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Leiblich - Jazz Thing Next Generation Vol. 82

Alexej Malakhau

Leiblich - Jazz Thing Next Generation Vol. 82

Price: € 14.95 10.47
Format: CD
Label: Double Moon Records
UPC: 0608917136722
Catnr: DMCHR 71367
Release date: 06 March 2020
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Label
Double Moon Records
UPC
0608917136722
Catalogue number
DMCHR 71367
Release date
06 March 2020

"... This is a very mature sounding, inspiring debut album..."

thatjazz, 01-9-2020
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Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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About the album

You can imagine so many things under “Leiblich” (translated as physical, natural or biological). The physical needs of eating and drinking, for example, or the biological brother, father or mother. In painting, physical nature (Leiblichkeit) is synonymous with sensuality, sometimes also with opulent abundance, while the term “eheleiblich” (legitimate), which is more commonly used in legal language, is intended to certify the origin of a lawfully concluded marriage. The core of each of these definitions is always the “Leib” (body). Leiblich: This is the feeling of receiving something, absorbing it with all the pores of the body, either lustful or full of privation, caresses or blows, heat or cold, happiness or pain. However, the body also gives a lot at the same time, not the least life.

If Alexei Malakhau. the saxophonist born in Belarus who lives in Cologne, now calls his debut CD “Leiblich”, this is a risky game with the German language, which is by no means easy. But it can also be regarded as an open confession that his art, his entire humanity, was preceded by a lot of hard, physical work. “The pieces on the CD have accompanied me for many years,” Malakhau said. “They have grown with me and form the emotional footprint of my physical experiences since my immigration to Germany.” In Russian, the word “родной” (pronounced “rodnoy”) stands for “leiblich” (physical) according to the musician. It has even more meanings in translation. Possible translations are “homely”, “sweet”, “valuable” and “own”. These are all adjectives that precisely fit to Alexei Malakhau.

The 82nd protagonist of the “Jazz thing Next Generation” series comes from Minsk in Belarus, where he grew up as the son of an artist family and was gently introduced to the world of music by his mother, a classical pianist, early in his childhood. Alexei began playing piano at the age of five, and he became enthusiastic about the saxophone at the age of twelve, which is why he went to Germany in 2003 with a heavy heart due to the better educational opportunities. He studied under Professor Wolfgang Engstfeld at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne until 2010, and played in the Federal Youth Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO) under the direction of Peter Herbolzheimer. Malakhau: “In Belarus, I could hardly have lived so freely, let alone earned a living from music. Of course, he had to work very hard for a several years to give art the freedom it really deserves.

Life between two different countries therefore also gives a distinctive personality stamp in the sense of “Leiblich”. Hardly any other jazz musician currently combines elements of classical and modern music in such a natural and relaxed way. “I grew up with classical music, it paved my way. I encountered experimental art on the wayside.
For me, jazz is the description of the origin of a style, embedded in time and culture.
When Alexei Malakhau interacts with pianists Rainer Böhm and Kristjan Randalu, guitarist Vitaliy Zolotov, bassist Joscha Oetz and drummer Bodek Janke, his vibrant, emotional saxophone blends gentle nostalgia, a touch of romance, delicate melancholy and an uncontrollable desire to cross borders whenever he wants.

He composed all the pieces except for two. “No Signal” is about the moment of calm after a power failure, and “Body Motif” is just about love, gentle and wild, warm and cold. “Time Prisoner” needs no further explanation, “Lela” is about fierce contrasts such as frost and sunrise beside an agave plant in some country in the south, while Lennon-McCartney's “Julia” is said to be a song about touch. “Narcissique” describes self-perception, while on the other hand “Interlude” is an invitation: “I'll take you from A to B. No one should take the path alone.” Alexei and Vitaliy immortalize their deceased fathers with “On the other hand” (by guitarist Zolotov), while “Stressmaker” sounds exactly as it was intended: a ride on a wave of stress and adrenaline.

“It takes years until I can complete my pieces,” Alexej Malakhau disclosed about his method of composing. “At first it's just a few notes, maybe a tune, that come to me. Then they remain there and wait. Then more notes are added until a whole piece is created in several steps. I have a countless number of these sounds and melodies waiting to be completed. Maybe this will happen someday, but maybe it won't.” Waiting is always worthwhile in this particular case.
Man kann sich so Manches unter „Leiblich“ vorstellen. Die leiblichen Bedürfnisse Essen und Trinken zum Beispiel, der leibliche Bruder, Vater oder die Mutter. Leiblichkeit gilt in der Malerei als Synonym für Sinnlichkeit, mitunter auch für opulente Fülle, während der eher im juristischen Sprachgebrauch verwendete Begriff „eheleiblich“ die Herkunft aus einer rechtmäßig geschlossenen Ehe bescheinigen soll. Im Mittelpunkt jeder dieser Definitionen steht immer der Leib. Leiblich: Das ist das Gefühl, etwas entgegenzunehmen, es mit allen Poren des Körpers aufzusaugen, entweder lustvoll oder entbehrungsreich, Streicheleinheiten oder Schläge, Hitze oder Kälte, Glück oder Schmerz. Gleichzeitig gibt der Leib aber auch eine Menge, nicht zuletzt das Leben.

Wenn Alexej Malakhau nun seine Debüt-CD „Leiblich“ nennt, so ist dies für den in Weißrussland geborenen und in Köln lebenden Saxofonisten ein riskantes Spiel mit der keineswegs leichten deutschen Sprache. Es darf aber auch als offenes Bekenntnis dafür gelten, dass seiner Kunst, seinem ganzen Menschsein ein Stück harte, körperliche Arbeit vorausging. „Die Stücke auf der CD begleiten mich seit vielen Jahren“, erzählt Malakhau, „sie sind mit mir gewachsen und bilden den emotionalen Fußabdruck meiner leiblichen Erfahrungen seit meiner Immigration nach Deutschland.“ Im Russischen, so erzählt der Musiker, stehe das Wort „родной“ (sprich: rodnoy) für leiblich. In der Übersetzung liefert es noch weitere Erklärungsfelder. Eine Variante lautet „heimatlich“, aber auch „lieb“, „wertvoll“ oder „eigen“ tauchen dabei auf. Alles Adjektive, die punktgenau auf Alexej Malakhau passen.

Der 82. Protagonist der „Jazz thing Next Generation“-Reihe stammt aus dem weißrussischen Minsk, wo er als Sohn einer Künstlerfamilie aufwuchs und schon in früher Kindheit von seiner Mutter, einer klassischen Pianistin, behutsam in die Welt der Musik eingeführt wurde. Mit Fünf begann Alexej Klavier zu spielen, mit Zwölf begeisterte er sich für das Saxofon, weshalb er 2003 schweren Herzens wegen der besseren Ausbildungsmöglichkeiten nach Deutschland ging und bis 2010 an der Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Köln bei Professor Wolfgang Engstfeld studierte und im Bundesjugendjazzorchester (BuJazzO) unter der Leitung von Peter Herbolzheimer spielte. Malakhau: „In Belarus hätte ich meine Kunst kaum so frei leben, geschweige denn von ihr leben können.“ Freilich habe er einige Jahre sehr hart arbeiten müssen, um der Kunst wirklich die ihr gebührende Freiheit schenken können.

Das Leben zwischen zwei unterschiedlichen Ländern verpasst deshalb auch „Leiblich“ einen markanten Persönlichkeitsstempel. Kaum ein anderer Jazzmusiker verbindet augenblicklich derart selbstverständlich und unverkrampft Elemente der Klassik wie der Moderne. „Mit der klassischen Musik bin ich aufgewachsen, sie ebnete meinen Weg. Die experimentelle
Kunst begegnete mir am Wegesrand. Jazz ist für mich die Beschreibung des Ursprungs einer
Stilrichtung, eingebettet in Zeit und Kultur.“ Wenn Alexej Malakhau mit den Pianisten Rainer Böhm und Kristjan Randalu, dem Gitarristen Vitaliy Zolotov, dem Bassisten Joscha Oetz und dem Schlagzeuger Bodek Janke interagiert, so chargiert sein lebhaftes, emotionales Saxofon zwischen sanfter Nostalgie, einem Hauch Romantik, zarter Melancholie und dem unbändigen Willen, Grenzen zu überschreiten, wann immer er es will.

Bis auf zwei Stücke stammen alle Kompositionen aus seiner Feder. In „No Signal“ geht es um den Moment der Ruhe nach einem Stromausfall, in „Leibmotiv“ einfach nur um Liebe, sanft und wild, warm und kalt. „Zeitgefangener“ bedarf keiner näheren Erklärung, „Lela“ handelt von heftigen Kontrasten wie Frost und dem Sonnenaufgang auf einer südländischen Agave, während Lennon-McCartneys „Julia“ ein Song sein soll, der von Berührungen handelt. „Narcissique“ beschreibt die Selbstwahrnehmung, „Interlude“ dagegen ist eine Einladung: „Ich bringe euch von A nach B. Niemand soll den Weg alleine gehen.“ Mit „Auf der anderen Seite“ (von Gitarrist Zolotov) verewigen Alexej und Vitaliy ihre verstorbenen Väter, während „Stressmaker“ genauso klingt, wie es gedacht war: Als Ritt auf einer Welle aus Stress und Adrenalin.

„Meine Stücke brauchen Jahre, bis sie vollendet sind“, lässt sich Alexej Malakhau in die kompositorischen Karten schauen. „Zunächst sind es nur ein paar Töne, eine Melodie vielleicht, die mir zugeflogen kommen. Dann liegen sie da und warten. Dann kommen weitere Töne hinzu, bis in mehreren Schritten ein ganzes Stück entsteht. Ich habe unzählige dieser Töne und Melodien, die darauf warten, vollendet zu werden. Vielleicht passiert das irgendwann, vielleicht aber auch nicht.“ In diesem speziellen Fall lohnt sich das Warten allemal.

Artist(s)

Alexej Malakhau (saxophone)

Rainer Böhm (piano)

Born in Ravensburg in Southern Germany in 1977, Böhm is considered by critics to be one of the country’s outstanding jazz pianists, yet among the wider public he has not reached the level of recognition he deserves. He has made his mark through some excellent projects – with saxophonist Johannes Enders for example. He teaches at the conservatoires in Nuremberg and Mannheim, where he is one of their youngest professors. Böhm is also known as a long-standing member of the trio of Germany’s pre-eminent bassist,
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Born in Ravensburg in Southern Germany in 1977, Böhm is considered by critics to be one of the country’s outstanding jazz pianists, yet among the wider public he has not reached the level of recognition he deserves. He has made his mark through some excellent projects – with saxophonist Johannes Enders for example. He teaches at the conservatoires in Nuremberg and Mannheim, where he is one of their youngest professors. Böhm is also known as a long-standing member of the trio of Germany’s pre-eminent bassist,
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Kristjan Randalu (piano)

Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu makes his ECM debut with a striking album of his own rigorous-yet-lyrical music, sensitively played by a group formed especially for this recording, with US guitarist Ben Monder and Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari. The trio line-up was suggested by producer Manfred Eicher after hearing Randalu’s 2012 duo recording with Monder, Equilibrium.The featured compositions on Absence are robust, and in the past Randalu has played them also as solo piano pieces. In this session recorded in Pernes-les-Fontaines in the south of France, their structures are prised open. Guitar and drums subtly illuminate the pieces from inside, casting light on their originality. Among other attributes, Monder and Ounaskari are outstanding colourists and textural players, and they bring out much of the...
more
Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu makes his ECM debut with a striking album of his own rigorous-yet-lyrical music, sensitively played by a group formed especially for this recording, with US guitarist Ben Monder and Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari. The trio line-up was suggested by producer Manfred Eicher after hearing Randalu’s 2012 duo recording with Monder, Equilibrium.The featured compositions on Absence are robust, and in the past Randalu has played them also as solo piano pieces. In this session recorded in Pernes-les-Fontaines in the south of France, their structures are prised open. Guitar and drums subtly illuminate the pieces from inside, casting light on their originality. Among other attributes, Monder and Ounaskari are outstanding colourists and textural players, and they bring out much of the fine detail implied in Randalu’s writing with inspired improvising.
Like much good music, Randalu’s resists capsule summary. Markku Ounaskari has observed that “Kristjan’s music is really a world of its own.” As an improviser of prodigious technique, once described by Herbie Hancock as “a dazzling piano player”, Randalu’s affinities are with the jazz musicians, but the forms and dynamics of his pieces also reflect a discerning structural sense, and he has cited composers Erkki-Sven Tüür and Tõnu Kõrvits among his mentors. Kristjan Randalu’s capacity to move between genres and disciplines is rare: his itinerary in recent months, for instance, has found him premiering new music of his own with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, performing Arvo Pärt’s Credo with Kristjan Järvi and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and also playing duets with Dave Liebman. There are not many contemporary players with this kind of range.
Born into a musical family in Estonia in 1978, Randalu grew up in Germany. Both his parents are professional classical pianists, and all of his early music training was purely classical. Hearing Chick Corea’s Inside Out at the age of 13 changed some of his priorities: “It seemed to me so perfect that I thought at first that it must be all notated. And it had all this rhythmic energy, and sound-wise, harmonically and colour-wise was very interesting to me. At that point I had almost no historical jazz references at all - no early Miles, even, no Coltrane – I would learn about all of that later. But I felt motivated to create my own music with piano and synthesizer and sequencer and soon had my first band. By this point I had already been performing classical music for years and was playing at a serious level, but there was a gap between practicing my Liszt and Chopin and beginning to deal actively with jazz…” The gap was bridged in the following years by studies with a number of notable pianists, including John Taylor and Django Bates. A scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music allowed plenty of opportunities to hear New York’s improvisers at first hand, Ben Monder amongst them.
“Later it happened on a couple of occasions that our groups – Ben’s group and my group -- played one after the other at festivals in Germany and we talked several times about doing something together. But it didn’t happen until a festival organizer in Estonia proposed a duo concert….” Markku Ounaskari and Kristjan Randalu first played opposite each other in a concert series organized by German radio station NDR. Ounaskari was then playing with the second edition of his Kuára group with Trygve Seim on saxes. When Seim formed his Helsinki Songs project a couple of years later, he invited both Ounaskari and Randalu to be part of it (an ECM album with Seim, Randalu, Ounaskari and Mats Eilertsen is in preparation).
Ounaskari has played with all the major Finnish jazz players and with many international jazz musicians including Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Tomasz Stanko and Marc Ducret. In addition to his Kuára recording with Samuli Mikkonen and Per Jørgensen, exploring Russian psalms and Fenno-Ugrian folk songs in an improvisational context, Markku Ounaskari appears on several ECM recordings with folk singer and kantele player Sinikka Langeland, including Starflowers, The Land That Is Not, The Half-Finished Heaven and The Magical Forest. A musician in the New York City area for over 30 years, Ben Monder has performed with a wide variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, Billy Childs, Andrew Cyrille, George Garzone, Paul Motian, Maria Schneider, and Marshall Crenshaw. He also contributed guitar parts to the final David Bowie album, Blackstar. In addition to his own ECM album Amorphae, with Paul Motian, Andrew Cyrille and Pete Rende, Monder appears on Theo Bleckmann’s Elegy and Paul Motian’s Garden of Eden. Downbeat "The bandleader is a pillar of stability. He clearly is capable of breathtaking displays of technique and showmanship, but employs challenging runs with a noble conservatism."

All About Jazz "Absence, Randalu's ECM debut, ricochets its motifs and dark, rhythmic overtones with a singular sense of structure and improvisation."

The Herald "Randalu’s always melodic, ever exploring style is a delight"
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Bodek Janke (drums)

Composer(s)

Alexej Malakhau (saxophone)

Press

... This is a very mature sounding, inspiring debut album...
thatjazz, 01-9-2020

... Alexei is a virtuoso saxophonist and inspiring composer. He carried me away with his passionate playing. And from the album breathes a strong stylistic diversity that further underlines the musicians' freedom to cross borders!  
skjazzsk, 14-8-2020

... The saxophone sound of the bandleader is light as a feather and airy, reminiscent a little of the approach of an Oded Tzur to the instrument...  
Concerto, 01-8-2020

... he now presents his debut as leader and convinces from the very beginning with a striking sound and original, mostly own pieces.
Fono Forum, 08-7-2020

... There is neither a youngster nor a newcomer at work, no, here the seven own compositions have grown, matured and interwoven with their own biography over the years, every note and every twist is considered and correspondingly effective...
Jazz n More Switzerland, 01-7-2020

... great artists... with, among others, an exciting interpetation of the John Lennon classic 'Julia'.
Radio Dreyeckland, 28-6-2020

... For his solo debut the Belarusian saxophonist can hardly have more competence at his side and he uses the chance for a breviary of predominantly chamber music compositions...  
Stereoplay, 01-6-2020

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Ganna
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