Sunday, July 8, 2012

Instrumental CD of the Month - "Jurgen Friedrich: Monosuite"

Instrumental CD of the Month
Jürgen Friedrich: "Monosuite for String Orchestra and Improvisers" (Pirouet) 2012

Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Jurgen Friedrich & Jason Seizer
Recorded June 22, 23 & 24, 2011 by Christian Heck, Philipp Treiber & David Menke @ Studio Stolberger Strasse, Köln, Germany
Mixed March 13 & 14, 2012 by Markus Bornh @ Kleine Audiowelt, Sandhausen, Germany
Mastered by Christoph Stickel @ MSM-Studios, Munich, Germany
Cover Design & Cover Photo: Konstantin Kern

Jürgen Friedrich's best album as a leader since his superb debut CD for CTI, "Summerflod," released in 1998. Also the best of the three projects he recorded for Jason Seizer's Pirouet label, "Monosuite" - that's what this fascinating work with its sparkling, shimmering sounds is called - contains music that bursts out in a powerful, clear tonal stream. The listener is immediately pulled into a maelstrom of undiscovered beauty. This is a stunning composition for a 22-piece string orchestra and four masterful jazz soloists. These great musicians interact with the Sequenza String Orchestra in lively, elastic, and amazingly organic piece of jazz artistry - inspired music played with creative discipline.

Featuring: Jürgen Friedrich (composer, arranger, conductor), Hayden Chisholm (alto sax), Achim Kaufmann (acoustic piano), John Hébert (acoustic bass) & John Hollenbeck (drums)
Sequenza String Orchestra
1st violin: Gerdur Gunnarsdóttir, Constanze Sannemüller, Elias Schödel, Adrian Bleyer, Kira Kohlmann, Christine Rox
2nd violin: Irmgard Zavelberg, Mirjam Steymans, Alwin Moser, Naomi Binder, Adi Czeiger
viola: Marla Hansen, Pauline Moser, Yodfat Miron, Andrea Sanz-Vela, Valentin Alexandru
cello: Ulrike Zavelberg, Teemu Myöhänen, Nil Kocamangil, Marnix Möhring
bass: Axel Ruge, Matan Gurevitz
Supported by the Initiative Musik Non-profit Project Company Ltd. with project funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media on the basis of a resolution passed by the German Bundestag.
Supported by Kunststiftung NRW

Jürgen Friedrich was born in 1970 in the town of Braunschweig, Germany. He is a musician who can be counted on for the unexpected sound, for music of the highest quality. In his previous Pirouet CD from 2009, "Pollock", Friedrich along with world-class bassist John Hébert and drummer Tony Moreno played off the impressions garnered from American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock's "drip paintings". The album won praise from both the German and the international press. Not only Jürgen Friedrich has attracted attention as the essential part of a trio; he has also caught the jazz world's attention as composer for both small and large ensembles.

In 1997 he was the first European to win the USA's prestigious Gil Evans Award for Jazz Composition offered by the IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators); he was heard by the legendary producer Creed Taylor and signed a contract with CTI Records, releasing the superb "Summerflood" CD in 1998, which featured Kenny Wheeler as special guest of Friedrich's quartet (completed by bassist Volker Heinze, drummer Darren Beckett and sax player Claudius Valk.) During the past two decades, he has also played with Michael Brecker, Sunday Night Orchestra, Ithamara Koorax, Gabriel Perez and the Friedrich-Herbert-Moreno Trio.

More awards followed, including twice wining the Julius Hemphill Composition Award given by the Jazz Composer's Alliance, an organization that was grounded in the USA in 1985. Friedrich is also in charge of master studies in composition and arrangement at the Mannheim University of Music and the Performing Arts. Since 2006 he has taught in Mannheim as a professor. His previous solo albums for Pirouet were titled "Seismo" and "Pollock."

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