The Uri Gincel Quintet consists of five of the most talented and sought-after musicians in the German jazz scene! They are also five great personalities who have been instrumental in making the Zig Zag Jazz Club what it is today. The all-star ensemble, led by Berlin's notorious jazz giant Uri Gincel, presents crystal-clear straight-ahead jazz with a high-energy pulse.
Tobias Backhaus, already considered one of Germany's most respected drummers, joins Paul Kleber on Bass to deliver a deeply swinging and powerful groove that lays the foundation for interaction and improvisation at the highest level. Together with the award-winning jazz trumpeter Florian Menzel and the ever soulful Ben Kraef, the five gentlemen create a high-energy musical recipe that the Zig Zag Jazz Club can't be imagined without!
Despite his young age trumpeter and composer Florian Menzel, born in Arnsberg in the Sauerland region in Germany in 1988, has already reached remarkable experience and success in the world of music. In 2007 he was awarded the „SkodaJazzAward“ by the German Jazz Federation for his outstanding instrumental skills and 2 years later won the first prize at the „Yamaha Trumpet Contest 2009“. Further during his studies at the Jazz Institute Berlin (JIB) he was awarded the „Savoy Award of Excellence 2011“ for his extraordinary musical and social contribution. As a band leader and sideman he has been working with among others Peter Weniger, Mark Wyand, Rich Perry, Winard Harper, Greg Cohen, Torsten Goods, Till Broenner, Gerard Presencer and Bill Forman.
Ben Kraef is a German-Montenegrin saxophonist and composer based in Berlin. Ben graduated from the University of Music “Hanns Eisler”, Berlin. In 2007 he relocated to New York City on a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and obtained a Master of Arts from The City College of New York in 2009. In the past years Ben has won international acclaim in form of several prizes and awards, among these most notably the Biberacher Jazzpreis (2006), the “Concours International de Jazz de Fribourg” (2007), the Yamaha Saxophone Contest (2007), and the Billie Stoller Scholarship to an outstanding scholar and musician from The City College of New York (2008). Ben’s activities as a performer have included his membership in the renowned National German Youth Big Band (BuJazzO), where he was part of the concert line-up for a total of three years. He has had the chance to perform throughout Europe, the Middle East, as well as southern Africa and Japan.
Uri Gincel is one of the most in demand and respected Jazz pianists in Berlin. Gincel´s style can be described as heavily rooted in tradition but with sensibility and understanding of bringing jazz into the modern age. His playing is dynamic, lyrical and above full of energy and power! Born in Tel-Aviv, Gincel came to Berlin in 2009 and quickly became an influential part of the Jazz scene, Uri toured the world with many projects, including "Uri Gincel Trio” and “Bonaparte” and studied under some major musicians as Arnie Lawrence and Walter Blending Jr.Paul Kleber was born in Berlin/Germany and started playing cello and drums as a young kid, before he chose his main instrument, the double bass. He studied classical double bass at the Hochschule für Musik „Hanns Eisler“ Berlin and jazz, too at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He played and recorded with Jazzanova, Sebastian Studnitzky, British band Fink, Micatone, Nylon, JazzIndeed and Lisa Bassenge. As a sideman he accompanied many artists i.e. Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mark Murphy, Emiliana Torrini, Nina Hagen, Nils Landgren, David Friedman and Nightmares On Wax.
Tobias Backhaus was born in Darmstadt, Germany, on January 8 1984. He took up the drums at the age of 5 and has subsequently been studying under the guideance of jazz masters such as Keith Copeland, Ari Hoenig, Jim Black, John Hollenbeck and Jeff Ballard. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from the Jazz-Institute Berlin. His individual approach and stylistic diversity – from traditional jazz to free improvisation, modern classical music and beyond – as well as his ability to effortlessly move between those different worlds have made him one of the most in-demand young drummers on the German jazz scene. Tobias has been working with artists such as Torsten de Winkel, Till Brönner, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Tony Lakatos, Carlos Bica, Jiggs Whigham, Gwilym Simcock, Peter Weniger, Frank Chastenier and Ack van Rooyen, the Dresden Symphonic Orchestra, the NDR Big Band, the Berlin Jazz Orchestra and many others.