„Treasures I can lift…“ featuring Markus Stockhausen, Vladyslav Sendecki, Arild Andersen and Patrice Héral.
Live at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle Bonn
In September 2007 Markus Stockhausen was invited to organise a special concert in the forum of the ‚Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland‘ in Bonn (museum), within the framework of the exhibition „Ägyptens versunkene Schätze“ (Egypt‘s Sunken Treasures). This was a thematic focus that intrigued Markus Stockhausen immediately, and so he decided to take the thought on board and to bring to light treasures from his own musical biography. „I‘ve often followed the concept of groups who are able to improvise freely. Not in the sense of free jazz, but of a music in which structures, which one might otherwise compose, can appear“ says Markus Stockhausen on his decision to form a new improvising jazz quartet.
To improvise and compose music in almost real time together demands a high level of trust. Together with the Norwegian bass player Arild Andersen and the drummer Patrice Héral from southern France Markus Stockhausen has been binding together the collective work on various projects for many years. And so in the year 2000 the work „Kartá“ for ECM came into being. The guitarist Terje Rypdal was an addition to the trio at that time. „Kartá was an important milestone for me. Most of the pieces on this CD had been improvised freely. Because of this a very special music was born. And (…) it was the first moment of playing together with Terje that we recorded“. Since then Stockhausen, Anderson and Héral have been developing a European musical language together in different combinations (e.g. with Ferenc Snétberger on the CD „Joyosa“, Enja Records 2004), and have been expanding their musical vocabulary with regards to the electronic possibilities of samplers, loops, harmonizers etc.
In January 2006, by invitation of the radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg, this successful collaboration was continued under the title „Karta II“. The trio was joined by the Italian pianist Angelo Comisso. In Hamburg the producer Stefan Gerdes spoke to Markus about Vladyslav Sendecki, one of the most fascinating keyboard players in Europe. Some years earlier Joachim Ernst Berendt had already suggested to bring the two together.
The „Village Voice“ in New York called Vladyslav Sendecki „one of the five best pianists in the world“; his stylistically confident musical range was already proven in his performances with Jaco Pastorius, Tomasz Stanko, Miroslav Vitous and many others. With „Electric Treasures“, the Polish pianist and the trumpet player Stockhausen got along immediately: „It wasn‘t necessary to say much. Vladyslav exhibits such a wide spectrum of expressive possibilities. He is one of the very few who possesses an authentic language with electronic sounds, and it was my condition for this project that everyone brings their own electronics with them.“
An electrifying meeting
And so Andersen, Héral, Stockhausen and Sendecki found themselves on (…) stage together in Bonn on the 21st of September 2007, to go on a collective voyage of discovery to their „Electric Treasures“. Vladyslav Sendecki remembers: „That was really Abracadabra, a meeting like that only happens a few times in a lifetime. Never exchanged words on what would be appropriate to play there. That‘s why it is an indescribable document. To have just met each other – and then create this multiplicity. One can find „Bitches Brew“ in it, one can find „Weather Report“ in it, if one wants to. Somehow the whole world can be found in it.“
It is certainly true that the energetic tension of „Electric Treasures“ reminds one of the trailblazing „electric“ group improvisations, with which Miles Davis shook up the jazz world in the seventies – for example when Stockhausen wires up the crystal clear sound of his trumpet to a ring modulator or when Arild Andersen intones his unswerving bass grooves with an almost tectonic power.
Such associations however only describe a part of the free musical space that is unfolded by the improvisors: from symbiotic acquiescence on the border of inaudibility to driving freebop passages, nervous breakbeat loops (backbeat) on the one hand and tender flugelhorn hymns, the trumpet‘s crystal clear flights of fancy to atmospheres of mystical impenetrability on the other hand.
An extraordinary live recording
As Vladyslav Sendecki says: ‚It is rare luck, when an improvised music meeting really works, when the contributions of all participants make up a collective work of art‘. «Electric Treasures» is that type of stroke of luck. Congenially staged by the artist Rolf Zavelberg with his „Images of Light“, the interaction between the musicians became an experience for the audience.
And that experience still lingers: «Electric Treasures» has now been released as a gripping double CD. „It is a statement which is valid in itself – even if our music might sound very different tomorrow, it was a moment that was worth recording“ Markus Stockhausen explains, and continues: „We recorded the concert just in case, as one always wants to have demo material. Vladyslav was the first to hear it and said: ‚It‘s worth making a record out of this‘.“ Together with Christoph Schumacher Markus Stockhausen made the basic mix, then the sound tinkerer Walter Quintus took over the editing of the material and was thrilled: he experienced the quartet‘s freely improvised music as ‚a grab bag‘.
And so «Electric Treasures» has now been released on a double CD, just half a year after the concert, and is more than just a document of a remarkable live event. «Electric Treasures» contains what the title promises: an electrifying panorama, a treasure chamber abounding with the musical richness of four of the most interesting improvisors in Europe. Text by Tobias Richtsteig, translated by Leah Corper
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Electronics
Drums, Percussion, Voice, Electronics
Electric Treasures one 07:28
Electric Treasures two 05:57
Electric Treasures three 09:24
Electric Treasures four 10:54
Electric Treasures five 05:15
Electric Treasures six 06:14
Electric Treasures seven 10:31
Electric Treasures eight 9:30
Electric Treasures nine 10:57
Electric Treasures ten 07:29
Electric Treasures eleven 06:43
Aktivraum, AR 10107
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