“The wisdom of old age meets the tempestuousness of youth” wrote Der Spiegel, describing the meeting of generations in Joachim Kühn’s trio with Chris Jennings and Eric Schaefer - both are around 30 years younger than he is. And it is also an apt way to describe how both tendencies co-exist in the 73-year old jazz pioneer’s own playing. His gaze is directed to the future, he has the history of jazz behind him, and he never kow-tows to convention. This piano genius loves freedom and fantasy, driven by the imperative to keep discovering the new. If the Joachim Kühn New Trio is his most recent adventure story, then “Love & Peace” is its second chapter.
Once again it's about “strong melodies that you can give a shape to,” as Kühn puts it. “I wanted melodic simplicity, an album with short concise pieces”. It is almost inevitable that the songs should deal with two things that the world desperately needs more of: love and peace. “I didn’t want to choose this repertoire in a hurry, but rather in a very considered way, but I did leave room for chance to play a role: “That’s how the short, almost ebullient melody of “Barcelona - Vienna” came into being during a flight between those two cities.
With “Chrystal Ship”, Kühn has once again taken a track by the Doors, the band which like no other is synonymous with his generation of 1968, and the peace movement in in an era overshadowed by the Vietnam War. Classical music is also there, with a luxuriant and grooving version of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Le Vieux Chateau” from “Pictures from an Exhibition”. A piece (“Night Plans”) from his unique and formative collaboration with Ornette Coleman undergoes an almost tender, new reappraisal by the trio, as does the turbulent Kühn classic “Phrasen"”. Kühn also asked his two partners to contribute one composition each.
“Only if you live freely can you really improvise freely,” says Kühn. For several years he has been putting everything in place to ensure his own personal and creative freedom at his finca on Ibiza . With “Love & Peace”, his New Trio has once again succeeded in breaking into new territory.
Pianist Joachim Kühn is one of the few global German jazz stars. With his playing style, which transcends all categories, he has made his mark as a world-class musician, and on contemporary jazz, blazing entirely new trails. The musical cosmopolitan Kühn sees himself in the tradition of jazz, and also in a close relationship with European concert music. But despite all this he is committed to a contemporary sound. He reveals vehemence and sensitivity, masterly craftsmanship and imagination, an unmistakable touch and an unerring sense of dynamics. In the interplay with musical partners of many years' standing, in ever new and often unusually challenging constellations or on his own and his solo concerts, Joachim Kühn makes music an event. All his life Kühn has demonstrated curiosity, open-mindedness and a love of experimentation like few others. It was this intellectual flexibility that led the young East German classical pianist to jazz. After fleeing to the West in 1966, he quickly became one of the most important representatives of the jazz avant-garde in the scenes of Paris, Los Angeles, New York and Hamburg, constantly seeking encounters with the most diverse of musicians, from Michel Portal to Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Daniel Humair, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker and Rabih-Abou Khalil and the Germans Heinz Sauer and Michael Wollny. In June 2011, Kühn was awarded the Echo Jazz for his extraordinary life's work.