on life, music etc beyond mainstream


2015 29 Jul


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Bin nun mal kein Liebhaber von Bestenlisten. Hier aber drei Reihen von Autoren. Die erste von Autoren, die ich mich schon lange begleiten, und die ich immer wieder lese, eine zweite von nichtliterarischen, bei denen ich viel gefunden habe, und die mich geprägt haben und eine dritte von solchen, die ich zwar nicht immer wieder lese, die aber tiefen Eindruck hinterlassen haben. Eine Momentaufnahme der Erinnerung …

Robert Creeley

Isaak Babel

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Bertolt Brecht

Ernst Jandl

Wisława Szymborska

Elias Canetti

Rafik Schami

Kurt Schwitters

Karl Valentin

Gregory Bates

Carlos Castaneda

Thomas Luckmann

Franz Kafka

James Joyce

Heinrich von Kleist

Georg Büchner

Samuel Beckett

Else Lasker-Schüler

Peter Weiss

Thomas Brasch

Günther Bruno Fuchs

Johannes Bobrowski

Francois Villon

Boris Vian

Giorgio Manganelli

Jakov Lind

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Paul Bowles

Danilo Kiš

Klar gibt’s mehr beim Zurück- und Weiterdenken … gleich, morgen, übermorgen … Und es gibt ein paar ganz wichtige Bücher, die hier nicht genannt sind. Ein anderes Mal …

2015 29 Jul

Sim, o trem no Lisboa

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wird manchmal etwas knapp …

besonders in der engen Kurve im oberen Teil von Alfama

Dann muss rangiert werden. Eine Trem setzt zurück auf ein Abstellgleis, dann kann’s weitergehen.

Dauert dann etwas. Kraxeln ist die Alternative …

It’s almost august, windy, rainy and cold in Amsterdam. Good to leave for 10 days in warmer Lisbon to attend renowned Jazz em Agosto Festival there at the Gulbenkian Foundation.

It was in the summer of 2008 that I first got in contact with this Lisbon Festival organized in the first two weeks of august by the Gulbenkian Foundation. I came to Portugal at that moment to join two concerts of the group of ûd-player Rabih Abou-Khalil with fado singer Ricardo Ribeiro*, first at coastal place São Martinho do Porto and then at Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon. I travelled with my 14 year old son Dikran and when we were in Lisbon, we stayed in an apartment in Alfama, at the foot of the Monastery Såo Vicente de Fora. Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest district, the old Moorish town spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. The great 1755 Earthquake did not destroy the Alfama, which has remained a picturesque labyrinth of narrow streets and small squares. It was the best possible first acquaintance staying in the Alfama labyrinth.

Except the Rabih Abou-Khalil concert I had two appointments there, one with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier who was performing at the festival Jazz em Agosto, and then other with Pedro Costa of Clean Feed Records at the record shop Trem Azul on Rua do Alecrím near landing point Cais do Sodre at the Tejo river**.

In retrospect prominent scenes of concerts and personal meetings pop up immediately of the four editions of Jazz em Agosto festival I attented: the playful performance of bassist Barre Phillips and accordionist Philippe Contet (2008), the conduction of Butch Morris (2009), the performance of legendary trumpeter Bill Dixon with Chicagoan Exploding Star Orchestra (2009), the concert of the 19-piece Electro-Acoustic Ensemble of Evan Parker (2010), the first performances of Peter Evans (2009) and of saxophonist Darius Jones (2011) I ever saw, and Wadada Leo Smith’s ensemble Organic (2011). I have lively and precious memories of talks with Sylvie Courvoisier, Hernani Faustino, Pedro Costa, Rodrigo Amado, Gabriel Ferrandini, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Bill Dixon, Jack DeJohnette, Darius Jones, Ingrid Laubrock and Cecil Taylor.

It would have been impossible at other festivals to meet musicians and groups like in Lisbon and see them working and performing in such lush urban ambiance. Especially the atmosphere of the nightly outdoor concerts at the amphitheatre in the park of the Gulbenkian Foundation Is unforgettable and a special experience again every time. This year the number of concerts are reduced but will all be outdoors in the amphitheatre.

This year’s program offers a challenging melange of European and North American spearheading music. It starts on Friday, July 31, with a strong Scandinavian glaciation stream mainly from Sweden, the 19-piece Fire! Orchestra and the quintet Swedish Azz complemented by Austrian-Portuguese orchestral power with the Orquestra Jazz de Matesinhos from Porto with the update of Michael Mantler’s ground-breaking work for the first Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in 1968***.

This will be followed in the second half of next week by the Portuguese Red Trio joined by extraordinary British reedist John Butcher +. Thursday and Friday will have two impure jazz combinations: DJ Illvibe s will enter a playful family party with elderly legends Aki Takase and Alexander von Schlippenbach. Norwegian bass-canon Ingebrigt Håker Flaten will join forces with some hard-boiled young musical beasts called The Young Mothers****. It will all lead into a double peaking apotheosis, first the trio of Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill and Marcus Gillmore performing Wadada’s Great Lake Suites and then ending up with Orchestre National de Jazz*****.

Mats-olof Gustafsson is the man of this year’s festival summer. Artist in residence at Moldejazz and multiple appearances with “his” 19-piece Fire! Orchestra at European festivals******. And also at Jazz em Agosto he will act in an important role. It reveals he is a kind of core artist of the festival:

“Gustafsson has performed at Jazz em Agosto nine times, making him the festival’s most frequent performer. Those concerts have covered a broad spectrum, including appearances as a featured performer in other people’s bands, often with strong evidence of the free-jazz inheritance.” (p. 72 (Broomer e.a.)).

For the 30th edition of the festival in 2013 the Gulbenkian Foundation produced a book with 50 profiles out of musicians and groups who had played the festival, from Muhal Richard Abrahams to John Zorn:

Stuart Broomer/Brian Morton/Bill Shoemaker, Arrivals/Departures – New Horizons at Jazz em Agosto, Lisbon. Gulbenkian Musica. Lisbon 2014

It is related to the album Em Portugues (released in september 2008 on Enja label)

The interview with Sylvie Courvoisier was published in German magazine Jazzthetik. In the Clean Feed item nobody was interested in Germany or The Netherlands then.

It was also performed at Moers Festival with the Austrian Grand Cuisine Big Band. See my review.

See my recent radio program
See my radio program in 2011

See my review of the orchestra’s appearance at Moers Festival and Jazzdor Berlin

See my review of Copenhagen Jazz Festival

At first sight it seems no evident match: the then world-famous band leader Ellington (1899-1974) and the now legendary producer Conny Plank (1940-1987). Plank played a crucial role in shaping the recordings of music of Kraftwerk, Neu!, Guru Guru, Dieter Moebius, Holger Czukay, Scorpions, Einstürzende Neubauten, Eurythmics, Ultravox, Echo & Bunnyman, Clannad. The Duke and Plank met in 1970 at Plank’s Rhenus studio near Cologne. Ellington was rehearsing with his orchestra at the studio and Plank recorded it. It is well established that it happened but yet unclear when, in april or june.of that year. Also about the line-up there are some still open questions: who is the female vocalist on one track?

The recordings of the session were discovered recently,have been restored and released by the German Grönland label on cd. The cd contains two pieces, Alerado and Afrique, of each three takes. Listening to the recording, especially the takes of Afrique makes clear that the meeting of Ellington and Plank is much more than mere coincidence. The piece is gradually



shaped into clear gestalt. When the drum motif of Afrique played by Rufus Jones is rolling it could immediately be fancied Marc Ribot, David Murray, Arthur Blythe or Tim Berne joining in. Chuck Connor’s bass trombone and other instruments alternately place their sharp accents like percussive strokes. Ellington himself joins on piano: raw, rough and ragged, masterfully creating the jungle sound within a sophisticatedly accumulated, built up piece. It is a busting piece that leaves the swing genre of the other piece, the forward driving Alerado, far behind. The purely instrumental vocals in the last take of Afrique catapult it still more



into avant-garde realms. It is worthwhile also to listen to the recording of the piece made in New York in February 1971 contained in the Ellington-album The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse (OJCCD). The Plank-recording is much opener, sharper contoured with less orchestral hierarchy. It is edgier and the voices involved are more equal. The recording in Plank’s studio gives some interesting insight in both Ellington’s approach as well as that of Plank which became legendary and influential. Its is sensible and plausible to assume that Plank really worked on the pieces with Ellington in the studio. Plank was known as very sincere in choosing his musical partners. When Brian Eno suggested Plank to do the recording of U2’s Joshua Tree, it seemed that Plank have turned it down due to the singer he thought he could not work with.


Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – The Conny Plank Session. Grönland Records


Duke Ellington – The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse. Original Jazz Classics




Mostly my radio programs of one hour have to be produced rapidly. The rule is 95% music plus 5% left for announcements/introduction. That’s good for listeners from outside who do not understand Dutch. Selection and sequencing are crucial to draw listeners in. Mostly the programs are short portraits of a musician or a group, sometimes specific themes and now and then a potpourri of heterogeneous pieces that find each other, make themselves fit with some goodwill of the listener.



The second august program presents a selection of recordings from the last 15 years of the label of the Budapest Music Centre. It will contain music by saxophonist Mihály Dresch, violinist Zoltan Lantos, reedist István Grencsó, pianist Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer and drummer Tamás Geröly of Trio Kontraszt.

Saxophonist Viktor Tóth of the younger Hungarian generation will be part of the program in a group with Belgian trumpeter Bart Maris (in an Ornettish rock ‘n roll piece) and in Bob Marley tribute by a mixed Hungarian-French-German-American line-up (Christophe Monniot, reeds, Manu Codja, g, Carsten Daerr, p, Mátyás Szandai, bass, Hamid Drake, dr, Michael Schiefel, vocal).

The closure will be the “Horizon” Quintet of French trombonist Gueorgui Kornazov of Bulgarian origin. It is a French quintet with an unmistakable Balkan slant: Emile Parisienne, sax, Manu Codja, g, Marc Buronfosse, b, Karl Jannuska, dr. After Kornazov there will be the stunning Swiss vocalist Andreas Scherer together with Swiss Arte Quartet, an all brass ensemble, and bassist Zwiauer. BMC recently released their impressive last album Perpetual Delirium on cd and dvd.

Budapest Music Center (BMC) was founded by trombonist and academy professor László Gőz in 1996. Its now a music information centre which collects and makes available information about Hungarian classical and jazz musicians and about contemporary compositions available world-wide. BMC has a jazz venue, Opus Jazz Club with four weekly concerts and an advanced programming, an own label, BMC Records, and it houses the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation named after the world renowned composer and conductor.

BMC has organized classical, contemporary and jazz events since 1997 (e.g. Festival Kurtág 80, the Music Forum Expo electroacoustic festival, the New Series Festival (jointly by BMC and ECM Records), the series of CD-presentations as well as the Budapest Jazz Festival).



BMC Records, founded in 1998 and publishing Hungarian artists of the contemporary, classical and jazz field has a catalogue of more than 200 releases now. It has built a name in Europe and the world, has fostered Hungarian musicians in an international context and initiated successful collaboration between Hungarian and musicians from all over Europe and abroad.



PLAYLIST august #2

Mihály Dresch – Quiet as it is. BMC (2001)

1 The River Tisza
2 “Gymnes” impressions
Trio Kontraszt Grencsó/Tickmayer/Geröly. BMC (2014)

3 Ostinato Barbaro Prelude
4 Fragment IV
5 Slow Street/Lassú utca
Zoltán Lantos’ Mirrorworld – Tiptoe ceremony. BMC (2002)

6 Ashkelon
Viktor Tóth – Popping Bopping. BMC (2011)

7 Hong Kong
The Cool Runnings Orchestra – Tribute To Marley. BMC (2011)

8 Nap-Nap
Gueorgui Kornazov “Horizon” Quintet – The Budapest Concert. BMC (2014)

9 Na Toni
Andreas Schaerer Meets Arte Quartet & Wolfgang Zwiauer – Perpetual Delirium. BMC (2014)

10 Zirzensisches Mittelstück

Idyll of 5e (ILK) in Copenhagen, Meatpacking district





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2015 24 Jul

Work Songs

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Jason Moran’s contribution to the Biennale

At the Biennale, the Savoy wall confronts the Three Deuces stage to embody a face-off between two different eras of American jazz: 1930s swing era with 1950s bebop, respectively. Moran explains that the Savoy Ballroom was an enormous space meant for dancing. When swing went out of fashion and jazz groups literally downsized, the stages shrunk, too. Though the musicians were “shoved in a corner,” as Moran puts it, “the music remained rebellious.” Read more …

2015 24 Jul


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Popmusik und Planeten, eine alte Liebe. Joe Meeks Telstar von 1962 stand am Anfang des neuen Space/spacy Sound. Und Meer war der erste Elektroniker der Popmusik. Er setzte ein Clavioline im Studio ein. Telstar wird als erstes mit der Fassung von The Ventures assoziiert, aber das wirkliche Ding ist die Fassung von The Tornados. Joe Meek starb 1967 tragisch. Sein Tod und das Gezerre in der Musikindustrie jener Tage ist ein Kapitel für sich.
Telstar Bill Frisell
Die Musik jener Zeit war voll von Space-Sachen. Von Meek bis Sun Ra, von Subotnik bis Ellington.
Wer mehr direkt ins All hineinhören will, kommt bei der NASA voll zum Zuge, kann dort schwelgen und stundenlang mit dem Kopfhörer Major Tom makieren.
Apropos Subotnik …

To celebrate the August VOD/DVD release of I DREAM OF WIRES, the definitive and acclaimed electronic music documentary about the rise, fall and rebirth of the modular synthesizer, Monoduo films and Mobile Kino present a very special screening and electronic music event in Berlin. On Tuesday July 28, I DREAM OF WIRES will celebrate it’s release premiere in Berlin, followed by a live performance by the legendary Morton Subotnick. Taking place at Babylon Kino Berlin, Morton Subotnick, accompanied by his frequent collaborator, video artist Lillevan, presents FROM SILVER APPLES OF THE MOON TO A SKY OF CLOUDLESS SULFUR REVISITED: VI, marking Subotnick’s first live appearance in Germany since 2011. The event will also feature a talk which will be moderated by Alec Empire from Atari Teenage Riot …


but celestial nevertheless …

Joni Mitchell on Appalachian dulcimer

V I D E O short version

V I D E O long version


W h e r e

“last year i reached out to the philosopher timothy morton to see if he would be interested to start a dialogue with me, to search for a definition of me and my friends’ stance in this world, which i felt his writing came very close to already. of course i’m still searching but this email chat of ours got pretty close and we shared a couple of coordinates trying to define what “ism” a pop musician from iceland would be …..” said Björk

Read more …


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