eleven compositions, this brilliant trio’s second CD begins with a edgy, gripping, "alarm", and soon thereafter brakes into “Silver”, a ballad of sublimely balanced beauty. All the pieces arise out of an honest radicalism through which three instruments create new worlds. The results: an alluring music that seduces as it draws the listener in. This time the pianist makes even more substantial use of piano preparations and advanced techniques, including the use of synthesizer. The imaginative and fast-paced music interlocks as it elicits an astonishing urgency that challenges and fascinates. This music is complex and simple at the same time; it invites the listener to take part in a creative process towards something truly new, something one would not have expected from a traditional piano trio. The pieces cut to the musical core, as these consummate musicians create characters in a coherent dramaturgy in which improvisation and composition exquisitely separate and combine. Everything stays on point without losing musical mass, as an exciting clarity shines through the multiplicity of ideas. Responsive and complex, with a shimmering logic, this trio creates new worlds, as, in the suburban recording studio in Winterthur, Switzerland, sound engineer Manuel Egger contributes an angular, gritty sound conjured up using analog technology.


Der Kölner Pianist Philip Zoubek trieb die faszinierende Klangarbeit mit seinem Trio weiter, unter anderem durch die Einbeziehung analoger Synthesizer.

Ihre Musik ist deftig, aber nie derbe. Sie ist zart, aber nicht fragil, komplex aber nicht kompliziert.

At times, the experience of hearing this record is akin to a live, acoustic emulation of skipping through a dense catalog of challenging music, where in the span of just a few bars you land on a new soundscape, only to continue cascading along.

Pianist Philip Zoubek’s trio with bassist David Helm and drummer Dominik Mahnig plays a spiky, clanging version of free jazz, with occasional synth injections, that takes a little bit from modern classical composition but remains rooted in the jazz vocabulary.

Nonplaces – to właśnie mózgowe, abstrakcyjne i bezkompromisowe granie. Otwartogłowi chwytajcie przewiew!

Der Pianist Philip Zoubek führt sein kreatives Trio gleichermaßen versiert durch introspektive Balladen und furiose Rhythmuspassagen.

On their second outing, “Nonplaces” the trio offers traditional expectations but breaks away into new modern constructs that blend electronic harmonies and melodies while still delving into improvisation.

Also available

Philip Zoubek Trio
(2022, Vinyl LP)
Philip Zoubek Trio
(2022, CD)
Philip Zoubek Trio
(2018, CD)