The world lost a great man and the jazz world lost a master on December 15th
Bob was the ultimate musician, someone who made a mark as one of the most important improvisers as well as composers/arrangers in the history of jazz.
The bands and people he performed with and wrote music for is a literal who’s who in the world of jazz. Wikipedia and other sources can fill you in on those details, but some of my favourite of Bob’s playing occurred with the groups of Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Clark Terry and Zoot Sims as well as duets with Jim Hall.
The music of Bob that I first felt strongly attracted to was Bob’s writing for large ensemble. Actually, the reason that I became an arranger/composer was because of Bob.
It was September 1986 at the beginning of the academic year during my second year at Northern Illinois University. I was hanging out in my dorm room and my friend David Morehead came bursting in with a record album under his arm. He said: “Ed you’ve got to hear this!” It was a copy of Bob Brookmeyer, Composer and Arranger, and as we listened to the first bars of Ding Dong Ding, and then the rest of the first side (First Love Song, Hello and Goodbye and Skylark) something deeply touched me and I knew from that point on that I also wanted to write music.
As my studies continued I did start to write music and was lucky enough to have a very encouraging bandleader at the University, who always made sure that student compositions and arrangements were performed. I was also trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My long-term was to continue my education as a trombone player and then my plan was to move to New York and try to study composition with Bob. For my trombone studies I ended up in Köln with Jiggs Whigham, which I expected to last one or two years.
Unbeknownst to me Bob moved to Europe at about the same time and I had the great honour to meet Bob for the first time in 1992 at a workshop in Köln. He listened to some of my arrangements and gave me some excellent feedback. We also got to perform his music with the “Musikhochschule” Big Band. There was also a rumour that Bob was not just in Köln for the workshop. He was in touch with the GEMA and was trying to start a jazz composers workshop modelled on the BMI jazz composers workshop that has been in existence since 1981 in New York. This perked up my ears and as the announcement was made a few months later that applications were being taken I applied and was lucky enough to be accepted to the group that was going to be the first class of the GEMA Jazz Composers Workshop. Unfortunately we were the first and last group because the GEMA decided that jazz composers didn’t need the support (something that is still very apparent when you look at how jazz compositions are classified by the GEMA).
We spent a whole day each month with Bob for almost two years in group and individual lessons and this experience helped to form me and my writing and left an indelible mark on an entire generation of European jazz composers.
In 1994 Bob was asked to put together a big band for the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and several of the composers involved in the workshop became members of the band. Since we were all living in Köln Bob asked us for recommendations for other musicians to fill out the band and that was how Bob ended up having players like the Heller brothers and Thorsten Benkenstein in the orchestra. The situation at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival more or less ended in 1997 and Bob asked the band to become the New Art Orchestra. 1997 was also the year that we recorded the debut CD “Celebration – New Works”.
The New Art Orchestra has continued since then with highlights being the five CD´s that we recorded, various tours that the band played over the years as well as the trip to New York that the band made in 2004. From the 1980´s onward Europe was a fertile ground for Bob. As opportunities dried up in the USA Wolfgang Hirschmann at WDR became important to Bob by giving him the chance to experiment and continue to develop himself as a composer with the WDR Big Band. Other engagements in Scandinavia were also vital, and as I mentioned before his New Art Orchestra is a European band. Since many of the band members are from Germany it was also logical that the band mainly recorded in Germany. Three CD´s were recorded at Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg and Bob’s last CD was recorded in May 2011 at the BR Studio Franken in Nuremburg. Bob’s last concert was performed on May 1st 2011 in the Leerer Beutel in Regensburg.
The importance of Bob Brookmeyer on music is yet to be fully felt and fully appreciated. It was the greatest of honours to be able to work with this giant of a man and musician for over 17 years. Bob Brookmeyer is the reason I am what I am and I will be indebted to him forever. Rest in Peace my friend…
Reise: History des Bluesund Jazz live erleben
Mal zu den Schauplätzen und Geburtsstätten der verschiedenen Musikstile der USA reisen, wer hätte sich das nicht schon lange gewünscht. Jetzt gibt es eine gute Gelegenheit dazu. Die Kulturgesellschaft Musik + Wort e.V. aus Stuttgart bietet im Spetember/Oktober 2012 eine 12-tägige Musikreise in den Süden der USA an, bei der die Hochburgen des Country und Rock ‘n‘ Roll, des Blues und Jazz besucht werden. Ob in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans und weiteren Städten, hier erleben Sie live den Flair, der die verschiedene Musikstile geprägt hat. Natürlich erlebt man auch die weiten der Baumwollplantagen und die faszinierende Natur des Mississippi-Deltas. Weitere Infos gibt es unter www.jazzreisen.com oder per E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Dos Y Compañeros auf Tour
Sage und schreibe 33 Konzerte in ganz Deutschland umfasste der Tourneeplan der bayerisch-kubanischen Salsa-Kapelle Los Dos Y Compañeros bis Redaktionsschluss. Ob der Jeep der Salsa-Guerilleros wie auf dem Cover zum Einsatz kommt, ist eher fragwürdig. Fest steht aber: Los Dos bieten authentischen, tanzbaren Salsa aus Kuba, der Oberpfalz und den übrigen bayerischen Landschaften. Tour vom 3.2. bis 27.10.12 www.losdos-online.de
jazzahead 2012 in Bremen
Erst kürzlich machte Sebastian Gille mit einer bemerkenswerten
Aufnahme seines Quartetts auf sich aufmerksam. „Anthem“ heißt
das Werk, das er zusammen Pianist Pablo Held, Bassist Robert Landfermann
und Schlagzeuger Jonas Burgwinkel für das Münchner Label Pirouet
einspielte. Der gebürtige Quedlinburger Saxophonist und Komponist
ist jedoch seit vielen Jahren im hohen Norden zuhause und im Hamburger
Raum aktiv. Jetzt geht es nach Bremen, auf die Exportbühne der Messe
jazzahead. Auf der „German Jazz Expo“ 2012 werden vom 19.
bis 22. April das Carsten Daerr Trio, Céline Rudolph, Florian
Weber mit Minsarah electric, LebiDerya, das Lisbeth Quartett, die Funkjazzband
Mo‘ Blow, Omer Klein, schultzing feat. Mateusz Smoczynski sowie
Trio 120 auf der Bühne stehen.
ELBJAZZ Festival 2012
Kein Jux: Helge Schneider wird beim ELBJAZZ Festival 2012 auftreten – und zwar an beiden Festivaltagen und sowohl im Duett mit dem Pianisten Michael Wollny als auch zusammen mit dem kanadischen Klavier-Entertainer Chilly Gonzales. Mittlerweile sind rund 35 Künstler für das kommende Festival bestätigt: Die Bandbreite reicht von der NDR Big Band und ihrem gefeierten Programm mit dem kubanischen Pianisten Omar Sosa über Jazzsängerinnen wie Viktoria Tolstoy oder Elina Duni und die Musikmodernisierer von Jazzanova oder Supersilent bis hin zu den aktuellen Bands von Legenden wie Rolf und Joachim Kühn oder dem 69-jährigen „Ethio-Jazz“-Maestro Mulatu Astatke aus Addis Abeba. www.elbjazz.de