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“Hagelslag can be sprinkled straight out of the package onto buttered bread or other baked goods,” according to Wikipedia. But here’s a better one: Hagelslag should be taken straight from their practice room onto the big stage. The 10-piece, Hannover-based, Jazz-Funk-Soul-World-Hiphop collective are as colorful as the dutch sprinkles. They entertain audiences with their music, switching easily between the styles of their musical heroes (such as Snarky Puppy, Earth, Wind and Fire and D’Angelo, to name a few). Their concerts range from improvisation and synth experimentation to tactful arrangements and melodic horn lines, while the one thing remaining is the groove - exciting rhythms and punchy texts make every listener dance and sing along.
The band was formed in 2015, when trumpeter Benjamin Stanko met John Winston Berta (drums) and Valentin Kollenda (bass) in Lower Saxony’s youth jazz ensemble (Landesjugendjazzorchester). Since then they have added seven new members whose experiences and backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse: from playing on stage with Jamie Cullum and Jacob Collier (John) to learning to play tablas in India (Horiat, percussion), the band has pretty much a little bit of everything. And the results show: Hagelslag has played opening sets for Die Fantastischen Vier, Bosse und Sasha, released their first EP in 2017 and are currently working on future projects (such as giving workshops and creating a musical working space in Hannover).
Hagelslags newest venture are the D Room Sessions, a self-organized and self-funded monthly video series in which the band works closely with other talented artists to arrange and record original songs and create new musical ideas. The lists of names involved includes well-known jazz artists like Nils Wogram and Malte Schiller. In addition a project is planned this fall with noted trumpeter Gary Winters. Who knows what’s in next year’s packet of sprinkles?
They’re colorful, crunchy and international, just like the product they’re named after - it’s Hagelslag from Hannover.