Bild på Karl-Martin Almqvist Ababhemu Quartet

Karl-Martin Almqvist Ababhemu Quartet

Tenor saxophonist Karl-Martin Almqvist has been called one of Europe’s foremost jazz musicians, whose personal playing style makes him as easily recognizable as greats such as Jan Garbarek, Sonny Rollins and Stan Getz. For more than 30 years, Almqvist has been a successful freelance musician with his own groups or as a member of various constellations – he has toured all over the world and recorded a considerable amount of records both under his own name and under other names.

On several occasions, Almqvist has collaborated with South African jazz musicians, including the pianist Nduduzo Makhatini. Together they recorded Nduduzo’s double album “Listening to the Ground” in 2014, an album that has had great significance above all for younger generations of musicians in South Africa. This recording also features Norwegian bassist Magne Thormodsæter and South African drummer Ayanda Sikade. The dream of taking the “core quartet” from the “Listening to the ground” record to Sweden has haunted Karl-Martin Almqvist for a long time and this finally came true in the summer of 2022 when the quartet performed at the Ystad International Jazz Festival. The concert was a success and “Karl-Martin Almqvist Ababhemu Quartet” had seen the light of day. In the days after the concert in Ystad, a new album was recorded.

Nduduzo Makhathini is a pianist of the highest rank. He is signed and releases records on Blue Note and tours all over the world, mainly with his trio. Nduduzo is also a dedicated educator, he has headed the music department at Fort Hare University but after a  PhD has started as a musicologist at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban.

Magne Thormodsæter can be heard in groups such as Hildegunn Øiseth Quartet, Svein Olav Herstad trio, Frøydis Grorud quartet and Eivind Austad trio. Magne is also musical director of the Bergen Big Band. Magne has for many years written and arranged for smaller and larger ensembles in his own name.

Ayanda Sikade is one of the most influential drummers of his generation in South Africa. He has been playing with Nduduzo since they both studied together on the jazz track at the University of KwaZulu Natal. Ayanda has also recorded a couple of albums under her own name. He is also internationally active, including in the quartet “The Rainmakers” based in Switzerland.

The music that “Ababhemu Quartet” plays is mostly written by Karl-Martin himself and is published on the American label Ropeadope.

Nduduzo Makhathini piano
Magne Thormodsæter bass
Ayanda Sikade drums
Karl-Martin Almqvist saxophones