Christof Lauer

Petite Fleur

Price: € 22.95
Format: CD
Label: ACT music
UPC: 0614427956729
Catnr: ACT 9567
Release date: 30 May 2014
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Label
ACT music
UPC
0614427956729
Catalogue number
ACT 9567
Release date
30 May 2014
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

Only very few of today's jazz musicians and fans still know Only very few of today's jazz musicians and fans still know Only very few of today's jazz musicians and fans still know Only very few of today's jazz musicians and fans still know who Sidney Bechet is who Sidney Bechet is who Sidney Bechet is who Sidney Bechet is: one of the founding fathers of jazz. He played the soprano saxophone like no other, and with his French-Creole-inspired compositions, he was a forerunner of jazz's openness to all musical styles.

More than ten years ago, ACT owner Siggi Loch More than ten years ago, ACT owner Siggi Loch More than ten years ago, ACT owner Siggi Loch More than ten years ago, ACT owner Siggi Loch, whose passion for jazz was aroused by a Bechet concert that he attended at the age of 15, asked Christof Lauer whether he could imagine doing a project that focused on this jazz pioneer. What Loch was hoping for was an entirely new way of looking at the genius of this New Orleans native, born in 1897, interpreted by someone from a free-jazz background who had developed his unmistakable sound
playing with Albert Ayler and Stan Getz, collaborating with the Frankfurt School of Albert Mangelsdorff and Heinz Sauer, and working with American jazz musicians and the French avant-garde around Michel Godard and Marc
Ducret.

But as Lauer recalls, he But as Lauer recalls, he But as Lauer recalls, he But as Lauer recalls, he –––– the "best saxophonist we have in the "best saxophonist we have in the "best saxophonist we have in the "best saxophonist we have in EuEuEuEurope" rope" rope" rope" according to Volker Kriegel – was "in a totally different place at the time". But the seed was sown, and it
germinated slowly but surely, as is not entirely atypical for Lauer: For example, he didn't bring out his debut album,
chastely bearing only his name as a title, until 1990, at the tender age of 37, which, however, promptly won the annual
German Record Critics' Award, a feat that he repeated nine years later with his ACT debut "Fragile Network". Lauer also says that he didn't have much to do with Bigband music either, until 1993, when he finally succumbed, after
several requests, and joined the NDR Bigband, which he is still a member of to this day. The band director at the time, Dieter Glawischnig, who had been Lauer's teacher in Graz in the 70s, convinced him with arguments such as that the orchestra was transforming into a soloist band.

In a similar way, the collaboration had also become more intense with Rainer Tempel in recent times intense with Rainer Tempel in recent times intense with Rainer Tempel in recent times intense with Rainer Tempel in recent times, one of Germany's leading bigband arrangers and composers, who also works for the NDR Bigband. It was with him that Lauer
revisited the subject of Sidney Bechet, "and I found myself relating to Siggi Loch's idea as a bigband thing, because
Rainer knows how I play and how you can realize a project like that. And because he always totally engrosses himself in every venture he commits to."

And that is something that cannot be overh And that is something that cannot be overh And that is something that cannot be overh And that is something that cannot be overheard on the eard on the eard on the eard on the
album "Petite Fleur", album "Petite Fleur", album "Petite Fleur", album "Petite Fleur", which they recorded in four days in the studio. Unmistakable Bechet classics appear in an entirely new light thanks to Lauer's distinctive tone and the
multilayered arrangements. It all begins with the soprano saxophone, because even though most know Lauer as a tenor saxophonist: "I played an incredible amount of soprano in the HR Jazz Ensemble, and occupied myself with it intensively," he says. Sidney Bechet's typical vibrato is replaced by Lauer's intense and expressive sound, which can draw long lines just as readily as swirling garlands. "It wouldn't make any sense to copy Bechet," Lauer explains. "It's about finding out how it interacts with your own world, and what energy is borne of that."

And so Bechet's sound cosm And so Bechet's sound cosm And so Bechet's sound cosm And so Bechet's sound cosmos is given new clothes, os is given new clothes, os is given new clothes, os is given new clothes, with Lauer, Tempel and the NDR Bigband intelligently and profoundly interpreting the contrasts that lie between the lines in these catchy and emotional tunes: on standards that Bechet lent his inimitable signature to, such as Harry Barris' "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" and "On The Sunny Side Of The Street"; but even more so on his own famous songs from his Paris period, from the title track "Petite Fleur" to
"Les Oignons" through to the Magrebinian-influenced "Casbah - Song of the Medina". Right from the intro,
Tempel's mastery can be heard, letting the NDR Bigband take paths that branch off the streets of Antibes - "Dans Les
Rues D'Antibes" -, only to have Lauer's saxophone artistically entice them back onto main street again. And
even for Lauer, "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" is the best proof "of the incredible power of these almost forgotten works. They
are really catchy, and yet at the same time artistic."

"We tried out a lot more songs than could go onto the CD," "We tried out a lot more songs than could go onto the CD," "We tried out a lot more songs than could go onto the CD," "We tried out a lot more songs than could go onto the CD," Lauer recalls, but one surprise, Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose", is on the album, and it has its own special relevance: "Early on in my career, I was supposed to play that in an old-time ensemble. I turned up at the rehearsal, played it the way I'd learned it, garnered disapproving frowns and never went there again. It didn't work at all, and now I wanted to make up for that – doing it my way." "Petite Fleur" is the best proof of how worthwhile it is to rediscover tradition from time to time, just as one recaptures one's own biography.

Artist(s)

“I believe that Christof has become, quite candidly and without sounding pathetic, the best saxophonist in Europe today. Every time I hear him I am totally fascinated. He has in the mean time reached a level of skill that is almost spooky.” Volker Kriegel, 2002 Christof Lauer was born on 25th May, 1953 in the German town of Melsungen/Hessen. He started piano lessons at the age of six and, later, learnt the cello. He studied cello at Dr Hoch’s Conservatory in Frankfurt. In 1971 he changed to tenor saxophone and within a year had begun jazz and saxophone studies at the Music High School in Graz in Austria under Professor Dieter
Glawischnig. He undertook his first tours with his own quartet and was also a member, during his student years, of bands in Vienna and Munich.
Within a year of his return to Frankfurt in 1978 he was a member of the legendary jazz ensemble of the radio station, Hessischer Rundfunk, under the direction of Albert Mangelsdorff and joined the group “Voices” with Heinz Sauer, Ralf Hübner, Bob Degen and Thomas Heidepriem. At the age of 26 he was already regarded as one of the most important jazz musicians in Germany. In the following years he was almost permanently on the road, taught jazz classes at Dr Hoch’s Conservatory and received in 1986 the jazz prize of Südwestfunk, the South West German radio. 1990 saw the release of the first album in his own name: Christof Lauer (with Joachim Kühn, Palle Danielsson and Peter Erskine). This was followed in the next years by two more albums as
leader: Bluebells, 1992, with Wolfgang Puschnig, Bob Stewart and Thomas Alkier and Evidence, 1996, with Anthony Cox und Daniel Humair. His debut recording Christof Lauer was immediately awarded with the prestigious German record critics’ annual prize. Lauer was invited to be a soloist in the NDR Big Band in 1993, which was in the process of making a transition from traditional to modern avant-garde big band. In 1994 he became a member of the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble and in 1996 a permanent member of Albert Mangelsdorff’s
quintet.

His fruitful collaboration with the ACT label began in 1999 with Fragile Network (ACT 9266-2). His fourth album as leader (with Michel Godard, Mark Ducret, Anthony Cox and Gene Jackson) underlines Lauer’s quality as a unique rich composer and arranger as well as an excellent soloist. It brought him once again the annual prize of the German critics. “Lauer has for long been his own
man and as “Fragile Network” once again shows, one of the best European
saxophonists.”(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) In that year he was invited by the well-known Turkish ney player Kudsi Erguner to take part in a world music project which brought together classical music of the Ottoman Empire with western
improvisation and jazz rhythms. The CD Ottomania (ACT 9006-2) strikingly documented this special musical encounter. Another important encounter also took place in the same year 1999. Christof Lauer made the acquaintance of the outstanding pianist Jens Thomas and this soon evolved into an intense
musical collaboration and friendship. Their collaboration was first demonstrated by the first duo album Shadows In The Rain (ACT 9297-2), which reinterpreted the music of pop star Sting in a most original manner. On four of the tracks they were accompanied by the Cikada String Qurtet, for whom none other than Colin Towns wrote the arrangements. The album won the quarterly
German jazz critics’ prize and the annual prize of French magazine “Jazzman” (CHOC de l’année).

Following this Lauer and Thomas had the chance to take part in a number of prestigious tours in Europe and Asia and played, inter alia, at the Paris Jazz Festival.After the success of their debut as duo, the two musicians set up a second chamber music project together, this time based on original compositions. Pure Joy (ACT 9415-2) released in April 2003. “Simple, compact compositions such as rarely exist in jazz” is how Lauer described the
rationale for a tight interactive performance free of the stylised jazz conventions. “Stunning, melodies almost too good to be true, performed by two musicians who are amongst the best and most high profile currently to be heard on the European jazz scene,” wrote German magazine
Jazzpodium and Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung swooned: “Christof Lauer and Jens Thomas have hijacked for the jazz universe a beauty and wildness which are without boundaries. One can only imagine what surprises these amazing musicians have in store for the future.” With Heaven (ACT 9420-2) Christof Lauer has delivered just such as surprise for the end of 2003: church music, which was in fact for Lauer, the son of a pastor, the first form of music of any type that he experienced as a child. He has had the desire to record sacred music in a church, and not before time. His friendship with Norwegian Geir Lysne has at last led to the long-planned project: together with Norwegian Brass the recordings for Heaven were made in the Vålerengen Kirk in Oslo, a choice of unexpected reworkings of classic Christmas songs and religious music, for which Geir Lysne is responsible as arranger and musical director and including two very special
guests from Norway, Sondre Brantland and Rebekka Bakken.

Lauer found a new outlet in the collaboration with pianist Eric Watson. The American pianist, currently living in Paris, and Lauer had known each other for a long time. In April 2003 they were on tour together in France playing a quartet repertoire that Watson had especially composed for Lauer as a guest star with his own regular trio - comprising bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Ed
Thigpen: These pieces, recorded in Summer 2003, were titled Road Movies (ACT 9429-2) and were released in September 2004.

One thing is for sure: Very few musicians can offer as much intensity as Christof Lauer, as the recordings with his new trio aptly demonstrate on Blues in Mind (ACT 9446-2), which will be released in January 2007. The flexibility of the fascinatingly matched partners and the scope of the compositions enable Lauer to express all aspects of his art. German Lauer, Frenchman Michel
Godard (tuba & serpent) and British drummer & pianist Gary Husband all contribute compositions to this CD of exclusively original material – pieces that open up a great variety of worlds. Each track offers new colours and tonal hues, held together by the authority of the three players.

In the past 30 years Christof Lauer has appeared in all manner of various formations with an incredible continuity – on all continents of the earth and international festival from Montreux to Istanbul and from Havana to Beijing, both with his own bands or as sideman. The variety and
creative energy of Lauer’s encounters and projects time and again reflects his deepest held conviction: “Jazz is communicationú”

Composer(s)

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