Each year, North Sea Jazz commissions a promising Dutch jazz composer to freely write a composition. For this occasion, pianist Philipp Rüttgers composed a fairy tale on music informed by writer Hans Christian Andersen, who’s known for ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and ‘The Princess and the Pea’, among others. Philipp grew up in 1980s Berlin, a turbulent time in which he sought refuge in fairy tales. In his own fantastic story he offers a critical view on today’s society.

Amsterdam-based Philipp Rüttgers made name last year with the album Repetitive Mind by his seven-piece ensemble Phil’s Music Laboratory. For his new composition he formed a group with the singular English multi-instrumentalist Heidi Heidelberg, who performs the enchanting lead vocals. The group is rounded out by violinist Oene van Geel, cellist Jörg Brinkmann and drummer Mark Schilders.

‘Rüttgers fires up his modern jazz ensemble with countless rhythmic changes and melodic twists, without becoming too excessive. The music constantly changes, with a lively lyricism coming through in both the contemplative and the louder orchestral parts. Strong solos by the horn players, from thoughtful to explosive, affirm the well-rounded story and its various plot twists which conjure a wealth of emotions’ (Jazzenzo on Repetitive Mind).