“If it is possible for you, follow me in spirit” (Karl Valentin) into a jazz club.
The guests here include a select clique of composers, amongst these, such eminence as George
Gershwin and Bela Bartók. Neither of these made much ado about their obsession with jazz. Both were themselves interpreters of their own music and took the liberty of modifying the interpretation depending on their mood.
Why indeed should a Schubert or a Liszt want to visit this jazz club?
Well, I think, in our situation, Bartók and Gershwin would have done everything to make jazz
accessible to their musical ancestors as an idiom for the lively transition of music. It is said that in 1936 Gershwin heard Art Tatum play his “I Got Rhythm” and Gershwin immediately asked him to entertain guests at one of his parties.
We would certainly be right in claiming Tatum’s interpretation as far superior to Gershwin’s original.
Leonard Bernstein would have had similarly impressive encounters. He worshipped Ornette Coleman as the so-called inventor of free jazz.
Bernstein, and his jazz colleagues would have most likely loved to bring the stars of yesteryear,
Schubert and Co., together with the stars of the 20th century - all as jazz musicians, of course!
On this same memorable evening, Art Tatum and Earl Hines would have struck up a tune for Liszt and Rachmaninov, jazz impressionist Bill Evans would play a prelude to Claude Debussy and the “Singers Unlimited” would have serenaded that master of opera, Giuseppe Verdi. Louis Armstrong would have thrown Puccini into a state of turmoil.
The unusual, altered harmonies and rhythms would doubtlessly leave lasting impressions on the honourable masters and it would surely have infl uenced their style of composition.
“Thus Spake Zarathustra“, “Carmen“ etc., all of these timeless evergreens would have taken different courses and have reflected such influence.
With his delicate arrangements, Flip Philipp has realised what composers have always had close to their hearts: “The abolition of musical boundaries.”
In their new attire, these pieces are even more captivating and “Go-Go”.
With a wink, he allows his spiritual mentor Duke Ellington to join in his opus. Hector Berlioz’s
“March To The Scaffold” bears the hallmarks of Ellington’s writings.
One is inevitably drawn into the spinning of new yarns and into co-creating.
Let us fade in the Duke himself in spirit. He sits in his hotel room listening to a taste of this music and it simply melts on his tongue. He too also adapted such classical works for jazz. Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” for example.
Follow me in spirit now to a place where both worlds meet and meld. Such a musical menu in front of you, you’ll fi nd this perfectly possible.
Whether you will continue to enjoy the originals after this exquisite listening experience… Well, that remains to be discovered…
Enjoy! from Michael Mordo.
Vienna, September 2017
Translation: Antonia Morris, Berlin
aneel somary-lead trumpet
siegfried küblböck-alto sax
hyung ki joo-piano