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Expressively and lyrically

»... Since the beginning of the Nineties, Johannes Barthelmes has led his own bands, played as a soloist or in duos - e.g. with the pianist Uli Lenz, with whom he also recorded the highly commended CDs influence which Johannes Barthelmes has never tried to conceal. Johannes Barthelmes plays both expressively and lyrically, and has matured into an especially gifted performer (and composer) of ballads over recent years.

This skill has brought him much praise in the German press, as well as in Southeast Asia after a recent tour. He was celebrated there as an "aural wonder" with his "strong, full sound" and was even said to have become "one of Europe's most accomplished musicians. ...«

Ulf Drechsel,
for the Berlin Jazz Festival '98 - booklet

Without weaknesses

»…It is the best and most coherent production by Johannes Barthelmes so far. Without weaknesses, with the courage for depth and great sweeps. Very much in the style of many American tenor-sax acrobats, Barthelmes demonstrates to us in compositions of his own, the phenomenal development this tenor saxophonist has made over the last years. Above all, it is marvelous how ideally he plays with trombonist Gary Valente and guitarist Bill Bickford.«

Matthias Creutziger,
meier' 11/1997, Mannheim (on occasion of the release of the CD “For Her – the gentle side of Johannes Barthelmes”)

Passion, technique and ideas

»… After this introduction, saxophonist Johannes Barthelmes from Berlin walked on stage and lit up everything. Johannes Barthelmes plays a fiery tenor and gives a stirring performance; he has passion, technique and ideas...«

Volker Kriegel,
Frankfurter Allgemeine, June 11, 1997 / German Jazz Festival Frankfurt/Main


»…Watts’ mastery in the kind of contemporary bebop that also incorporates John Coltrane’s experiences is indeed in no way inferior to Michael Brecker – the tenor sax guru of the past decade. In this very same context, one may also mention Johannes Barthelmes who, in drawing on fiery ballads from jazz history, exquisitely performs chamber music with Uli Lenz.«

Uli Olshausen,
Frankfurter Allgemeine, Dec. 4, 1992 / Jazzfest Berlin 1992

Furious, impetuous rage

»… with Johannes Barthelmes, the band has one of Europe’s best tenor saxophonists in its ranks. In a furious, impetuous rage, he throws himself into blazing improvisations that reach for the skies, ecstatically connecting, bursting and severing phrases and tones to tap novel worlds of sound…«

Georg Spindler,
Jazzpodium' 06 / 1990

Shimmering in all colors

»… at times charged with energy to the point of ecstasy, at others splendidly inspired and radiating from within - on the tenor, full of warmth and shimmering in all colors; on the soprano, lyrical and pure. Amongst European saxophonists who relate to John Coltrane, Johannes Barthelmes is one of the best...«

Martin Kunzler,
rororo Jazz Lexikon

emotional involvement

»… without our noticing, a musician has matured in this quartet who must now be ranked among the masters on this instrument: saxophonist Johannes Barthelmes. With an incredibly furious power and instinct, as well as the technical means and emotional involvement, Barthelmes brings together the tradition of Albert Ayler and John Coltrane … utterly unbelievable.«

Uli Olshausen,
Hesse Radio, Germany, May 4, 1985

One of the best

»Congratulations on your fantastic CD, which is for me one of the best German jazz productions of the past 50 years. Even on the second listening, it turned out to be impossible to get out of the car before the tape was over - and I had reached the parking lot ages ago!«

Uli Olshausen,
Hesse Radio, Germany

Invading space like hymns

»…Tenor saxophonist Johannes Barthelmes develops a note that captures the entire world of expression, sounds expiring great fulfillment and invading space like hymns, while still having a completely elementary effect.«

Rainer Köhl,
Die Rheinpfalz / Jazz at the Philharmonic Hall 1995

The HIGH art of the duo

»There are many jazz-duos. And there are many good duos. There are even a lot of quite excellent saxophone-piano duos, I've heard them all. But to find such a good duo as Johannes Barthelmes and Uli Lenz have succeeded in creating, you have to search for a hell of a long time.

In their musical dialogues, they never - as one often experiences with others - talk at cross-purposes. The listener literally feels how the thoughts of the one are taken in, converted and responded to by the other. They have a lot to say to each other, yet they never lapse into chattiness. Their music is not merely intellectual, but sensitive and soulful too.

I envy the audience at the Passionskirche in Berlin who were able to experience this concert live, but at the same time I am glad that the "lost sons" are sending their message out into the world via CD. Because that's where it belongs: out into the world.The art of the duo. In the case of Johannes Barthelmes and Uli Lenz, one more word must be added: the HIGH art of the duo.«

Werner Wunderlich,
Southwest Radio Station, Germany

Personal pleasure

»Thank you for your amazing duos. It was a so-called 'coincidence' that I happened to hear your music on the same day I heard Stan Getz’ latest duo album: in no way did I feel that your CD could not stand such a close comparison. Your duos are so good that I actually take personal pleasure in them.«

Joachim-Ernst Berendt,
(For the release of the CD “concert of the lost sons“ Johannes Barthelme saxes and Ulli Lenz piano - live in the Passionschurch-Berlin 1992)