Lucia Cadotsch, born in Zürich, Switzerland is a vocalist, lyricist and songwriter based in Berlin. She is best known for long-standing collaborative bands that currently include LIUN + the Science Fiction Band, an ensemble co-led with the saxophonist Wanja Slavin, AKI, a new quartet with the pianist Kit Downes, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer James Maddren and her acclaimed chamber trio Speak Low, with Petter Eldh on upright bass and Otis Sandsjö on tenor saxophone, which has performed at festivals in Berlin, New York and London. Lucia’s diverse output as a musician can be heard on a total of ten albums she has released since 2009. Her awards as a singer include the Swiss Music Price (2023), the German Jazz Award (2021), the ECHO Jazz Award (2017) and the New German Jazz Price (2012).
Speak Low, her chamber trio with Petter Eldh (upright bass) and Otis Sandsjö (tenor saxophone), debuted in 2017. The project set things off by deep diving into the world of jazz standards and folk songs; updating and reframing them with the freedom and audacity of modern remix culture. The Guardian and DownBeat gave the record their maximum ratings; while the latter included it in its Best Albums of the Year list. As a consequence, the trio was invited to play at the NYC Winter Jazzfest. To date, the group played a total of over 150 shows! Their debut was followed up by a collection of remixes, covers, and reworks called Speak Low Renditions. If features some of the most unique “voices” on the scene: Dan Nicholls, Joy Frempong, Evelinn Trouble, Julian Sartorius, Marc Lohr, Colin Vallon, Trummerschlunk, Marc Neyen, and Don Philippe. In 2020, Kit Downes (hammond organ) and Lucy Railton (cello) joined the outfit (as featured guests), and the group released Speak Low II.
LIUN + The Science Fiction Band is Lucia’s band with saxophonist / producer Wanja Slavin. Although they started writing songs together back in 2013, their first record (Time Rewind) only dropped in 2019. Kurt Rosenwinkel called it “an instant classic.” Francesco Wilking described it as “synth pop for the people of the day after-tomorrow.” Multilayered, orchestral, and self-reflexive – their music is a universe. In a live setting, they can be spotted in different iterations. As a quintet and as a large ensemble, they are supplemented by a six piece reed and horn section as well as a piano trio. In 2020, the band collaborated with the EOS Chamber Orchestra, who played scaled up arrangements of the LIUN material and in October 2023 they’ll premier new songs arranged for the HR Big Band. Their sophomore record, titled Lily of the Nile has been released in November 2022 on Heartcore records.
AKI is a quartet consisting of Lucia (vocals), Kit Downes (organ and piano), Phil Donkin (bass), and James Maddren (drums). The origins of the group can be traced back to a longstanding collaboration between Cadotsch and Downes that punctuated in writing a plethora of material. The songs blend Cadotsch’s idiosyncratic wordplay and imagery and Downes‘ rich, layered soundscapes. The idea to add a rhythm section – with James Maddren on drums and Phil Donkin on bass – was born out of the desire to expand the sonic possibilities of the group and to inject the music with new perspectives. Their debut album AKI feat. Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar on two songs has been released in May 2023 on Heartcore Records.
„For any jazz musician, the most important thing (and, for some, the most difficult) is to find a voice that belongs to them alone and that, once heard, is not easily forgotten. Lucia Cadotsch found her voice — cool, clear and poised — through years of study, but the result sounds like the most natural thing in the world, as if fully formed from the very beginning. Having found that voice, the next test for the individual is to find or create settings in which it can flourish. Throughout her career, Cadotsch has explored a succession of musical environments that complement and enhance her own originality. While many can sing such standards as “Moon River” and “What’s New” faithfully and competently, she and her fellow members of the trio Speak Low prove that it is still possible, through the intelligent application of modern techniques, to delve below the surface of familiar material, unpeeling the layers to reveal new meaning. In her other regular ensembles, Cadotsch responds to the need for jazz to live in the present through engaging in dialogues with other idioms. LIUN + the Science Fiction Band is a band of variable size, performing newly composed pieces in which Cadotsch’s poetic lyrics are embedded in Wanja Slavin’s startlingly inventive arrangements. In AKI, a quartet, she resumes her fruitful collaboration with the pianist Kit Downes. Through each of these projects, she has followed in the distinguished footsteps of Norma Winstone and Karin Krog, evolving year by year into a European jazz singer of distinctive character, outstanding musicianship and growing stature.“
Richard Williams, 2023
„When Lucia asked me to play on a few songs of her album I said yes right away, her trio is fresh and powerful, her writing is capturing unique feelings and her voice is mesmerizing.“
Kurt Rosenwinkel, 2023
„I like what you’re doing. Congratulations!“ T.C. Boyle
„Your album is sooooo killing. Extra extra good. I love it. Congrats, Lucia, for me it’s an instant classic.“ Kurt Rosenwinkel, 2019
“Lucia is one of the most interesting female vocalists on the European scene, not only in the quality of her voice, but in the settings she places it and the music she chooses.”
JAZZ TODAY (UK)
«Hier singen die Liebe und der Schmerz, sie klingen wahr und man glaubt ihnen, dass sie sich behaupten können im Gerumpel unserer Zeit.» Francesco Wilking
„So ingenious is the way vocalist Lucia Cadotsch reimagines the canon of standards that the songs feel fully in the here and now.“
DOWNBEAT (US) – 5/5 ***** Bradley Bamberger
„…urban, von analoger Direktheit und geradezu maßlos in seiner Freiheit des Klangs und der Interpretation. Hinter dieser Musik steht nicht nur ein Sound, den man so noch nicht gehört hat, sondern eine musikalische Haltung, vor deren Klarheit und Kompromisslosigkeit man sich spontan verbeugen möchte. Ich habe lange nichts derart Beeindruckendes mehr gehört.“
Volker Doberstein, JAZZPODIUM 03/16
„Cadotsch has a pleasingly spare, sober approach to singing in which the absence of vibrato is matched by a lack of excessive phrasal ornamentation that in no way reduces the emotional charge of her performance.“
Kevin Le Gendre JAZZWISE MAGAZINE (UK)
„Many singers deliver standards songs as they are conventionally sung. A few, such the late Betty Carter take risks and reap a greater reward. Lucia Cadotsch is one of those.“ Richard Williams, Jazzfest Berlin
„Lucia. Her voice is insane.“ COLORIZING
„Welch Glück, wenn man wie Lucia Cadotsch bereits zur eigenen musikalischen Sprache gefunden hat, bevor man sich an der Interpretation versucht!“
“Sie hat dem Jazzgesang neuen Atem eingehaucht und experimentiert ständig weiter.”
Deutschland Funk Kultur
„That intimacy and distance is exactly what you hear in her voice, and the tension of that duality is what makes Lucia so intriguing.“
JAZZWISE UK, June 2020, Debra Richards
„Lucia’s voice possesses for me the necessary subtlety and understatement to deliver such traditional jazz songs in our times. It is hard for me to imagine another contemporary vocalist with the ability to sing these tunes with such grace and controlled emotion.“
Hayden Chisholm, 2015
“In its best and most positive sense, Lucia can sing the shit out of any melody. She can phrase like a Grande Dame and she displays an experience and liberty with Time and the melody line which belie her age. Hearing her sing and playing behind and with her make you catch your breath and re-discover a song which you’ve played so many times before. Sophisticated Lady, indeed.”
Uli Kempendorff, 2015
„Als Erstes denk ich an Lucias schöne warme Stimme und ihre ungewöhnliche supergenaue Phrasierung, die den Klang und die Farbe jedes Vokals perfekt formt. Es scheint nichts dem Zufall überlassen und trotzdem ist es so wunderbar frei. Sie hat diesen beobachtenden und abstrahierenden Blick von außen und gleichzeitig ist immer direkt die Emotion zu spüren, die hinter dem Text steht, wovon auch immer sie erzählt. Als ob sie ihre eigene Geschichte erzählen würde.“
Kathrin Pechlof, 2015