"... Johannes Barthelmes has been leading his own bands since the early 90s, playing as a soloist or in duos, e.g. with pianist Uli Lenz, with whom he recorded the highly acclaimed CDs "Concert of Prodigal Sons" and "Trane's Tree", among others. For the latter, as well as for his current production "For Her", Barthelmes received the German Record Critics' Award. Johannes Barthelmes plays with equal measure of expressiveness and lyrical restraint, and in recent years he has matured above all into a gifted ballad player and composer, which has earned him high praise in the German press, as well as in the local press following a recent tour of Southeast Asia. His "big, full sound" was celebrated as an "acoustic miracle for the ears" and finally Barthelmes was even attested to have become "one of the most accomplished musicians in Europe. ..."
"... It is Johannes Barthelmes' best and most cohesive production to date. Without weaknesses, with courage for depth and great arcs. Completely in the style of the American tenor acrobats, we are shown on the basis of his own pieces what phenomenal development this saxophonist has taken in recent years. Congenial here especially his interplay with trombonist Gary Valente and guitarist Bill Bickford."
"... After this introduction, the saxophonist Johannes Barthelmes from Berlin entered the stage, and a light went on. Johannes Barthelmes plays a downright awesome tenor, he has a great, powerful tone, a rousing performance, he has fire, technique, ideas..."
"...Watts' mastery of that kind of contemporary bebop that also incorporates the experiences of John Coltrane is in no way inferior to the tenor sax guru of the past decade, Michael Brecker. Johannes Barthelmes, who played fine chamber music together with Uli Lenz and reached back into jazz history as far as glowing ballads, may also be mentioned in this context."
"With Johannes Barthelmes, the band has one of the best tenor saxophonists in Europe in its ranks. Raging, frenzied, impetuous, he plunges skyward in his effervescent improvisations, phrases and tones in the fervor of ecstasy, crushing, fragmenting, opening up new worlds of sound in the process. ..."
"... here energetic to the point of ecstasy, there nobly inspired, shining from within, on the tenor full of warmth and changing in all tone colors, lyrical and pure on the soprano. Among the European saxophonists with reference to John Coltrane, Johannes Barthelmes belongs to the first set. ..."
"... in this quartet, with the saxophonist Johannes Barthelmes, a musician has quite stealthily matured who must be counted among the masters of the instrument. With what storm and urge, with what technical means and with what emotional commitment Barthelmes summarizes the tradition of Albert Ayler and John Coltrane, that is ... simply incredible."
"Congratulations on your fantastic CD ("Concert of Prodigal Sons"), which for me is one of the best productions of German post-war jazz. Even the second time I listened to it in the car, I didn't manage - having long since arrived at the parking lot - to get out before the end of the cassette!"
"... Tenor Johannes Barthelmes develops a tone that captures the whole world of expression, sounds that breathe great fulsomeness and expansive hymnody, while being of a very elemental effect."
"Thank you for your really great duets. The so-called 'coincidence' brought it about that I heard your music on the same day as Stanz Getz' last duo album, and I didn't feel that your CD needed to hide in that neighborhood. These duets are so good that I really get my personal enjoyment out of them."
"Jazz duos abound. And there are many good duos. There are also quite a few outstanding saxophone-piano duos, I know them. But to find a duo like Johannes Barthelmes and Uli Lenz, you have to look around for a long time. In their musical dialogues, the two never talk past each other, as is often the case elsewhere. The listener can literally feel how one absorbs the thoughts of the other, processes them, answers them. They have a lot to say to each other, but they never lapse into chattiness. This is duo music that comes not only from the head, but also from the belly and the soul. I envy the listeners in the Passion Church for this live experience, but I am glad that the "Prodigal Sons" now carry their message into the world via CD ("Concert of the Prodigal Sons"). And that's where it belongs: in the world. The art of the duo. With Johannes and Uli you have to add one word: the HIGH art of the duo."