Jazzrausch Bigband
Beethoven`s Breakdown

VÖ: 27.03.2020

Genre: Bigband



ACT 9898-2, 614427989826
Jazzrausch Bigband
directed and produced by Roman Sladek
Special guest: Nils Landgren / trombone on Sonata I - IV

Recorded by Umberto Echo at Dorian Gray Studios, Eichenau / Munich in August 2019 Mixed by Umberto Echo Mastered by Klaus Scheuermann

The Beethoven 250th anniversary on 17 December 2020 is an event of national significance in Germany. It even finds its way into the text of the Federal Government's coalition agreement, where it is stated that the anniversary "offers outstanding opportunities for Germany as a cultural nation both at home and abroad. That is why the preparations for this important anniversary are task for the nation." Jazzrausch Bigband got the memo straight away. With their album "Beethoven's Breakdown" the band is honouring the pioneering composer in its own way. Not by being historically authentic or by preserving him in aspic, but in a manner that befits Beethoven the radical innovator. Just as he revolutionized the history of music, the equally forward-looking JRBB has pushed ahead with its bold concept of orchestral techno-jazz.

Just how superbly it works is clear from the first track of the album,"Moonlight Sonata": a firm beat propels the piece forward, the melodic theme is given to the trumpets in minimalist form and with altered rhythms, the woodwind players having plenty of room to be free with the theme and to improvise over it. Everything becomes part of the interplay, the awareness of musical time is razorsharp, and vocalist Patricia Römer sings in an onomatopoeic way, all of which serves to build up the tension, to the point of tearing it apart. The second ‘allegretto’movement of the Seventh Symphony is given a similar treatment and also emerges redefined: there is a fine trumpet solo and some lyrical singing, but the original delicate theme of this movement is given to contrabass clarinet and tuba, who assert it darkly and powerfully.

String Quartet No. 14 also appears in a completely new light. Using strongly syncopated basic rhythms, melodic fragments are completely reinterpreted harmonically and formed into an origi-nal composition. This multi-faceted piece ranges from classical elements to dark German techno à la Ben Klock

There is also a newly-composed sonata in four movements on "Beethoven's Breakdown"
. As special guest, the Jazzrausch Bigband was able to attract trombonist Nils Landgren who is featured in this work. Formally and harmonically, the sonata is strongly reminiscent of Beethoven. The melodies and the sound aesthetic, however, make use of a contemporary language that involves both the spectral music of Tristan Murail and the danceable grooves of modern house music.

Two creative minds are behind this bold homage
: Leonhard Kuhn, who is the mastermind of the band both from the musical-aesthetic and the philosophical-scientific perspectives. He composed the sonata and wrote all the techno arrangements of the Beethoven pieces. Bandleader Roman Sladek was, as always, a source of important ideas, and also supervised the production. He is responsible for the way the ensemble functions and has had a major role in its success. The band has only existed for five years, but has established a major profile with its approach, a new, stylistically open kind of orchestral jazz, and is now in great demand internationally: the band now plays at least 120 concerts a year, most recently at major festivals in Europe, Asia,Africa and the USA, but also as resident big band in Munich’s Unterfahrt jazz club and techno club Harry Klein. The level of common understanding among the players that this regular performing has engendered, and the phenomenal tightness of ensemble among this elite of Southern German jazz instrumentalists is to be heard on "Beethoven's Breakdown".

What is happening here is a compelling rejuvenation cure not just for conventional styles of jazz, but also for the classical music of Beethoven
. And it is also how Jazzrausch Bigband is reaching and winning over new and young audiences for both Beethoven's music and big band jazz. For traditions to be carried on there must be renewal. A torch is being carried from one generation to the next, and fires in new and unexpected places are being set alight.
Jazzrausch Bigband
"A meltdown of big band sound with house and techno music." (Süddeutsche Zeitung) With an average of 120 concerts per year, the Jazzrausch Bigband is one of the busiest big bands in Europe. Through their concerts in Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, they bring together jazz enthusiasts and dance enthusiasts with "sonic power, groove, and tremendous stage presence" (FAZ) like no other ensemble currently does. Groove with intellect, electronic music with brass, jazz in a frenzy. The driving forces behind the project are Munich-based trombonist and music manager Roman Sladek and guitarist and composer Leonhard Kuhn, who also resides in Munich. The musical journey's nucleus and starting point is a Munich institution: the "Harry Klein," one of the most renowned electronic clubs in Europe. In 2015, just one year after its formation, the Jazzrausch Bigband became the Artist in Residence at "Harry Klein," and the young Munich audience went wild. A big band in a techno club. Truly unique. For Munich and the world. Quickly, the stages grew larger, and the band filled venues like the Muffathalle as well as high-culture temples like the Munich Philharmonic, and they performed at renowned festivals across Germany. The circles the band moves in continue to expand: concert tours have taken them to the Lincoln Center in New York, the JZ Festival in Shanghai, the Safaricom International Jazz Festival in Nairobi, the Ural Music Night in Yekaterinburg, and the SXSW Music Festival in Austin. It is not an exaggeration to call the band a phenomenon. One that, in its own unique way, demonstrates what has been simmering and working in this music called "jazz" for a long time: it is more than ever the label for what doesn't fit into any box. And everyone, both musicians and the audience, enjoys tearing down boundaries with delight. The music of the Jazzrausch Bigband, it seems, fulfills several desires in this context: the desires of clubgoers for something more authentic, handmade, fresh, and original. And the desires of jazz and classical music listeners for more punch, entertainment, big sound, and a fat groove.
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