Cologne Jazz trio, in definition only, explores modern territory of sound and autoschediasm.


Post WWII, Jazz made an impression in Europe and flourished in the ‘70s under German-based label ECM. Now based out of Cologne, but originally via Austria, the Philip Zoubek Trio carries on the tradition but adds a modern touch to piano (Zoubek), bass (Helm) and drums (Mahing). On their second outing, “Nonplaces” the trio offers traditional expectations but breaks away into new modern constructs that blend electronic harmonies and melodies while still delving into improvisation.

Interview:  11/2020 with Philip Zoubek Trio

Philip Zoubek Trio
4SEE Spotlight – Philip Zoubek Trio
David Helm (bass) | Philip Zoubek (piano, synthesizer, composition) | Dominik Mahnig (drums)

Artist Name Philip Zoubek Trio
Genre Avantgarde Jazz
Members and Instruments
Philip Zoubek (piano synth, composition), David Helm (bass), Dominik Mahnig (drums)
Based in Cologne, Germany
Playing together since 2015
Listen on Bandcamp / Spotify / YouTube

Philip Zoubek Trio "Nonplaces" cover

Describe your band / music / style in three words.

Detail. Chaos. Character

What did you listen to when growing up?

When I was a child, six years old or so, I was a huge fan of the Beatles, especially of how they were using harmony. I remember listening to their records a million times!

Also Morton Feldman for his transcendental sense of space, sound instrumentation and form.

Who are some of your music icons? Did they impact the way you make music today?

Jimmy Giuffre for bringing together avant-garde jazz and chamber music, and also introducing intimacy into free jazz. I could go on forever, here are a few more names: Coltrane, Xenakis, Bach, Lachenmann, Purcell, John Cage, Charlie Parker, Grisey… the list goes on.

Who are you listening to right now?

I am currently listening to a fantastic improv band called Demierre – Dörner – Kocher. I also stumbled on some incredible pieces by French composer Christophe Bertrand, and for anyone who wants to investigate the psychogenic aspects of music, I recommend James Tenney’s “Koan”.

Can you describe the craziest / funniest thing that’s happened on tour?

(laughter) The funniest tour related incidents, I wouldn’t dare talk about those in public! An absurd one was us playing an encore in a big hall in Siberia. After a nice set of chamber jazz music, my dear friend Hayden put on his Scottish kilt and took out his bagpipe and we played some very odd sounding blues. Lots of question marks appeared on people’s faces, and we could hear people begin to break out laughing from the audience…

Favourite performance venues or music festivals?

Definitely the Loft in Cologne, it’s a true gift to the music scene. I have had such incredible nights there! Thanks to the passion of Hans- Martin Müller and his son Benedikt. Go there if you can!

Three words to describe your fans.

Hopefully easygoing, relaxed and open-minded.

Favourite thing about eyewear?

I love wearing sunglasses, but I have the very bad habit of breaking them all the time.

What is next for you, an immediately upcoming tour or EP/Album?

I’m releasing two CDs that I am very proud of: one is my prepared piano solo program “VORTEX” and they other is with the amazing group “TAU 5”, which plays weird electronic music.

Where do you see yourself in ten years‘ time?

Hopefully I will still be as thirsty for music as I am now! The rest will happen anyway.