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Joo Kraus

Jazz, Pop
  • Joo Kraus
    Gesang, Trompete, Live-Elektronik
  • Ralf Schmid
  • Veit Hübner
  • Torsten Krill
Booking-territory: Europe

Imagine four top-class musicians seated around a large table, on which they have heaped together all the treasures of popular music of the last decades.

Their plan: to discover and rediscover select repackage and dust (on a musical level)

Their selection: George McCrae (Rock Your Baby), Toto (Africa), Sade (Smooth Operator), Ten CC (I’m Not In Love), Sting (Englishman in New York), Nena (Somehow, Somewhere, Sometime), Peter Gabriel (Sledgehammer), Glenn Miller (Moonlight Serenade), Paul Simon (Bridge Over Troubled Water), Simply Red (If You Do not Know Me By Now) ten greats of rock and pop history, which couldn’t be more different

Their implementation: no remix but so far unheard of jazzy, outrageously coloured
rearrangements at the interface between trancejazz, hip-beat and sophisticated Soul

Their request: a very unique musical way to pay their respects to the musical heroes of the last Decade… 


After the disbandment of Tab Two, Joo Kraus soon establieshed his reputation as an exceptional trumpeter and composer. The list of those who adorn themselves with his solos and appreciate his compositions for their own projects proves the diversity of his musicality: Omar Sosa, BAP, Nana Mouskouri, Tina Turner, Xavier Naidoo, Laith Al Deen, Jazzkantine, DePhazz, Fury In The Slaughterhouse, Pee Wee Ellis, Mezzoforte, Klaus Doldinger and many more.

In the post-TabTwo Era the trumpeter moves in different stylistic terrains: sometimes lyrical, with a velvety tone, sometimes absolutely on the beat. Joo Kraus is underway live with his own projects and as a soloist with various artists.

His first album “Public Jazz Lounge” was released in 2003  through Skip Records. For “The Ride”, the second solo album, his band fromerly known as “Public Jazz Lounge” became “BASIC JAZZ LOUNGE”. The Basic Jazz Lounge announced a casual soul jazz with a good dose of groove that puts the body into motion!

Joo Kraus (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals) studied classical trumpet and soon became a wanderer between the different worlds of Jazz, Pop, Rock and Funk. He’s been on tour with Kraan, TaB Two, has played with Xavier Naidoo, De Phazz and Laith al Deen and  composed for De Phazz and Tina Turner. Apart from that, he won several Jazz-Awards through the years.

Tales In Tones Trio – when they reach for their instruments, they always just want one thing: to tell stories. About here and now, about far off places, tragic, mystic, wild and gentle, mostly with a happy ending – painting all shades life has to offer.

Tales In Tones Trio consists of:
Ralf Schmid (piano) – he studied Classical Music, Jazz and Film Music in Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg and New York, composed for stage and film and developed cross-stylistic concepts between classical and jazz traditions. Among others, he worked with Whitney Houston, Michael and Randy Brecker, Natalie Cole, Nina Hagen, Paul Kuhn, Ack van Rooyen, with big bands of the NDR, SWR, HR and RIAS and members of the philharmonic orchestras of Stuttgart and Budapest. Schmid is professor of Jazzpiano in Freiburg and founder and producer of the label ObliqSound based in New York.

Veit Hübner (bass) – he studied orchestral music and jazz in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. Having found a home in both, classical music and jazz, he played with the philharmonic orchestra of Antwerpen, Berlin and Stuttgart as well as Charlie Mariano, Richie Beirach and Gregoire Maret. As a member of the music-and-comedy-ensemble “Tango Five” he’s been touring Europa, the States and South America since 1986.

Torsten Krill (drums) – he studied in Frankfurt and Stuttgart. Being highly stylistically versatile he has played with notable musicians such as Herb Ellis, Pee Wee Ellis, Richie Beirach, Joy Denalane, Ron Spielman, Cécile Verny, Bobby Shew, Jiggs Whigham und John Ruocco…


New Single “We Are Doing Well”:

“(…) an encouraging song in difficult times” SWR2



“All songs are bolts of inspiration from the native Ulmer, crazy ideas that come to you when you turn your head by 360 degrees. A thoroughly sensual pleasure.” Jazzthing

“In all his projects, Joo Kraus has shown himself to be a border crosser, curiously pairing different styles with jazz, which has not changed on his latest album “JooJazz”. With jazz as the foundation, he incorporates HipHop, TripHop, Pop, Rock, Soul, Electro and Latin into the 13 new tracks. Jazzpodium, cover story with interview

“The record “JooJazz” is a bubbling with ideas, glowing in many colors, a crazy musical adventure.” Badische Neueste Nachrichten

“It is an example of powerful, even soulful interaction, led by Kraus on the trumpet. He has as a lot of fun doing it as do his musicians, who without exception radiate the greatest joy of playing and not rarely smile. Giessener Allgemeine

“With Simon and Garfunkle’s “Sound of Silence” and Sade’s “Smooth Operator” the place was bubbling over so much that some listeners couldn’t keep their seats and danced enthusiastically. Standing ovations and cheering encores topped off an impressive jazz evening.” Stader Tageblatt

“Jam-packed house with the trumpeter Joo Kraus in quartet formation, which makes the enthusiastic audience understand that jazz music had its beginning in the movement of legs and hips. Revered swing and marching band tradition meet the current sound of the street in this music. And yes, jazz can and should still be a lot of fun.” Schorndorfer Nachrichten

Older publications:

“Even jazz grouches will love Painting Pop ( Edel ) by Joo Kraus & Tales in lones Trio.” Freundin

“In the past, jazz musicians often improvised over musical melodies, but today they paint over pop hits. Trumpeter Kraus is especially good at it.” Kulturspiegel

“It’s astounding and fascinating at the same time.” Jazzthetik

“Kraus and Co. magnificently combine the threads of pop and jazz, apart from that, Hübner’s piano runs nestle up to the filigree rhythms of the duo Hübner/Krill – and above all, Kraus’s at times elegant and melcholy, at times accentuated and sharpened trumpet tone shines through. (…) The sound? Clean, dry-bass firm, noble. (…) Despite mobile equipment everything still seems wonderfully lively and crisp. Audio

“This is what 21st century jazz has to sound like: fresh and new.” Augsburger Allgemeine

Pop gets along well with jazz – read more on Augsburger-Allgemeine: “Trumpeter Joo Kraus and his trio transform pop songs into sparkling jazz pearls” […] lively, funny, crisp, up to date – and always surprising. Strong, great cinema for the ears. […].addiction factor:high.”  (Allgäuer Zeitung) “These pop numbers are deconstructed, taken apart and put back together again as contemporary jazz. The potential of a composition is mercilessly worked out. And that holds surprises: Even rather flat titles like George McCrae’s disco hit “Rock Your Baby” or Nena’s “Somehow, somewhere, sometime” develop unexpected depths.” Südwest Presse

“Consume while dancing or sitting with open ears. Music guaranteed without expiration date” Hörgenuss-Tipp

“Joo Kraus and the Tales in Tones Trio have set a musical monument to the great Michael Jackson in the Kino am Kocher. The Ulm-born Kraus once again impressively proved his exceptional position in the German and international jazz scene. Schwäbische Zeitung

“His performance has a simultaneously warm, cordial, charming quality. He’s the one who really grasps the opportunities of a club concert and makes the most of them.” Donaukurier

“The ensemble was a lot of fun. An outstanding concert, after which the applause just doesn’t stop. Of course.” Giessener Anzeiger

[…] we feast on Joo Kraus’ cool trumpet sound, which always owes its respect to the melody […] and we think: Oops, this is pure jazz, with all the pop presence! Rems-Murr Rundschau


Joo Kraus: We Are doing well.

We’re doing well. This is a rather broad-shouldered statement – especially in these times. But as always it depends on the context and the author. And that is Joo Kraus. A musician who prefers to dissolve genre boundaries and style labels and makes music the way he lives: free and feeling. So it’s quite possible that the album has a few extra dimensions. (Spoiler: It does.)

It’s been four years since Joo Kraus showed  where he is going musically with the album JooJazz: From his home planet Jazz he is going on ever-expanding expeditions to play with shooting stars from other galaxies beyond any crossover orthodoxy – no matter if they are called Soul, Funk, Pop, Latin or Electro. The music that Joo brought back from these journeys was already an ear-opening event on JooJazz. But We’re doing well opens up the horizon even further: In the 10 songs he simply lets go of all category lines, surrenders to the flow – and in doing so may find a new home, because he wasn’t looking for one: boundlessly playful, virtuosic bird-free and unintentionally profound. Welcome to Jootopia.

WE ARE DOING WELL comes across quite in a good mood at the first listen – yes, we’re doing damn well here: with these oldschool funky beats and riffs, this light as a feather trumpet that is so virtuoso that it doesn’t need to prove it anymore, with these freestyle, half rapped and half sung vocals, and with arrangements that sound like they just happened between free association, experimental laboratory and music-historical fundus.

All this is clearly and decidedly non-commercial – but at the same time immensely entertaining and catchy. How is that possible? “Great freedom,” Joo simply says. And he adds: “The songs have become even more free this time, because we care even less about whether it’s played on any radio or doesn’t fit into any other format.”

We – as always his fellow musicians for 16 years and at the same time best friends: drummer Torsten Krill, who is also (co-)responsible for production, recording, mixing and mastering, double bass player Veit Hübner and pianist Ralf Schmid. Joo Kraus himself wears the biggest hat – trumpet and vocals are on his head as well as guitar and some keyboard parts, lyrics and composition. Although the band was also involved: “For some songs I only had a few notes at first, and then the song was created in the studio like an old school band. When we play together like this, it gets really electric, and something happens that goes beyond the four of us,” says Joo.

The things that go beyond that are perhaps what lifts We’re doing well above the good-humored front: Every song has its own dynamics, awakens imaginations and leads to quite strange places. “Count to 4” takes you full throttle into hippie speedjazz wah-wah-wah wonderland – with Frank Zappa as co-driver and 70s prog rock on the radio. “Elvis in Paris”, on the other hand, is like a ride through Toontown – the houses are crooked, the streets are crooked, life is colorful and pretty weird. And this is only the beginning of the sightseeing tour through Jootopia: With “Space Glider” we finally leave all that is fixed and certain. Fragments of oriental melodies flow through us, forgotten dreams appear along the way, maybe a pilgrimage into the subconscious starts … are we really doing well?

Here and now and listening to the album: Absolutely! After the urban-underground meandering “Jootopia” there is a deep, peaceful exhalation with “Love” – warm and melancholically interpreted by Fola Dada.

And finally, the title song: “We are doing well”: Okay, this is indeed a statement – musically as well. Has a cool start, then spreads out unexpectedly and traverses several decades and moods in four minutes. The message is as ambiguous as the sound: “Sure, on the one hand we’re doing really well – but many people, including myself, also tend to withdraw into their intact little world, even though the hurricane has been raging out there for a long time. Or maybe not?”

Joo’s question remains unanswered in space. Nothing is certain anyway. Except maybe: As long as we are allowed to listen to music like that on We’re doing well, we will be much, much better.

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