ToineThys web

Album: The Optimist
Label: Igloo Records
Vertrieb: Broken Silence
VÖ: 12. April 2019

Der aus Brüssel stammende Saxophonist TOINE THYS präsentiert mit „The Optimist“ sein drittes Trio Album. In dem Trio um Thys versammelt er 3 internationale Größen aus dem Grenzgebiet zwischen Jazz & World-Music:

- den senegalesische Gitarristen Hervé Samb, der bereits für Salif Keita, Lisa Simone, David Murray, Youssou NDour gespielt hat.

- den amerikanische Organist Sam Yahel, bekannt als Sparring Partner von Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Norah Jones und Maceo Parker.

- sowie den kanadischen Drummer Karl Jannuska, Sideman von Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Mark Turner, Baptiste Trotignon.

Bandleader Thys schrieb der Besetzung vielfältige, groovy Kompositionen auf den Leib, die vom Soul und afrikanischer Musik beeinflusst sind. Das Ergebnis ein farbenfrohes und melodientrunkenes Album, das vom Interplay der beteiligten Musiker lebt.


In between projects and musical collaborations in Europe and Africa, Brussels saxophonist Toine Thys recorded his third album as a trio, 'The Optimist', in New York with some major names from Jazz and African music.

Desertions, snowstorms, cancelled flights, fires and calendar issues; everything seemed to go against the creation of this new album. With unbeatable energy and optimism in the face of all the trials, Toine Thys finally managed to bring these magnificent musicians together in a New York studio to record this album.

 Two great musicians with whom the saxophonist often plays are there: the Franco-Senegalese guitarist Hervé Samb (Salif Keita, Lisa Simone, David Murray, Youssoun Dour) on electric and acoustic guitars and the Canadian drummer Karl Jannuska (Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Mark Turner, Baptiste Trotignon).

 Enthusiastic and intrigued by the music and mix of personalities in this group, the American organist Sam Yahel, sparring partner of Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Norah Jones and Maceo Parker, joined the team and stepped into the repertoire with brio.

 The trio turns on the axis provided by Thys’ Hammond organ and music. The compositions, rooted in groove, are influenced by soul and African music. The playing of Hervé Samb on several of the tracks brings the music even further, either through his hypnotic accompaniment (check the acoustic guitar on the album’s first track, ‘Lullaby of Goun­ghin’), or his intoxicating solos. At times, the stronger tracks make room for some mystery and gentleness, carried by Thys’ bass clarinet and the warmth of Sam Yahel’s gospel feel.

 Thys’ compositions evoke trips in West Africa (Lullabye of Gounghin and The Optimist), late nights after the Car­nival celebrations in Binche (Masks & Feathers), the loss of his friend and singer Wassyl Slipack in Ukraine (Cosmic Wassyl) or are dedicated to hotheads.



Sam Yahel is one of the world’s best-known Hammond B-3 organ players in the jazz and creative music scenes. He has worked with artists such as Joshua Redman (Elastic Band), Maceo Parker, the guitarists Peter Bernstein and Bill Frisell, Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux, among others. His extreme versatility, with influences as diverse as Larry Young’s post-bop, gospel, pop harmonies and world music, make of him a supple, highly efficient sideman that is in great demand by major players.


Whether it be on acoustic or electric guitar, Senegal’s Hervé Samb’s passion for African grooves has led  him down a thousand musical paths. He has played with Meshell Ndegeocello, Salif Keita, David Murray and Oumou Sangaré.

“…Herve Samb is one of the 20th century’s biggest revelations from the African continent: his feline groove (…) sums up the  jazz-rock-electro-bop-acoustic traditions, mixing blues and a transfigured Africa.” (Jazz magazine).


Based in Paris, this son of a pastor from Manitoba is a virtuoso and prolific drummer that has produced many albums and played with musicians such as Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Mark Turner, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Kevin Hays, David Binney, François Théberge, Rick Margitza, Baptiste Trotignon, Paolo Fresu and Pierre de Bethmann. For years already, he has been one of the keystones of the Parisian creative scene.


In addition to his own projects, (, Thys can often be found playing alongside Sidiki Camara, URBEX de Antoine Pierre, Andrew D’Angelo, Ben Monder, Reggie Washington, Afrikan Protoköl, Jozef Dumoulin, Laurent Blondiau... He seeks out musical encounters, notably with an ensemble of traditional Korean percussions (Samul Nori), a project with the Egyptian oud player Ihab Radwan, as well as the Burkina Faso griot Zouratié Koné.

In 2014, Thys founded a brass instrument school in Burkina Faso with trumpet player Laurent Blondiau that now teaches 50 students: LES VENTISTES DU FASO. Thys is also very active in the defence of musicians through He plays a central role in sax and bass clarinet in Europe. He leads seveal projects (Toine Thys’s Overseas, Rackham, Orlando), and is also in demand as a sideman.

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