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Future Steps: Live at Jazzaar Festival 2014 (Aarau, Switzerland)

 
 
 
JazzScan

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra: Future Steps
Shanti Music
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Future Steps

Every time I worry about the lack of big band jazz groups within the United States, I find another European ensemble that is keeping that genre alive; such is the case with this marvelous orchestra from Switzerland. This is the first release from a project that features “Bandstand Learning with Role Models.” Young apprentices — their ages ranging from 16 to 26 — are mentored by great professionals: trumpeter Randy Brecker, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, pianist Christian Jacob and drummer Rodney Holmes.

These nine tracks were recorded at the Jazzaar Festival held in Aarau, Switzerland, in 2014. All but one (“Beirut”) were written especially for this orchestra by its director, Fritz Renold. The style echoes that of the jazz fusion band Steps Ahead.

You can name-check the soloists in the liner notes; suffice it to say, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between the professional mentors and the talented apprentices. To quote the aforementioned liner notes, “Young, middle age, elderly, these cats can play.”

All but one of the tracks are done at mid- to up-tempos; the exception (“Mandela”) is a moving ballad. Including the special guests, the orchestra features six trumpets/flugelhorns and three trombones; five reeds, one of whom plays an ewi; a rhythm section of piano, two guitars and two basses; and another percussionist. The liner notes don’t specify, but some of the duplicate instrumentalists probably aren’t utilized on all tracks.

We may not have as much big band jazz here in the States as we’d like, but the Swiss sure have their share; don’t miss this contribution.

Posted by Ric Bang at 6:41 AM (on JazzScan)
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MusicZoom
The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra – Future Steps
Recensioni by Vittorio Lo Conte
Mar 16

L´educazione musicale in Svizzera è ovviamente molto seguita e la Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra è una raccolta di giovani talenti, fino ai ventisei anni, con cui si realizzano dei progetti in dei festival. Questa volta la musica è dedicata agli Steps Ahead di Mike Mainieri, vibrafonista ormai conosciuto in tutto il mondo. Sono otto composizioni originali scritte da Fritz K. Renold, direttore della big band, che ha scelto di lavorare nello stile degli Steps Ahead, ma non di riprenderne le partiture. Soltanto l´ultimo brano, Beirut è stato invece scritto da Mike Mainieri, fra l altro presente come ospite e autore di ottimi interventi, come è il suo solito. Gli arrangiamenti sono opera di Gil Goldstein, Christian Jacob, Jamshied Sharifi, Bob Freedman, Corey Allen e Fritz K Renold. Accanto ai giovani musicisti, che hanno fatto le prove per una settimana prima di andare sul palco del festival Jazzaar ci sono i veterani, quei musicisti che in un modo o nell´altro sono stati vicini alla musica di Mainieri, Randy Brecker alla tromba, Alphonso Johnson al basso elettrico, Rodney Holmes alla batteria. Come sempre per questa musica c´è un bel ritmo di base e ottimi assoli che mostrano il lato più interessante del genere fusion, ad esempio su Alkapuri ci sono gli assoli di Brecker e del giovane Claude Stucki, molto interessante per come sa maneggiare la chitarra elettrica andando al cuore della musica, senza tirare note di troppo che servirebbero soltanto allo spettacolo. I Got Ilse è un altro brano in cui il suono della big band accompagna l´assolo di Randy Brecker, a seguire Chris Sommer al sax alto, molto in stile fusion e dalla bella voce, Mike Mainieri al vibrafono, sempre uno dei grandi dello strumento con le sue folate di note velocissime che provocano l´entusiasmo e l´applauso del pubblico e Christian Jacob (anche lui ospite della big band) al pianoforte acustico. Più in stile smooth Benjamin Sujesh, qui con gli assoli di Martin Hauser al sax soprano e Mike Mainieri al vibrafono, un brano ricco di atmosfere soffuse. Fra i momenti più interessanti dell´album certamente ci sta il finale Beirut scritto da Mainieri e con degli interventi di Felix Piringer all´ewi e dello stesso vibrafonista sulla ritmica incalzante di Johnson e Holmes e la voluminosa big band in sottofondo. Oltre a questo CD c´è anche il DVD con la registrazione del concerto, ottimo per riviverne le emozioni.

Genere: big band
Label: Shanti Music
Anno 2014

Tracklist
01. Future Step
02. Alkapuri
03. . I Got Ilse
04. Benjamin Sujesh
05. Papa Rolf
06. Simon Smiles
07. A New Kind
08. Mandela
09. Beirut
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Highlands logo2

THE SWISS YOUTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA
FUTURE STEPS (2014, Shanti Records)
7 Mars 2015

Le festival de Jazz Jazzaar a lieu chaque année au mois d’avril à Aarau en Suisse. En 2014, c’est le groupe de jazz- rock STEPS AHEAD, emblématique des années 80, qui était à l’honneur. Pour l’occasion, le directeur musical de l’événement, Fritz RENOLD, a composé une série de morceaux dans l’esprit du groupe du vibraphoniste Mike MAINIERI. L’interprétation en a été confiée à de jeunes talents suisses, ainsi qu’à des membres originaux de la formation des années 80, dont l’unique membre constant, Mike MAINIERI. Parmi les autres invite?s de marque, on notera la présence de Randy BRECKER, frére du regrette? saxophoniste Michael BRECKER, compagnon de Mike dans la premiére mouture du groupe, et le bassiste Alphonso JOHNSON.
L’hommage commence par un swing endiablé ou? les solistes s’expriment à tour de ro?le. Puis viennent des morceaux smooth-jazz à la suavité digne de l’accompagnement sonore d’une soirée de gala (le tapis rouge se déroule au son de ces claviers féériques sur Benjamin Sujesh ou encore de ces trompettes radieuses sur Mandela) ou à l’élégance rythmique d’une piéce de Marcus MILLER (Alkapuri avec ses synthés kitsch témoins d’une époque trés portée sur le tout synthe?tique). On retrouve également des compositions plus syncrétiques, ou? les frappes hàtives en mode “walking bass” typiques du be-bop croisent les cuivres étourdissants et le bouillonnement acrobatique si chers aux big bands, mais également des plans rythmiques à dodeliner de la téte hérités de la funk (I Got Ilse et A New Kind). Par ailleurs, les baguettes galopantes nous replongent dans l’univers des films de la Blaxploitation des années 70, tanto?t noir (Papa Rolf avec ses cuivres menac?ants), tanto?t fantaisiste (Simon Smiles avec sa
trompette émoustillée et ses claviers amusés). Enfin, dernier morceau mais non le moindre, la troupe clo?ture l’hommage avec une reprise du troublant Beirut. En effet, dans ce morceau de STEPS AHEAD, l’étrange co?toie le dynamique. Sur fond d’accompagnement entrai?nant, il est proche des expérimentations claviéristiques de Joe ZAWINUL du temps ou? il officiait au sein de WEATHER REPORT, ou encore des trames sonores que GOBLIN réalisaient pour les giallos de Dario ARGENTO.
Voici donc un album trés agréable ou? la nouvelle génération co?toie l’ancienne, dans un feu d’artifices jazzistique coloré et rythmé. 18/20

Lucas BIELA

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Jazz Weekly

CD Review:

by George W. Harris • March 5, 2015

Directed by Fritz K Renold, the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra is captured at a concert performance at the Jazzar Festival in Switzerland performing eight tunes by the director as well as a closer “Beirut.” There’s also an impressive guest list here, including Randy Brecker/tp, Mike Marinieri/vibes, Christian Jacob/p, Alphonso Johnson/b, Kevin Bryan/tp, Christian Kramer/tb and Rodney Holmes/dr. Johnson makes his presence most palpably felt on some funky licks on “I Got Ilse” and”Alkapuri” which both feature Brecker’s trumpet and some clever arrangements of the horn sections. Some bluesy moods swarm up on “Papa Rolf” while Jacob shows his lyrical swing on piano during “A New Kind” and his touch on the keyboards on ”Mandela.” The band glows on “Beirute” which as Felix Piringer delivering a solo on the ewi in a replica of Michael Brecker’s original version. The embers burn a medium orange here, not too hot, nor too cold.

Shanti Records

www.shanti-music.com
 
Jazzaar Editorial: “Alkapuri” was played by Sharon Renold on e-bass while “I Got Ilse” was played by Alphonso Johnson on acc. bass with Sharon Renold on e-bass.
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OsPlace
D. Oscar Groomes
O’s Place Jazz Newsletter

CD Review:

Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra – Future Steps 4/3
O’s Notes: This is a futurist sounding large ensemble complete with synthesizers and high energy. The band is polished and refined with their delivery. Randy Brecker (t), Mike Mainieri (vibes), Christian Jacob (p) and Alphonso Johnson (b) are among the many featured special guests who inject energy and experience into this live performance at the Jazzaar Festival in Aarau, Switzerland April 2014. The music is mostly original songs written by Musical Director Fritz Reynold and Mainieri. Veteran artists + Creative Youth = Success here!
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Artslink logo
 
Big Band CDs
Don Albert
01/29/2015 08:30:49
 
Jazzaholic by Don Albert: No these are not the ghost bands of yesteryears, but rather what’s happening today.

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s CD titled Over Time: Music of Bob Brookmeyer (Planet Arts 101413) proves what a superb band it is. The charts are not easy, as a matter of fact they are difficult and demanding of the musicians, who as one, step up to the plate and hit the ball out of the park. “The Big Time” is a scorcher. “Suite For Three” features alto saxophonist Dick Oatts on “Oatts”, the Flugel Horn player Scott Wendholt on “Scott, and tenorman Rich Perry on “Rich”.

Oatts is in top form throughout, especially on the only standard “Skylark”, and Ralph Lelama tenor and Gary Smulyan baritone feature on “At the Corner of Ralph and Gary”. There are many soloists featured on the over 14 minutes of “XYZ”, I particularly enjoyed trumpeter Terell Stafford as well as the futuristic voicing’s. There’s no doubt about this being the real thing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it won a Grammy.

Pacific Jazz: Clare Fischer Big Band Directed By Brent Fischer (Clavo Records). Brent is the son of the late Clare Fischer. The CD opens with his dad’s arrangement of “Cherokee” with solos from trombonist Andy Martin and alto player Alex Budman. It’s amazing how a fresh updated arrangement of a Swing Era icon can sound so good. Duke Ellington would have been proud of this arrangement of “Cotton Tail” and Clare’s keyboard solo. 13 tracks that also includes “Mood Indigo” featuring Clare’s electric keyboard, a little fun on “Sad About Nothing Blues” featuring vocals and scatting from trumpeter Carl Saunders and trombonist Scott Whitfield and a solo outing by Clare on “I Loves You Porgy”. I believe if you enjoy big band music, super arrangements, top class musicians you’ll find this CD very rewarding.

Future Steps is an extraordinary CD from The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra recorded live at Jazzaar Festival 2014 – AARau, Switzerland, with special guests Randy Brecker trumpet; Kevin Bryan lead trumpet; Markus Hauser saxes; Christian Kramer trombone; Mike Mainieri vibes; Christian Jacob piano; Alphonso Johnson bass and Rodney Holmes drums.

Besides the precision of the big band, all the are soloists are inventive and in top form including trumpeter Silvan Schmid on “Future Steps”, guitarist Claude Stucki on “Alkapuri”, alto saxophonist Chris Sommer on “I Got Ilse”, tenorman Christoph Huber on “Mandela” and ewi player Felix Pringer playing the Michael Brecker solo on “Beirut”. A few things must be mentioned such as the build up by Holmes on “Alkapuri” and his solo on “A New Kind” and the incredible lead playing of Bryan on “Mandela” which is a tour de force as is “Beirut”. The band itself is inspired by the music of Steps Ahead, and the ages of its members are between16 and 26. I’m so happy to have this CD in my collection. For more info go to www.shanti-music.com
 
Don Albert is a saxophonist and jazz journalist. He spent 12 years with The Star Newspaper on the Tonight! section writing about jazz. Currently he writes jazz CD and book reviews for Financial Mail and is the South African Correspondent for Downbeat (USA) and Jazz Journal International (UK). He has presented radio programmes on jazz and served awards.as judge at prestigious competitions. He has also won numerous awards.
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Lajazz_headerlogo
 
Dee Dee’s Jazz Diary
by Dee Dee McNeil
Published Jan 25, 2015, 9:13 AM PST
 
Future Steps – The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra – Live at Jazzaar Festival 2014 – Aarau, Switzerland
Shanti Records

The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra: Silvan Schmid & Benjamin Lindner, trumpets; Marco Leibach and Sebastian Way, trombones; Chris Sommer, alto & soprano saxophones; Christophe Huber, flute & tenor Sax; Felix Piringer, ewi & tenor sax; Frederik Baatz, baritone sax; Claude Stucki and Lydia Renold, guitar; Ani Wollstein, keyboard; Sharon Renold, bass; Marco de Sousa, percussion.

Featuring Special Guests: Randy Brecker, trumpet; Mike Mainieri, vibes; Kevin Bryan, lead trumpet; Christian Jacob, piano; Markus Hauser, saxophones; Alphonso Johnson, bass; Christian Kramer, trombone; Rodney Holmes, drums.

Long before the average American embraced jazz as a popular and important art form, when America was still labeling it ‘devil music,’ the European Continent was wrapping strong arms around jazz and studying its multi-layered cultural references. Europe gladly embraced jazz and jazz musicians, particularly African American jazz musicians, who were made to feel at home on European shores. Many black musicians migrated to Europe to flee racism and the barbaric treatment of African American people at home. Inside the music, Europeans detected early English spirituals that had been drummed into the African slave population. They heard the polyrhythms of the African Continent blended with classical scales and the influence of South America and Latino cultures. Today they hear hip-hop, R&B and pop fused into jazzy formats that stretch beyond categorization. No wonder these young, European musicians play so well and capture the essence of jazz. It’s part of a history they recognize and one that’s been taught in Europe. Jazz music is something sadly missing in many of our American public schools, as art and music are deliberately deleted from curriculums.

You will hear improvisation and big band harmonics at their best on this recording. And, for what these new breeds on the horizon lack in musical experience, they have employed several special guests to take up the slack. Not that these young players lack much. Every cut on this CD is pure pleasure and sustainable next to Basie, Gil Evans or Ellington Orchestras. The masters would be proud! This album is an absolute winner, directed by Fritz K. Renold and recorded live at the Jazzaar Festival in Switzerland.
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SeatlePi
 
Music Review: The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra – ‘Future Steps: Live at Jazzaar Festival 2014 Aarau, Switzerland’
By Jack Goodstein, BLOGCRITICS.ORG
Published 10:00 pm, Tuesday, January 20, 2015
 
Worried about the future of jazz? At a time when received wisdom has it that jazz has lost much of its shine, especially with the younger set, and seems destined for little more than a niche audience, jazz lovers would seem to have something real to worry about. Then along comes an album like Future Steps and you hear the work of the talented young musicians in what is called a Youth Jazz Orchestra. Then you know you needn’t worry. You can be sure that jazz is alive and well and it’s living in Switzerland.

Young, middle aged, elderly, these cats can play. That, in fact their ages run from 16 to 26, belies the pessimism of received wisdom. There is clearly budding jazz talent ready to bloom. Indeed, if the 2014 live concert at Aarau is any indication, it has already flowered. Future Steps is a “Bandstand Learning with Role Models” project, where the young musicians serve as apprentices working with professionals. Playing with guest artists like trumpeter Randy Brecker, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, pianist Christian Jacob, and drummer Rodney Holmes, it is often difficult to hear the difference between the neophytes and the veterans. To be clear, the youngsters handle much of the solo work alongside the guest talent.

The album’s nine tracks include eight original compositions written especially for the orchestra by its director, Fritz Renold in the style of the ’80s jazz fusion band Steps Ahead. The concert’s final piece is “Beirut,” a well-known Steps Ahead composition. They open with the album’s title song, where the featured solo work is credited to Jacob, Mainieri, saxophonist Markus Hauser, and Youth Orchestra member Silvan Schmid on trumpet. Youth guitarist Claude Stucki gets the solo credit along with Randy Brecker on the second track, “Alkapuri.” The central point is that if the liner notes didn’t indicate who was playing these solos, there is little to distinguish between youth and age.

Alto sax player Chris Sommer joins Manieri and Jacob to add some swinging solo work on “I Got Ilse” and Holmes has the spotlight on “A New Kind.” “Mandela,” the last of the Renold pieces has some bravura passages from Brecker as well as a fine tenor sax highlight from Christoph Huber.
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AllAboutJazz
 
Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra: Future Steps: Live At Jazzaar Festival 2014 (2015)
By JACK BOWERS, Published: January 16, 2015
 
This engaging in-concert album by the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra and an array of renowned guest artists is properly described in an accompanying press release as “Bandstand Learning with Role Models,” as indeed it is. The SYJO is literally surrounded by them (role models, that is), with the more seasoned players handling the bulk of the solos in a program that consists for the most part of music by the orchestra’s director, Fritz K. Renold, composed in the style of the groundbreaking fusion band, Steps Ahead (one of whose founders, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, is among the guests and wrote the closing number, “Beirut”).

That’s not to imply that the outsiders steal the show, as the SYJO, benefiting from a week of rehearsals leading to the concert at the Jazzaar Festival in Aarau, performs exceedingly well in its role as caretaker-in-residence, imparting a penchant for and understanding of the music well beyond its collective years. In other words, fusion has seldom sounded better than this. Renold deserves a large share of the credit, as his songs evince a rhythmic and harmonic pattern that is staunchly progressive yet invariably pleasing to the ears. While the spirit of Steps Ahead is ever-present, Renold has used that spirit as a starting point from which to create a smorgasbord of superlative big-band jazz.

The “role models” do their share as well, as soloists and as indispensable members of the orchestra. Kevin Bryan, for example, leads the stalwart trumpet section, and one couldn’t ask for a more able rhythm section than one comprised of Mainieri, pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Alphonso Johnson and drummer Rodney Holmes (outstanding on Renold’s “A New Kind”). Mainieri solos on half a dozen numbers (including “Beirut”), Jacob and trumpeter Randy Brecker on five apiece. Another guest, Markus Hauser, shines on tenor (“Future Steps,” “Papa Rolf”) and soprano (“Benjamin Sujesh”). Soloists from the SYJO are trumpeter Silvan Schmid (“Future Steps”), guitarist Claude Stucki (“Alkapuri”), alto Chris Sommer (“I Got Ilse”) and tenor Christoph Huber (the exquisite “Mandela”). Felix Piringer, on ewi, recreates Michael Brecker’s original solo on “Beirut,” which embodies a more “fusion-like” vibe than anything else on the album.

In sum, Future Steps combines a wonderful learning experience for the SYJO (ages sixteen to twenty-six) with a remarkable listening experience for everyone else.
Track Listing: Future Steps; Alkapuri; I Got Ilse; Benjamin Sujesh; Papa Rolf; Simon Smiles; A New Kind; Mandela.

Personnel: Fritz K. Renold: director, composer, arranger; Silvan Schmid: trumpet; Benjamin Lindner: trumpet; Chris Sommer: alto, soprano sax; Christoph Huber: tenor sax, flute; Felix Piringer: tenor sax, ewi; Frederik Baatz: baritone sax; Marco Leibach: trombone; Sebastian Wey: trombone; Claude Stucki: guitar; Lydia Renold: guitar; Ani Wollstein: keyboard; Sharon Renold: bass; Marcio de Sousa: percussion. Special guests – Randy Brecker: trumpet; Kevin Bryan: lead trumpet; Markus Hauser: tenor, soprano sax; Christian Kramer: trombone; Mike Mainieri: vibraphone; Christian Jacob: piano; Alphonso Johnson: bass; Rodney Holmes: drums.

Record Label: Shanti Records
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famelog3
 
Future Steps:
Live at Jazaar Festival 2014
The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra
Shanti Records – SR 639
Available from CD Baby.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)
 
Switzerland may be a very small country tucked away in lower Europe, but, as Wikipedia informs us, it holds very high marks in such matters as nominal wealth per adult (highest in the world), life expectancy (second highest), government transparency, civil liberties, and human development. Hardly surprising, then, that the republic would produce such a sparkling assemblage of 16-25 year olds as The Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra, well helmed by Fritz K. Reynold. The ‘Steps’ in the release’s title derives in the long-lived and perhaps not yet defunct Steps Ahead band (most recent performances: 2005). The band was a top-drawer ensemble featuring a wide array of members – Mike Mainieri (founder), Randy Brecker, Chuck Loeb, Tony Levin, Mike Stern, and many others—and was lauded as a new wrinkle by many but dismissed by some as ‘fusion lite’. Welllllll, sure, no Mahavishnu Orchestra they but no Kenny Gee either, y’all.

Whatever side one came down on, it was an impressive combo whose work couldn’t help but be attractive to younger players. Live, however, is not a take on the band’s oeuvre but instead ruminations on projections of their essence and drive, only one cut taken from the ensemble’s catalogue, the rest penned by Reynold. The Orchestra is tight and spirited, providing energetic, solid, and imaginative backing for the soloists: Brecker, Mainieri, Christian Jacob, and others. It’s obvious, too, the admiration the pros have for the ensemble, delivering many excellent step-outs. All the songs are long and easily provide plenty of space for the flexing of muscles. Jacobs, for instance, on piano inserts a dynamite section in A New Kind, Rodney Holmes further on laying out a sparkling and powerful drum solo.

The 13-member Orchestra is so disciplined that it works intimately with many top players year-in and year-out, including Steps Ahead members, everyone greatly interested in maintaining jazz as remaining as much an education as an art, the heart and driving force of the project. I mean, seriously, does anyone think for a moment that Ellington couldn’t have held his own in music theory against any classicalist? Well, that’s the sort of mindset present here, and the interplay of seasoned and upcoming minds and chops assures us that the future is well preserved in today’s acumen. There’s over an hour of material in Future Steps: Live at Jazaar Festival 2014, and not a second lags or stalls, everything as upbeat and oft surprising as it is knowledgeable and fully imbued with its own history.

Track List:

Future Steps
Alkapuri
I Got Ilse
Benjamin Sujesh
Papa Rolf
Simon Smiles
A New Kind
Mandela
Beirut

 
All songs written by Fritz Reynold except
Beirut (Mainieri / Brecker / Loeb / Bailey / Erskine)
 
Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)
 
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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MidwestRecord
 
12/08/14

SHANTI
SWISS YOUTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Future Steps-Live at Jazzaar Festival 2014: You know how you can almost always count on high school and college marching bands to get “Peter Gunn’ right no matter what? This bunch of Swiss kids take it one step further. While sounding well school in the Henry Mancini canon, they augment their sound here by being apprentice to the pros, this time around being a bunch led by Randy Brecker and playing charts in the model of Steps Ahead with other Steps members being on board as well. Clearly one of those unexpected, diamond in the rough sets, this is another set you can add to your list of hard core cookers. With a raging big band vibe throughout, you can’t help but feel that this is the bomb and these kids have bright, jazzy futures for the taking. Hot stuff.
82414
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The Unseen Hand Cover_front

The Unseen Hand: Live at Jazzaar Festival 2013 (Aarau, Switzerland)

 

AZpageLogo
 
Zehn Grammy-Nennungen für Jazzaar
«The Unseen Hand» von Fritz Renold und Helene Savary steht gleich mehrfach auf der Entry List. Neben Jazzaar haben es erst Philipp Fankhauser und Peter Schärli in Jazz- oder Blues-Kategorien auf die «Entry List» geschafft. von Stefan Künzli

Am diesjährigen Jazzaar Festival in Aarau wurde das Werk «The Unseen Hand» von Fritz Renold und Helene Savary mit dem Swiss Youth World Music Ensemble am Jazzaar uraufgeführt. Jetzt ist das mit religiösen Texten versehene Werk für Jazz-Orchester und Gospel-Chor gleich in zehn Kategorien auf die sogenannte «Entry List» für die Grammy Awards gesetzt worden. Die amerikanischen Grammy Awards sind die bedeutendsten Preise der Musikindustrie und das Pendant zu den Oscars beim Film. Die «Entry List» entspricht der «Longlist» bei den Oscars.

Die Grammys werden in einem mehrstufigen Auswahlverfahren gewählt. Jährlich werden über 30 000 Produktionen angehört, die von einer «Academy» aus renommierten Musikern, Produzenten und Aufnahmeleitern zunächst auf die «Entry Lists» der 103 Kategorien gesetzt werden. Aus diesen «Entry Lists» nominiert die «Academy» die fünf Besten. Die Abstimmungen sind jetzt im Gang und werden am 30. November bekannt gegeben.

Die Produktionen von Jazzaar sind in den letzten Jahren immer wieder auf den «Entry Lists» aufgetaucht. «Unseen Hand» hat mit seinen eingängigen, hymnischen Melodien und den tanzbaren Rhythmen eine ungemein positive und ansteckende Wirkung. Trotzdem war der musikalische Leiter von Jazzaar, Fritz Renold, überrascht, dass es diesmal gleich zu zehn Nennungen gereicht hat. Die Chancen auf eine Nomination in den Hauptkategorien «Song Of The Year» (mit dem Song «When I Am Weak»), «Record of The Year» und «Album of The Year» schätzt Renold allerdings als sehr gering ein. Zu lang sind hier die Listen mit jeweils über 1000 Nennungen.

Ein schöner Erfolg und eine Bestätigung für die geleistete Arbeit in Aarau sind die Nennungen trotzdem. Denn für Nicht-Amerikaner ist es sehr schwer, sich in den uramerikanischen Kategorien Jazz und Blues durchzusetzen. Das gilt in diesem Jahr für Keyboarder Etienne Stadwijk und Bassist Kay Eckhardt, die in der Kategorie «Best Improvised Jazz Solo» genannt wurden sowie für Jamshied Sharifi und Bob Freedman für ihre Arrangements.

Neben Jazzaar haben es erst Philipp Fankhauser und Peter Schärli in Jazz- oder Blues-Kategorien auf die «Entry List» geschafft. Renold kam dabei einer Nomination am nächsten, als er vor sechs Jahren in der Kategorie «Best Jazz Composition» auf Rang 6 landete.

Chancen in der Nebenkategorie

Besser stehen die Chancen in den Nebenkategorien. In solchen Nebenkategorien resultierten auch die bisher einzigen Schweizer Grammy-Siege. Andreas Vollenweider gewann 1986 in der Kategorie Best New Age Album und Marcel Cellier 1990 für die Produktion des Albums «Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Vol. II» mit dem Frauenchor des bulgarischen Staatsfernsehens. In einer solchen Nebenkategorie, für das «Best Contemporary Christian Music Album» ist auch «Unseen Hand» aufgeführt. Mit intakten Chancen. Denn hier ist die Konkurrenz mit insgesamt gut 100 Nennungen vergleichsweise klein.

Wer aus der Academy die jüngste Jazzaar-Produktion auf die Entry List gesetzt hat, weiss Renold nicht. «Das Abstimmungsverfahren ist streng geheim», sagt er. Klar ist aber, dass Renold durch die Zusammenarbeit mit vielen amerikanischen Jazzmusikern beste Verbindungen in die USA unterhält.

Renold & Savary The Unseen Hand, Live At Jazzaar Festival 2013 – Aarau, Switzerland. Music & Lyrics by Fritz Renold & Helene Savary, CD Baby.

(Nordwestschweiz)

 
 
 

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