NDR Jazz album of the week

This band gets into action with a strong emphasis on rhythm, which arranges the horns densely, a repetitive, constantly increasing process that you can listen to here. Energetic, powerful and rousing. The pieces spiral up into heavenly storms, have almost hymn-like power, while the ballads go into depth and show great sensitivity. "Magic Realism" - an album recorded by the musicians during the second Covid lockdown. Two concerts were supposed to take place beforehand, but they were ultimately cancelled. So, not as well prepared as they wanted, they went into the studio only to find that not only could they engage with the atmosphere, but that there was an unexpected magic throughout the session. This is how a strong album of this young band came about. The fact that the Chai Masters are familiar with the tradition of jazz is shown by their quote from a Charlie Parker classic, which, played here with lust, has become a launch pad for a completely independent piece by the band.
[Read the original review here]

Sarah Seidel


Magical reality sounds like a contradiction in terms. Because what is supposed to be magical about a reality that currently only gives space to nightmares? With their debut, which was created during the second lockdown without prior concert rehearsals, the Chai Masters really try everything to let their amazing craftsmanship grow into sounds that spread a certain magic. Noble, dignified, exciting, carefully arranged - and not even sterile, which is by no means a matter of course in an ambitious production like this, which is aimed at maximum perfection. Except for Charlie Parker's "Segment", the quintet exclusively presents their own compositions, carried by the voices of trumpeter Antonio Moreno Glazkov and tenor saxophonist Lucas Martínez Membrilla as well as pianist Benjamin Thiébault. Not classic neobop, but subtly ticking, subliminally grooving, sometimes highly virtuosic, lyrical dream music full of secret places of refuge. So it works somehow!
[Read the original review here]

Reinhard Köchl

Jazz thing

The poetic potential of the Chai Masters on their debut album Magic Realism is astounding.
[Read the full review here]

Georg Waßmuth


Magic realism exudes a particular atmosphere, both nostalgic and serene, as if a magic breath had carried the band away.
[Read the full review here]

Jean-Claude Vantroyen

Le Soir

Ambitious and successful.

Howard Mendel

Jazz Journalists Asssociation, USA

Their proficiency in different musical languages allows them to play anything they want, and that's what they do. Because they can.

Mirian Arbalejo

NPR, Spain

Chai Masters conveys warmth and edge. I would travel a long way to see a band like this.

John Fenton

Jazz Journalists Association, New Zealand

They find sharp balances between virtuosic turns and sensitivity. Chai Masters has found a solid group identity.

Joe Woodard

All about jazz, USA