You just have to say it, and in this case, it's no exaggeration: there has never been an album like "Wünschen" (Wishing). Something comparable? No way! The compelling strength of this cycle of songs lies in the unity of its contradictions, expressed in the subject matter and the choice of musical resources, as well as a lineup of players from different generations, continents, and musical concepts. This is an album as all-encompassing as life itself, and as colorful and unpredictable as a Coen brothers film.

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Erik Leuthhäuser is a young singer from Berlin. The various histories and origins of the songs on Leuthäuser's album tell a lot about the man himself. He reinterprets some of the songs, such as Friedrich Hollaender's "Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte" (If I could make a wish). Others are musical versions of poems and songs, as is the case with a piece from Dorthea "Dota" Kehr. We have jazz standards from Wayne Shorter and Duke Ellington supplemented with Leuthäuser's German texts. And then there are Erik Leuthäuser's own compositions. Some of the pieces on the album are familiar, having already been recorded at one time or another. Yet Leuthäuser's interpretations are by no means cover versions; rather he appropriates the pieces and makes them his own. When Erik sings these pieces, they sound as if they belong exclusively to Leuthäuser and his listeners. In the end, it doesn't really matter where the pieces came from or how Leuthäuser happened upon them; now they simply belong to him: "It's all very personal. I’m not concerned about the stylistics or a particular target audience. I have simply tied all my musical ideas together and created music out of them."

A major reason why this musical portrait is so multi-faceted lies in Leuthäuser's fellow musicians' ability to immerse themselves in the singer's musical language. World traveler Greg Cohen doesn't just play bass; as producer, he has also sympathetically supervises the album. Like Leuthäuser, Cohen is a superb storyteller. He has played with the likes of Tom Waits and John Zorn, and was in the Robert Altman film "Short Cuts". Likewise, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Joey Baron are major players in the New York jazz scene. As second drummer, Earl Harvin carries the expressive understatement he was known for as a member of the Indie rock band Tindersticks into Leuthäuser's production. Austrian pianist Elias Stemeseder has already had success with the exceptional American drummer Jim Black, and Islandic guitarist Daniel Böðvarsson has been a close musical companion of Leuthäuser's since their school days together.


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