So.Weiss: Hunter / Dancer: Release Information
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Release Date: 14.04.2006
TT Catalogue No: 4490
So.Weiss: "Hunter / Dancer"
Poetry and jazz: an on-going love affair that has received numerous rejuvenating nuances over the decades. A trio consisting of horn(s), voice and bass continues to write the history of this flirt, probes eerie-romantic glimmer, as well as glaringly bright gleam, captures the dancing white of snowflakes in sound, but also the sluggish atmosphere of summer. And the fact that the trio – brought to life by saxophone player Susanne Folk – calls itself „So.Weiss“ has as much to do with English verse as with German poetic art and Nordic spirit.
Those of you who have delighted in listening to the debut CD of the German-Finnish singer Kristiina Tuomi will find a similar-sounding twin in „Hunter/Dancer“, yet one with its own will. Once again Traumton presents a trio that cultivates the congenial relationship between verse and improvisation with many facets. So.Weiss is the brainchild of saxophone player Susanne Folk from Braunschweig; all compositions are written by her. During her studies in Essen (Folkwang) and Berlin (University of the Arts) with Peter Weniger and David Friedman she attended workshops lead by Kenny Wheeler, Phil Woods and Joey Baron amongst others. As a member of the Youth Jazz Orchestra of Lower Saxony she toured through Russia and recorded the CD „Wind Machine“. Continuing her work with big bands she played with Peter Herbolzheimer´s German Youth Jazz Orchestra and the European Jazz Youth Orchestra. Today a wide range of ensembles represents her musical craft: Take, for instance, the international band collective „Kenosha Kid” that has specialized in an unorthodox accompaniment of movies with a mixture between klezmer-punk and circus music and with which she has so far gone on tour twice through North America and Germany in 2005/2006. In 2005 she also gained experience playing with jazz musicians in New York, where she also had lessons with Greg Osby, Ravi Coltrane, Chris Speed and Tony Malaby and took part in workshops lead by Steve Coleman and Uri Caine.
Extremely recognizable and with immediate effect:„Kristiina Tuomi sings with disarming clarity and simplicity – far from jazz parameters“, wrote the jazz magazine Jazzthetik about the 28-year-old daughter of a Finnish mother and a German father following her first CD „Tightrope Walker“, released last year. And the magazine Jazzthing judged: „In spite of these light particles the music stays… enchantingly dark and with its clear, lyrical melodies and transfigured harmonies charmingly artificial. “Praise for a versatile singer, who from Electronica (Paloma) over indiepop (Seazoo) to acustical elegies, from opera to jazz to pop and dancefloor has sung in various musical environments. When Susanne Folk heard her colleague sing with the band „Fried Fly” the initial spark for „So.Weiss“ was lit and she began to gear her pieces to Tuomi´s voice.
Double bassist Roland Fidezius, born in Wuppertal, also studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin and has developed into an allround musician in demand. He has worked with Richard Howell, Owen Howard, Matthias Schubert and Don Pi (Gilberto Gil) amongst others. He cultivates his own compositions in the band „Odd Shot”, whose CD „Oscar & Emma“(Konnex Records) was released in 2005. His participation in the international workshop in Canadian Banff lead to becoming a member of the Kenosha Kid project (see Folk!) and also lead to founding a quartet with Peter van Huffel (NY). Apart from that he has proved himself to be well-versed in classical music, as, for instance, in the performance of the Montezuma Opera by Carl Heinrich Graun and Wolfgang Rihm, and in the „12 Celan-Songs“ by Michael Nyman. Engagements as a theater musician (Hansa Theatre, Neuköllner Opera) and tv appearances round off his spectrum.
The group’s name „So.Weiss”, echoed in the title of the piece „So White“, derives from a line of dramatic dialogue between Lady Macbeth and her husband just after the latter has killed the king and his unscrupulous wife wants to wash away his feelings of guilt – a symbolic scene for just this fluctuation between light and dark that in the course of the album journeys between Scandinavia, old Britain and young Berlin.
The fondness for the poets of the classical and romantic periods form a leitmotif: Thus, apart from the drama of Shakespeare, the verse of the sensitive John Keats and the heroic Lord Byron has been set to music. Pure and clear and partially with the melodiousness of folk songs Susanne captures the British vein. However, and the risk has been worth it, contemporary German poetry has also been turned into song. The present-day poet Monika Rinck from Berlin (debut volume: „Verzückte Distanzen“, Ed. Postskriptum) has lent two of her poems, one of which generates flowing white wintry lines that seem to have been written just for Tuomi’s timbre. Folk herself has written pertinent lyrics on the crowdedness of the subway which mirror the fidgety nervousness of urban rush hours. The trio continuously proves to be an almost symbiotic unit: Folk’s agile saxophone and her full-sounding clarinet, as well as Fidezius’ bass – at times with a generous sweep of the bow, at other times with a racing series of plucked notes – take part in a lively, intimate conversation with the voice, but detach themselves on occasion for freer play, drift over into improvisational intermezzi, finally returning to the basic idea of the song, always in service of the poetic substance. This album is a fresh, bold-spirited stirring up of the passionate fire between poetry and jazz .
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