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Karolina’s passion for the saxophone began in her native village in the heart of the Austrian Alps. A thirst for adventure brought her to New York City, where she garnered a stellar reputation as a jazz saxophonist performing with Duke Ellington Orchestra, Chico Hamilton and many others. In 2004, Karolina became the first woman to join the world-renowned Grammy award winning WDR Big Band Cologne. In the present she divides her time between working with the big band and composing for, recording and touring with her international quartet KLARO!

On the other side of the world, namely in Mexico City, drummer Drori Mondlak was born and moved to New York as a teenager. That’s where a friend’s father introduced him to the music of Charlie Parker and unwittingly unleashed a jazz drumming career that has taken Drori to stages across the world with jazz greats like Joe Williams, Lee Konitz, Frank Foster, Don Friedman, and Barbara Dennerlein.

Today, Drori and Karolina are two very distinct musical personalities with a unique voice of their own as composers and players and have joined forces in their quartet KLARO!.

The music on their new CD Joining Forces co-produced with BR (Bavarian Radio) is dynamic, spirited, and heartfelt. “Calling All Shadows” is Karolina’s composition and opens the CD with a burst of energy, filled with mystery and passion. It is a tribute to the spirits living in the shadow world. Pablo Picasso’s quote “You’re Either a Goddess or a Doormat” sparked a haunting melody filled with beauty and lyricism. Each track on the recording tells a musical story that is both personal and universal in its reach.

They are joined by two extraordinary musicians—guitarist Cary DeNigris from Chicago and WDR Big Band bassist John Goldsby.


released November 1, 2011

Karolina Strassmayer (alto saxophone, composition)
Drori Mondlak (drums)
Cary DeNigris (guitar)
John Goldsby (bass)



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Karolina Strassmayer & Drori Mondlak - KLARO! Köln, Germany

Performing their original compositions, KLARO! blends the romanticism of European classical and folk music and fuses it with the rhythmic fire and swing of the American jazz tradition together with the harmonic sophistication of contemporary improvised music.

The group is co-led by two critically acclaimed international artists - alto saxophonist KAROLINA STRASSMAYER, and drummer Drori Mondlak.
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