I called it „Kind of Blue Bossa“
The lead sheets:
Another part of my life came to an end in October. Writing about it puts the question in which attitude I do it. I want to write thankfully. In 2009, I came to Darmstadt. First I worked at the Technical University, then at the accelerator GSI. I wrote a monography. For 10 years I took part in the workshop band of Jürgen Wuchner who died in 2020. Eight times I participated in the Jazz Conceptions, a one week summer workshop. I enjoyed the vibrant music scene, especially the concerts at Jazz Institute and at Knabenschule. The Frankfurt Radio Big Band played at Centralstation. Darmstadt also has a Staatstheater (public theatre) with opera. Each summer the Jürgen Wuchner Workshop Band gave a promenade concert in Orangerie Garden if it did not rain. I feel sad that I had to leave friends. Certainly will I return as a visitor.
Are you curious what I am dreaming of? I am going to tell you, musically. It is an admittedly short composition, but for three tenor saxophones. On account of the pandemic it is hard to get three saxophonists together, so I recorded myself thrice.
Here you find the written composition:
On 1st May 2020, Jürgen Wuchner has passed away. He was a bassist, composer, band leader and teacher. He was honoured by the Hessian Jazz Award, the Darmstadt Music Award and the Johann Heinrich Merck Award. I knew him from his workshops. I played in his Darmstadt Workshop Band for 10 years. In his emails, he addressed the participants as “Dear jazz friends, …” and everybody knew about the double meaning. I feel very thankful that I could bring in original compositions which he arranged so wonderfully.
I feel helpless regarding something absolute like death. However, I take comfort from the fact that he had a fulfilled life of a musician and that he could travel all over the world. Gilbert Bécaud once sang, « Quand il est mort le poète, le monde entier pleurait ! » (When the poet died, the whole world cried!) This is also true for other artists.
It gave me so much having made music with him. He had many good traits of character. I miss him a lot.
From time to time I compose licks. These are only a few bars long. A lick for the chord C7 over one bar served as a source for an etude which I called “Learn a Lick”. I attach three versions in different keys. The eager players may practice all three of them. Or you may use them to play a blues in concert Bb with your jazz mates.
This music is a great passion of mine. Mostly it is characterized by swing, forward drive, and improvisation. It is important for me as an attitude towards life and as a journey. I associate freedom, curiosity, openness, and tolerance. Racism and jazz are very difficult to combine, for this kind of music originated mostly from African Americans. Jazz is the most beautiful present that America gave to the world.
Actually, you do not need to read any further. I am going to list my favourite jazzwomen and jazzmen. It is a long, incomplete list without specific order.
Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Herbie Hancock, Esbjörn Svensson, Michael Wollny, Heinz Sauer, Karolina Strassmayer, Klaus Doldinger, Peter Back, Jürgen Wuchner, Uli Partheil, Christopher Dell, Gary Burton, Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Inge Brandenburg, Ingrid Laubrock, Paul Kuhn, Rolf Kühn, Chick Corea, Kalle Kalima, Emil Mangelsdorff, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie.
I would like to draw your attention to the composer, saxophonist and pianist Renate Hartnagel. Visit her homepage:
She is the composer of piano sheet music collections like Enjoy Your Piano and Traumhafte Klaviermusik (Dreamful Piano Music). She masters many styles: classic, Latin, pop, and jazz. One of my favourite pieces is Wie ein Wunder (Like a Miracle):
The title can also be read as A Way From The Blues. I have practised many ways to play the blues and to improvise over the changes. Now, the composition is supposed to have nothing in common with a blues. This year it was performed thrice, the last time in a park in August.
The lead sheets of the third version:
This is a piece from the year 2017 performed at the barbecue of the Jazz & Pop School. The melody consists of an Indian pentatonic. Essentially, this is a minor pentatonic with a major third. I especially like the mysterious, psychodelic intro by the string instruments.
Here you find the lead sheets:
The title refers to the double meaning of heavy. It is employed in physics as well as in music, only think of heavy metal. Thus a piece of tonal physics was created and performed at the barbecue of the Jazz & Pop School in 2018. When you listen to the recording, I recommend to close your eyes. Imagine you are chasing through the vacuum of the beam pipe with so many other ions of your bunch almost at the speed of light. Again and again you are accelerated by high frequency cavities, being kept on track by superconducting magnets. 🙂
The lead sheets: