„…In short: everything you thought you knew about Latin jazz – forget it! On Genesis. Mystery and Magic” all the clichés carefully nurtured by the success of the “Buena Vista Social Club” turn out to be obsolete. This music, which is based on traditional rhythms from Cuba, Puerto Rico or Uruguay, is intellectual and highly complex without being top-heavy at one point. It draws its influences from European classical music as well as from post-bop and free jazz. One can say with a clear conscience that the recording is Schunke’s magnum opus, with which he sums up his previous work. This oeuvre is extremely diverse: it ranges from the experiments that the young pianist made with odd Latin meters on his debut album “Symbiosis”, recorded in New York in 2002, to his large-scale formation project “Mouvement”, which was reinforced with jazz rock guitar and electronics to the unusual capital city modern jazz of the 2011 CD “Life and Death” in Berlin. And then there’s the 2008 recording Back in New York, which featured Cuban clarinettist Paquito D’Rivera. The founder of the legendary formation Irakere was full of praise for the German: “That guy is a very, very fine pianist and composer. He is very good!” D’Rivera reported afterwards. Schunke describes this record as his “journeyman’s piece”. Now the time has come for a masterpiece…”
Josef Engels, Berlin

“In his sextet, the pianist Sebastian Schunke brings together musicians from Germany, Austria, Russia, Uruguay and Curaçao. His intellectually saturated Latin jazz is a real feast for the ears, because top performers like the recently crowned Mangelsdorff Prize winner Nils Wogram and the percussionist Pernell Santurnino, who has already drummed for Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis, transform Schunke’s actually complex songs into a vital pleasure. It doesn’t have to rattle and clatter from front to back, a touching ballad like “Song For Antje”, in which Hans Glawischnig’s bowed bass sets subtle accents, captivates itself with a calmly orchestrated soundscape in which Wogram and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin rise to great shape. And between the songs, Schunke takes his time for short solo sequences in which he sounds quite bizarre and avant-garde. You can use the word masterpiece in your mouth.”
Rolf Thomas, Jazzthing 02/2014

“Latin Jazz refreshingly independent, innovative Couleur, and behind it is a pianist/composer from Germany. Sebastian Schunke has made a name for himself in the international Latin scene far more than in Germany. For his new album, he forms a top-class sextet with Nils Wogram and musicians from Latin America and Europe who live in New York. It’s rhythmically strong…”
Stereo 02/2014 4½ out of 5 Stars

“The Berlin-based pianist Sebastian Schunke has become an integral part of the Latin jazz scene. Many critics even count him among the world elite in this regard. For this recording he has brought a dream team to his side in the form of the Russian trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, who lives in New York, and Nils Wogram on the trombone – to pick just two. The result is an idiosyncratic, highly complex combination of bubbling rhythms and intricately lyrical melodies. European coolness meets Latin American notes: With “Genesis. Mystery and Magic” laid the foundation for a new Latin jazz philosophy.”
Jazz ‘n More, 01/2014, Switzerland, 4 out of 5 Stars

„This German production with the title Genesis, which calls for biblical history. Mystery and Magic can hardly be surpassed in terms of internationality. Whether you start in South America, where the rhythm configurations of Sebastian Schunke’s Latin jazz are at home, whether it’s the fact that Schunke lived in New York for many years and received the higher initiation of innovative jazz music there, or whether it’s Alex Sipiagin, who lives on the Hudson River and Hans Glawischnig, who, with the percussionist Pernell Saturnino from Curacao and Uruguayan drummer Diego Pinero, always break up the standard Latin American formulations and find new structures in combination with the rugged sound patterns of the wind instruments…“
Klaus Hübner 4 out of 5 Stars, Jazzthetik 01/2014

“”One should play the piano” as an old hit song goes. One could add “like Sebastian Schunke”, because what the Berliner delivers compositionally and instrumentally on “Life And Death” is piano and jazz art of the highest quality. Mostly accompanied by bass, drums, saxophone and percussion, Schunke grooves and ingenulates himself with improvisational and progressive parts, demanding a lot of attention from the listener. The whole thing runs under the banner of Latin jazz, but it also has something of free jazz and modern classics.”

“…Absolutely worth hearing!”

“The nation’s youngest jazz figurehead is the pianist Sebastian Schunke. Köhler’s (Federal President Horst Köhler) musical gift to Africa gives Germany reason to finally take heart.”
Berliner Morgenpost

“…The pianist Sebastian Schunke, who is now one of the world elite of the Latin jazz genre, has found his “Dream Team”.”
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

“…With great artistry, Schunke manages to transform the Cuban nostalgia sound into an avant-garde dress of its own character…”

“…Mouvement sweats sweetly and happily…if it works so well on CD, what must the concerts be like first?”

“…Latin Jazz a generation further than Irakere and similar…”

“…But since the 29-year-old Berliner-by-choice released his debut CD “Symbiosis”, he has been at the top of the genre, which he “Europeanizes” through an idiosyncratic combination of bubbling rhythm and intricately lyrical melodies…”
Tagesspiegel Berlin

“…”Vida Pura” is fun…that’s the wonderful thing about music, that borders are broken down and something completely new can emerge.”

“Pianist and composer Sebastian Schunke is “Back in New York”. His forthcoming album proves that his star is not only rising in the world of Latin jazz, but has long been dormant in the sky… An album that extends the summer.”
Neue Musikzeitung

“…the pieces (on Back in New York) testify to the pianist’s class, which enables him to combine intellect and fire.”


…The considerable degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony and rhythm, of composition and improvisation, of exploration into deep sonic space, of singularity and tradition… all of this is impressively maintained throughout. It puts Mr Schunke at the pinnacle of his compositional and pianistic powers.“
Raul da Gama, CD „Elusive Beauty“  2018 for more See here.

“…Sebastian Schunke’s music has completed a musical odyssey from life to death and back again. On this ever so memorable record of a journey to the genesis of his space and time, dappled with musical notation both written and improvised Mr. Schunke has created one of the most compelling musical suites in recent memory.”
Raul da Gama,, Kanada 5 von 5 Sternen, CD der Woche 01/2014

“Pianist and composer Sebastian Schunke appears to have discovered a sense of mortality. This is the ultimate level of maturity that any artist—or any human being for that matter—can attain. While it is relatively less important what caused this sudden maturation, it is important to note the new sense of urgency that is present in his music. It is not as if the music were faster paced, but there is an edginess that is described in the diabolical twists and turns that the music takes; in the rapid changes from consonance to dissonance—turning on a dime, so to speak. Then there is the thunderous, almost heraldic percussion from both, drummer Diego Pinera and Latin percussionist, Pernel Saturnino that turns bright passages into ominously dark ones. Finally there is the superb pianism of Schunke himself, which turns the elemental keyboard of the piano into a vast and colorful palette of sound that mixes tones and textures with vivid and subtle colours so that there is an almost riotous explosion of lively and grim shades that characterise the stunning album, Life and Death. As a composer, Schunke displays depth of vision and thoughtfulness to the extent that he emerges as a philosophical abstract impressionist. If this sounds convoluted it is because Schunke has developed an extremely complex and deeply emotional style for this album. The vagaries of life weight heavily on the dynamics and expression of his playing. There is a sense that he has revisited Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. This has led to a highly impressionistic program, marked by modalism, as incessant probing of the tonal richness of notes; the nuanced effects of dense harmonies on musical meaning and a highly complex musical argument that stems from questions about existential angst, life and death and the spiritual battle that rages between both. This is the kind of Wagnerian battle that rages in Parsifal and it appears that Schunke might have re-visited—if not the opera itself, then at least its critical orientations. The central piece of Schunke’s outstanding album, “Rhapsodia No. 1 Herzklopfen” marks the sense of his deepening spiritualism in music. When music such as this is created it is always amazing to note how the mind of its creator permeates the performances of his ensemble. Schunke’s robust leadership has had a marked influence on this aspect of the playing of all of his team—from the otherwise ebullient percussionists Pernel Saturnino and Diego Pinera to saxophonist, Dan Freeman. That these musicians were able to adopt the same attitude to the music as their leader, Schunke, is a testament to the control Schunke has over his ensemble and majestic nature of the music as well. This does not mean that Schunke is dictatorial; quite the contrary, he leaves much room for individual expression. Proof of this is the soaring creativity of bassist, Marcel Krömker as well as the other musicians, especially the saxophonist, Dan Freeman too. Through all of the improvising by the various musicians, Schunke’s steadfast leadership ensures that the integrity of his significant compositions remain intact throughout this extraordinary album.”
Raul d´GAMA,, Canada

“With „Vida Pura“ Schunke keeps growing. He’s an extraordinary composer, arranger and performer.”; Toronto

“Top Ten Latin Jazz Recording of 2004”; Toronto

“Another fantastic record by Schunke, a German pianist who has wedded ECM cool with Cuban music … a great vision of how Latin jazz is going to sound in the future.”; Toronto

“…Schunke intentionally merges the boundaries of classical piano and Latin rhythms to create music that is structured but spontaneous, familiar yet exotic…Schunke ´s skills as a writer and musician deserve applause…”
All About Jazz; New York

“Utilizing some of the finest Latin jazz musicians like bassist John Benitez… German pianist and composer Sebastian Schunke has managed …to fully realize the seamless combining of music traditions from Europe with Latin jazz…”
All About Jazz; New York

“…As with Schunk’s album ‘Mouvement’ the production is outstanding in its clarity and balance. The jazz element seems to shimmer between the main stream and avant guard immeasurably enhanced by rhythmic excitement introduced through Schunk’s masterly use of extravagant time signatures…”
QuePasaMagazine, London

“…the music is complex, sophisticated, and superbly crafted…”
All About Jazz, New York

“…Schunke is superb in his virtuosity and blending of sounds… No lover of Latin Jazz would want to be without this in their collection!”
QuePasaMagazine, London

“…Sebastian Schunke and his Euro Latin Progression have done a suberb job with Symbiosis…”, Italy

“This is an another first rate work of art by this fine European composer and leader…Well worth a listen for the compositions, the excellent musicianship…as well as for the over all joyous feel present on this Mouvement…”, Italy

“…This man should merit from the fact he has ably attempted – and with some very worthy results to note – to revist a noted style and at time “of consumption” articulating the pentacles and the arrangements not only in relation to a modern syntax and polymer, but above all, with authentic emotions, with sensations that take light in an agile and fluid way, designing moments of elegant, and inevitably, involved listening…”, Italy

“…La maestría y el virtuosismo al piano de Sebastian Schunke, que interpreta un jazz con estilo propio y vanguardista, se fusiona con la aterciopelada e impressionante voz de Olvido Ruiz. “Vida Pura” es un álbum de una calidad exepcional…”
Raíces Magazine, Spain

“…Sebastian Schunke is the leading new talent in the international Latin Jazz Scene and his CD Vida Pura has created quite a stir…”
Independent, Malta

“…(Back in New York) is full of originality, talking to the listener in a setting that is fresh, free and happily unpredictable.”, Italy

“La ricerca di un punto di incontro tra ritmi latini, modern mainstream e riflessi eurocolti è il centro intorno al quale ruota Genesis. mystery and magic, il nuovo lavoro di Sebastian Schunke. Alla guida di un sestetto caratterizzato dalla forte carica ritmica proposta da batteria e percussioni, la musica composta dal pianista tedesco lascia reagire i differenti presupposti stilistici in situazioni sonore diverse. Si va infatti dalle riflessioni in piano solo propose nelle de versioni di Interlude 20_12, introspettive e destrutturate, alle esplosioni corali nello spanish tinge di Adelante, Ella e Misterioso, rispettivamente brano diapertura e chiusura del disco, fino alla piccola suite Rapsodia No.2 „Deep“ dove l’elemento compositivo conduce le varie anime coinvolte in una sintesi estremamente serrata. L’intenzione di Schunke è quella di rileggere momenti diversi della storia del jazz secondo i principi ispiratori di questo lavoro. E, di conseguenza, l’approccio alla ballad – Song for Antje, secondo brano del disco – unisce liricità e compostezza europea a sonorità che possono richiamare la matrice latina; i passaggi più metropolitani, più vicini al canone del jazz statunitense si animano di riflessi e richiami, semplicemente suggeriti alle volte, più espliciti in altri casi, portati all’interno dei brani da un lavoro di preparazione e arrangiamento dei brani delicato quanto presente e costante nel corso di tutto il lavoro. Schunke infatti sembra non lasciare nulla al caso nel disegno dele otto tracce e questo senza opprimere gli interpreti ne risultare didascalico all’ascolto. Si coglie, anzi, la tensione e la voglia dei musicisti nel seguire i brillanti spunti innescati dalle composizioni del pianista. Un disegno raffinato, elegante quanto articolato, sempre in movimento – e, vista la matrice latina, sarebbe stato strano il contrario – e capace allo stesso tempo di aperture più informali. Una costruzione esigente in grado di costruire una „macchina sonora“ in modo efficace attraverso il ritmo, le trame tessute dai fiati, il supporto sempre rigoroso del contrabbasso. Un sestetto di varia provenienza dove al nucleo centrale tedesco costituito da Schunke al pianoforte, Nils Wogram al trombone e Hans Glawischnig al contrabbasso, si aggiungono un trombettista russo di stanza a New York ormai da tantissimi anni come Alex Sipiagin e una ritmica di estrazione latina formata da Diego Pinera alla batteria, uruguaiano ma residente in Germania, e il caraibico Pernell Saturnino alle percussioni. Le combinazioni sonore vissute dagli stessi musicisti nei loro percorsi geografici e musicali diventa un ulteriore „utensile“ a disposizione di Schunke e della sua ricerca di sintesi espressiva. Ciascun componente del sestetto porta nel proprio DNA gli ingredienti della miscela cercata dal pianista: la formazione se ne avvantaggia in modo naturale e riesce a trovare la strada per interpretare le composizioni in maniera credibile e coerente.”
Fabio Ciminiera, Jazzconvention 01/2014, Italien

„Nelikymppinen saksalainen pianisti ja säveltäjä Sebastian Schunke on tehnyt alun toistakymmentä vuotta vahvasti nousevaa uraa jazzgenren parissa. Helmikuussa virallisesti julkaisuun tulevalta uusimmalta levyltään,Genesis. Mystery And Magic, Schunke lupaa musiikkia, mikä on syntynyt ”ei mistään, jostakin, kaikkialta”. Sitäse tavallaan onkin, sillä tälle levylle hänen kokoamansa sekstetti revittelee massiivisen tuhtia ja lennokasta jazzia, missä on ruudikasta ison orkesterin tuntua, mutta yhtye täyttää myös syvällisen tunteellisten ja aidon sielukkaiden balladien ystävien sydämet esityksillään. Latinalaisen jazzin aineksia mainiosti perusjazziin imuun liimannut Schunke on onnistunut tekemisessään erinomaisesti…. Levyn ensimmäinen kappale Adelante vangitsee heti kuulijan mukaansa. Trumpetisti Alex Sibiagin puhaltaa alkusävelet ja hetken päästä koko ryhmä tunkeutuu mukaan aidolla kuubalaisvaikutteisella rytmiikalla, mitä pasunisti Nils Wogram vahvistaa vielä omalla hienolla soolollaan. Vankkoja balladi -aineksia sisältävät puolestaan Song for Antje ja Ella, mikä kuitenkin äityy loppua kohden monipuolisen vauhdikkaaksi groovailuksi. Kaksi lyhyehköä Interlude 20_12 osiota puolestaan ovat pelkästään Schunken yksinään esittämiä pianosooloja.Metamorphosis on vankkumatonta ison orkesterin huumaa. Rapsodia No.2 “Deep” on nimensä mukaisesti kerronnallinen vapaamuotoinen soitinsävellys, missä varsinkin puhaltajat pääsevät taiteilemaan hehkuvia sooloja.Misterioso levyn viimeisenä kappaleena jättää hyvän maun monipuolisella ja rehevällä sävelkulullaan. Genesis. Mystery and Magic on kokonaisuudessaan raikkaanoloista esittämistä, missä latin jazz kohdataan omalla tavallaan ”uusissa vaatteissa” eurooppalaisittain vahvalla kokeilevalla groove -puristuksella. Tulos on varsin mairitteleva kuunneltavaa, se ”liimautuu iholle” tarttuvalla otteella.“
Jazzrytmit, Finnland, 02/2014

Latin America/Africa:

„Como compositor e intérprete, lo que más disfruta el pianista Sebastian Schunke es llevar su música al límite, con una dosis de alta complejidad rítmica y armónica…“
El Norte, Monterrey, Mexico

“…disfrutaremos de la música de Sebastian Schunke quien en el Pavillon Hannover, Alemania, el 6 de Marzo 2014, presentara su Proyecto ‚The Moderno Art of Latin Jazz‘ a través de su mas reciente album „Genesis, Mystery and Magic“. Pianista , compositor y lider de banda, Schunke se erige como exponente del futurista Latin Jazz no solo en Europa sino en todo el mundo, tiene su propio estilo y sus musicos (Sipiagin, Wogram, Glawischinig, Pinera y Saturnino) estan en tremenda onda. Es de destacar la presencia del antillano Pernell Saturnino en la percusion..”
Luis Raul Montell,, Venezuela

“El pianista alemán Sebastian Schunke es uno de esos artistas que buscan trascender por medio de su obra, en este caso, de su música, de sus composiciones, de cada uno de sus arreglos y proyectos. Lo anterior queda mas que demostrado en su mas reciente y místico álbum, el cual lleva como titulo: Genesis, Mystery And Magic (Genesis, Misterio y Magia).

“Incluyendo el sello disquero para el cual grabo esta vez, Schunke parece re-inventarse: esta vez se aleja de la editora alemana Termidor Music Verlag – con los cuales produjo sus tres anteriores trabajos discográficos (Life and Death, 2011; Sebastian Schunke and Paquito d´Rivera Back in New York, 2008 y Sebastian Schunke meets Olvido-Vida Pura, 2007)-para grabar con los suizos de nWog Records. El álbum, grabado entre Berlin y Ludwigsburg (Alemania), cuenta con 8 piezas compuestas y arregladas en su totalidad por el mismo Schunke y presenta una pluriétnica alineacion de instrumentistas: el percusionista Pernell Saturnino de Curazao, el trompetista Alex Sipiagin de Rusia, el baterista uruguayo Diego Pinera, el bajista austriaco Hans Glawischnig y el trombonista Nils Wogram proveniente de Alemania. Destacamos piezas como Adelante, donde Nils Wogram y Alex Sipiagin se lucen en los solos de trombon y trompeta respectivamente, antes de cederle el paso a Saturnino en las congas. Asi mismoMetamorphosis nos presenta a un increíble Glawischnig luciendose en el bajo y Ella destaca el trabajo del uruguayo Pinera en la batería.”
La fuente de la World Music, Colombia

“Le public séduit par la créativité musicale allemande. Leur maîtrise de l´art, des instruments de musiques et les percussions émoustillantes ont ému le grand public qui a applaudi le long du spectacle…”
Cotonou, Bénin

“Este jóven pianista alemán…ha terminado convirtiéndose en una importante reverencia en los senderos internacionales del latin jazz.”
El Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela

“Por amor al Jazz…Sebastian Schunke Euro Latin Progression (Alemania) que con sus melodías en las que fusiona música latina moderna, de tradición europea y el jazz americano, cautivó los corazones…un programa ideal para amor y amistad.”
El tiempo, Bogotá, Kolumbien

“Sebastian Schunke…el baile alemán…”
El Mercurio, Chile


“…But all said and done, the Sebastian Schunke Group stole the show…”
That´s Shanghai, Shanghai, China

“…Schunke´s sound is as eclectic as it is unpredictable…”
China Daily, Peking, China

“…The rapport and humour shared by the musicians was obvious throughout the programme, and the performance culminated in an epic 15 minute piece entitled “My Dream of Laos”… As the last chords drifted into the night, the audience rose from their seats to give the band a well-deserved standing ovation…”
Vientiane Times, Vientiane, Laos