the Band

the Musicians

the CD

the Musik



Saito Roder Griener

Saito Roder Griener

the Band:

WALD is a freely improvising trio consisting of Taiko Saito on vibraphone, Jan Roder on double bass and Michael Griener on drums.
As part of a concert series in which Michael Griener and Jan Roder presented themselves both with existing bands and with first encounters in Berlin's Au Topsi Pohl, Taiko Saito appeared on a public stage for the first time in November 2021 with just bass and drums.
The music they created together allowed all three to express facets of their musical personalities that had rarely been revealed before.
The concert is documented on a CD on Trouble In The East Records.

die Band

WALD ist ein frei improvisierendes Trio, bestehend aus Taiko Saito am Vibraphon, Jan Roder am Kontrabass und Michael Griener am Schlagzeug.
Im Rahmen einer Konzertreihe, in der sich Michael Griener und Jan Roder sowohl mit bereits bestehenden Bands als auch mit Erstbegegnungen im Berliner Au Topsi Pohl präsentierten, stand Taiko Saito im November 2021 erstmals nur mit Bass und Schlagzeug auf einer öffentlichen Bühne.
Die gemeinsam entstandene Musik ermöglichte es allen dreien, Facetten ihrer musikalischen Persönlichkeiten zum Ausdruck zu bringen, die zuvor nur selten zum Vorschein gekommen waren.
Das Konzert ist auf einer CD bei Trouble In The East Records dokumentiert.

the Musicians:

Taiko Saito, geboren in Sapporo. Marimba- und Schlagzeugstudium an der Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo bei Prof. Keiko Abe und bei Prof. David Friedman an der Universität der Künste Berlin.
Auftritte als Solistin u.a. mit dem Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra d`Auvergne. Festivalauftritte (Auswahl): Reykjavik Jazz Festival, Tong-Yeong Music Festival, Jazzfest Bonn, Morr Music Festival, Jazzfest Berlin, Silk Road Festival, Cairo Jazzfestival, Moers Festival u.a.
Zusammenarbeit mit Musikerinnen/n wie Mary Halverson, Shing02, Markus Acher (The Notwist), Heinrich Köbberling, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Jan Roder, Uli Kempendorf, Jelena Kulic, Óbó (Sigur Rós), u.a. , mit Komponistin wie So a Gubaidulina, Keiko Abe und mit Theaterregisseur Herbert Fritsch.
Eigene Projekte: KOKO mit Niko Meihold(p), Berlin Mallet Group mit Julius Heise, Hauke Renken, Raphael Meinhart und David Friedman, Futari mit Satoko Fujii(p), kokotob mit Meinhold, Tobias Schirmer(bcl), Puzzle mit S.Fujii, Mizuki Wildenhahn(Tanz), Natsuki Tamura(tp), Schirmer und frei improvisierendes und komponiertes Solo Mokoton Ensemblemitglied bei Trickster Orchestra, Silke Eberhards ́ Potsa Lotsa XL, Hannes Zerbe Orchestra
Mit ihren Projekten Verö entlichung mehrerer CDs bei Labels wie Pirouet und cleanfeed. Ausgezeichnet mit zahlreichen Preisen, u. a. dem ersten Preis beim Concours International de Vibraphone Claude Giot 2005, dem dritten Preis bei der World Marimba Competition 1996 und dem Studiopreis des Berliner Senats. Jury-Tätigkeit für den Concours International de Vibraphone. Sie gibt Meisterklassen und Workshops in Japan, Europa, Kolumbien und den USA.

Jan Roder, born 1968 in Lübeck, Germany, playes bass and electric bass. He moved to Berlin in 1995 where he encountered musicians the likes of Dörner, Mahall, and v. Schlippenbach with whom he has played until today (f.e. this very 'Enttäuschung'). Roder considers his musical 'home' to be post-free jazz and improvised music deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. He collaborates with musicians such as Aki Takase, Gunter Hampel, Irene Schweizer,Ulrich Gumpert, Ernst Ludwig Petrowski, Thomas Borgmann, Peter Brötzmann, WolfgangPuschnig, Axel Dörner, Wlli Kellers, Michael Griener, Oliver Steidle, Silke Eberhard,Christof Thewes, Matthias Schubert, Olaf Rupp..... and in projects such as Monks Casino, Die Enttäuschung, Soko Steidle, Squakk, Die Dicken Finger (on electric bass), Silke Eberhard Trio, Ulrich Gumpert Quartett and Workshop Band, JR3, as a soloist and studio musician.
Foto: Alexander Schaffer

Michael Griener, self-taught by listening to and playing with many of his elders, spent his formative years as a teenager with bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall and began his freelance career in 1988, initially in intensive collaboration with Günter Christmann in Hannover, and since moving to Berlin in 1994 has distinguished himself as one of the most versatile drummers on the current jazz scene, as evidenced by his work with Mal Waldron, Butch Morris, Tal Farlow, Evan Parker, Aki Takase, Tony Malaby and many others. Together with Jan Roder he forms the rhythm section of the band DIE ENTTÄUSCHUNG, ULI GUMPERT QUARTETT, MONK'S CASINO and various other formations.
Informed by a deep knowledge of the jazz tradition, he moves mainly in the border area between jazz and free improvisation, as for example in his trio with Ellery Eskelin and Christian Weber.
In 2002 Baby Sommer brought him on as a lecturer at the Dresden Academy of Music, where he still teaches jazz percussion. In March 2006, Griener received the "Most Creative Soloist" award at the New German Jazz Awards ceremony in Mannheim. His music has been documented on numerous CD releases, including Intakt, HatHut, FMP, Jazzwerkstatt, Moers Music and many more.
Played a.o. with
Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis, Mal Waldron, Evan Parker, Ellery Eskelin, Dave Liebman, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Ken Vandermark,Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, Barry Guy, Paul Lovens, Zeena Parkins, Keith Tippett, Sirone, Uli Gumpert, Aki Takase, Mats Gustafsson, Alexander v. Schlippenbach, Joelle Leandre, Günter Christmann, Conny Bauer, Johannes Bauer, Frank Gratkowski, Phil Minton, Tony Buck, Matthias Schubert, David Moss, Axel Dörner, Lu Hübsch, Claudio Puntin

the CDs:

very new on Trouble In The East Records, July 2023


David Cristol on freejazzblog about Sound (Dis)Obedience March 29th, 2024, Ljubljana

On Friday, the trio of Taiko Saito (vib), Jan Roder (b) and Michael Griener (dm) ushers in the evening. Usher is not quite right as listeners are hurled without delay into a whirlwind of high-octane improv. Which comes almost as a shock as our host primarily proceeded to a plastic nose flutes distribution to all audience members, with successful and not-so-successful attempts by everyone at playing it, a moment of hilarity from all. Back to our trio. I had enjoyed Griener with Christian Weber and Ellery Eskelin on an old jazz repertoire onstage and on a corresponding album on Intakt. Here we have fast improvised music, with a sense of flow, the trio running at full steam for most of the time, with huge conviction. If every effort is made to avoid making "music" in the sense of predetermined forms or predictable patterns, the trio’s instrumental mastery is obvious, even in a style where virtuosity is rarely the point. The fortissimo approach means that mallets and cymbals fly dangerously before spilling on the floor. Textures are also a major part of the proceedings, with tiny bells from Saito, bowing on the vibraphone blades, and odd tools used by Griener, while Roder relentlessly fuels the engine. Jaw-dropping unaccompanied solo features from each member bring even more twists to the busy affair.

MATTHIEU JOUAN on Citizen Jazz about Sound (Dis)Obedience March 29th, 2024, Ljubljana

L’autre trio est composé de la vibraphoniste Taiko Saito et de la paire batterie-contrebasse légendaire de Berlin, Michael Griener et Jan Roder. Ils jouent ensemble depuis si longtemps que leur langage improvisé est presque bicéphale. Difficile de déterminer lequel des deux suit ou précède l’autre dans les propositions.
Le trio joue simplement par grandes vagues qui vont crescendo et décroissent avant de repartir. Et sur ce schéma simple, tout explose. Taiko Saito joue avec une force et une vélocité impressionnantes. La justesse avant tout. Elle semble parfois comme une joueuse de tennis de table, aux revers secs et ultra-rapides, tant qu’on ne voit plus la balle. Tous les trois ont une grande palette de couleurs et d’artefacts qu’ils utilisent avec de rapides changements. Ce qui ressort du trio, c’est l’équilibre des timbres, du boisé, du métallique, du rond, du sec. Et ce jeu si particulier du bassiste qui joue à l’ancienne, en walking parfois, avec les bourdonnements du vibraphone et les cliquetis de la batterie. Le final du concert est un dernier échange sonore qui se réduit à la plus simple expression, jusqu’à finir par une vibration évanescente. Un long silence chargé d’émotion et un tonnerre d’applaudissements.

The other trio is made up of vibraphonist Taiko Saito and the legendary Berlin drum/bass pair Michael Griener and Jan Roder. They've been playing together for so long that their improvisational language is almost two-headed. It's hard to determine which of them follows or precedes the other in their proposals. The trio simply plays in large waves that build to a crescendo, then ebb and flow again. And on this simple pattern, everything explodes. Taiko Saito plays with impressive strength and velocity. Accuracy above all. At times, she seems like a table tennis player, with quick, dry backhands, until you can no longer see the ball. All three have a wide palette of colors and artifacts, which they use with rapid change. What stands out about the trio is the balance of timbres, woody, metallic, round and dry. And the bassist's distinctive, old-fashioned playing, sometimes walking, with the buzz of the vibraphone and the clatter of the drums. The concert's finale is a final exchange of sound that is reduced to the simplest expression, ending in an evanescent vibration. A long, emotional silence and thunderous applause. Translated with (free version)

citizenjazz © Petra Cvelbar

Ken Waxman on, April 3rd, 2024

Now Berlin-based, Japanese vibraphonist Taiko Saito divides her time between notated and improvised music with projects as different as Silke Eberhard’s Potsa Lotsa XL and the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra.
Wald links her with bassist Jan Roder and percussionist Michael Griener, two of Germany’s busiest Jazz and improv players, where her vibes take the role that’s usually for a chordal instrument. As part of the Trio San, she adds marimba resonations to her vibraphone mallet forays. Her partners are Strasbourg-based drummer Yuko Oshima, who plays with the likes of Eve Risser, and Tokyo-based pianist Satoko Fujii whose numerous associates encompass Europe, Asia and North America.
Roder’s supple pacing and Grenier’s subtle drum pings on “Ghosts of the Midnight Wood”, Wald’s first track set up the parameters for the trio. Gradually advancing from andante to allegro, Saito’s circular mallet patterning expanded the exposition’s definition so that silent interludes and singular metal bar pops intersect with buzzing bass arco tones and bell-tree shakes from the percussionist that add color as well as rhythm to the process.
This transformation continues throughout, as the aluminum bar and resonator pops provide a softening of the otherwise rhythm section-oriented narratives. Using the pivots from string rubs on the vibes and simple drum clanks and clatters, other pieces emphasize atmospheric shakes or balladic passages. There’s even a point at the end of “Typhoons and Windbreaks” when a walking bass line and drum backbeat combines with the motor-inflected resonator vibration to approximates a standard Blues groove.

more on JazzWord

Bill Meyer in Dusted magazine

Free improvisation may be a creative space where an instrument’s baggage can be dropped, but this is easier for some than others. Given its limited and highly distinct sound, the vibraphone’s particularly hard to untether from expectation, but Taiko Saito gives it her best shot on WALD. The Sapporo-born, Berlin-based mallet-wielder, who has worked at length with Silke Eberhard and Satoko Fujii, does not totally play against expectation, but she does keep her instrument’s stylistic mandates at bay by shifting between time and no time, swing and no swing, and steering a middle course between the big wall of sound you might expect from, say, Jason Adasiewicz, and the bebop-derived suppression of resonance pursued by an earlier resonance. This CD documents her first encounter with bassist Jan Roder and drummer Michael Griener, who constitute Die Enttäuschung’s rhythm section, and that association will tell you more about their commitment to the moment than what they actually play. Each of the album’s four spontaneously realized tracks is a world unto itself in which chaos is courted, swing cultivated, or slipstreams ridden. These are woods to get lost in.

Dusted, vol.9, No 11, part 2

Gabriel Aniol in Jazzpodium 6/7 2023

Peter Margasak on Nowhere Street

On Sunday, July 2 she (Taiko Saito) will play a solo piece as part of a concert at the spectacular Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, where the bulk of the program will feature her excellent improvising trio WALD, with bassist Jan Roder and drummer Michael Griener—the current rhythm section of Die Enttäuschung. The group has just released its eponymous debut recording, made live at the sorely missed Au Topsi Pohl in November of 2021. The album demonstrates an impressive connection on four pieces created on the spot. Saito sticks exclusively to vibraphone here, but her versatility and non-jazz ideas give the music plenty of spark. The rhythm section allows the music to breathe, toggling between swinging passages and sections that focus on pure sound. On the opening track “Ghosts of the Midnight Wood,” which you can listen to below, the music keeps contracting and expanding—players drop out, letting someone pursue an individual thread for a couple of minutes, before the others join back in, pushing the performance in a new direction. Griener is propulsive, but he still attacks his crash cymbal here and there to inject shots of dissonance and chaos, adding delicious tension to already jagged lines unspooled by Saito.
Unlike many other vibists, who produce liquid swells to erase any silence or to generate harmonic possibilities for her cohorts, Saito generally adopts a more percussive attack, which fits perfectly with Griener and the more pointillistic side of Roder’s playing. Elsewhere, as on a piece like “Hoarfrost Tree'' there's an enhanced focus on sound, as bowed lines from the musicians mewl, rumble, and vibrate in striated layers of quietude at the outset, carrying on for more than three minutes before the temperature is raised and the levitating intensity ramps up. I honestly haven’t really heard a vibraphone trio operate like this one does.
Nowhere Street at

Rigobert Dittmann in Bad Alchemy

Man nehme das Céline Voccia Trio und tausche die französische Pianistin gegen TAIKO SAITO, um ihre Malletts zu verwirbeln mit JAN RODERs basswerklichem Pizzicato und Arco und den quicken Sticks von MICHAEL GRIENER. Dann kann sowas entstehen wie Wald (TITE-REC 029), das die drei am 4.11.2021 live im Berliner Au Topsi Pohl zeigt. Mit 'Ghosts of the Midnight Wood', 'Hoarfrost Tree', 'Typhoons and Windbreaks' sowie 'Snow Monster'. Stoff, wie gemalt von den alten japanischen Meistern mit ihrem phantastischen Auge für Landschaften und Schreckgespenster. Nur dass diese Bilder auch noch tanzen und einen verhexen können.
Mit Berliner Luft, die Griener seit 1994, Roder seit 1995 und Saito seit 1997 atmen, und dem blinden Verständnis, das die beiden Herrn sich in Monk's Casino, dem Uli Gumpert Quartett, Die Enttäuschung, Squakk und Reich durch Jazz erspielt haben. Die Bäume ihres Waldes haben kristallene und metallene Blätter und Nadeln, die ein Geisterwind schüttelt, harft, spitzfingrig tupft und zupft oder mit vollen Händen aufrauschen lässt. Und so einen Klingklang und crashige Fluktuationen erzeugt, die vielleicht keinen Jüngerschen Waldgänger nervös machen können. Aber leichtfertige Jogger werden da lieber mal die Beine auf den Bückel nehmen, von Bärenatem gestreift. So dass die Kobolde und Geister wenigstens um Mitternacht wieder unter sich klimpern, flickern, wie Glasperlen umeinander flippern können. Mit dem 'Raureifbaum' ist man nah bei Stifters Eiswald in 'Die Mappe meines Urgroßvaters' - als ob viele Tausende oder gar Millionen von Glasstangen durcheinander rasselten - mit Saitos Sound als eiskristallenem Mirakel. Den danach wuschelnd jazzenden Wind lassen Roder mit dem Bogen und fliegenden, pickenden Fingern, Griener mit geschwind federnden Besenstrichen und Cymbalschlägen beben, Saito mit tremolierenden Malletts klimpern, springen und tönen. Zuletzt knarrt Yeti durch den Schnee, macht sich aber leicht wie die Flocken. Um seinen mysteriösen Ruf zu wahren, schlägt er sich auf Zehenspitzen in die Büsche, von denen er Eiszapfen verstreut, außer einem rasanten Klappern bleibt da weniger als das Huschen eines Hermelins im Winterpelz. Und ganz woanders der leise Tritt des Phantoms, das nur allmählich wieder seine mächtige Gestalt annimmt. Klar, andre Köpfe, andre Bilder. Aber ohne zu staunen, findet wohl keiner aus diesem Wald.
[BA 120 rbd]

the music:

Jazz & Experimental In Berlin Festival january 20th, 2024

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Sound (Dis)obedience Festival, Ljubljana, April 29th; 2024

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from new CD "WALD"

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© Jan Roder - 2021