Pale Fire by Z3

WhyPlayJazz (RS014), CD, Release date: May 16, 2014
Artist: Z3

Pale Fire by Z3 (2014 WhyPlayJazz, RS014)

Track listing

  1. Positiv Negativ  7:47
  2. Melos  9:09
  3. Two  7:20
  4. Matrix  9:27
  5. Map  5:44
  6. Hu  10:02
  7. Poly  5:32

Line Up

Philip Zoubek (p, comp), Benjamin Weidekamp (cl, bcl), Christian Weber (b)


All compositions by Philip Zoubek. Recorded on 3rd & 4th of February 2013 by Stefan Deistler at the Loft, Cologne, Germany. Mixed by Pedja Avramovic and Philip Zoubek at Mediapark Studios, Cologne, Germany.


There was this band in the 1960s, part of the free jazz tradition, that I always really admired: the Jimmy Guiffre Trio with Paul Bley on piano and Steve Swallow on Bass. This trio’s music, their subtlety, their sense of space and playful straightforwardness immediacy continues to be of exceptional significance for my musical development. I am fascinated by the seamless connection of improvisation with composition, by the way this music handles space and density, by how it opens a tonal mobility and subliminally creates intensity and tension. Their music achieves a simple kind of beauty without ever being even remotely banal or, on the contrary, weighty.

That’s where I wanted to start. Not in the form of a historicising homage but a continuation that takes up my own musical experiences. When I began composing, I was particularly interested in the compositional possibilities that arose from the timbre of this line up . Especially the rhythmically complex structures originate a sound in which the individual voices coalesce, intertwine, even out. That’s exactly where improvisation should happen: in a highly communicative space in which each player has a clear sense of the others’ place and motion and in which the functional roles are continuously interchanged.

When I asked Benjamin Weidekamp and Christian Weber four years ago whether they were up for taking this as a basis and find a music that would concentrate our experiences with free improvisation, new music and different ways of playing jazz while also exploring new spaces, they immediately agreed. It was important to me that I could count on my fellow musicians to participate in making the music, both intellectually and emotionally. And to work the music out together in often intensive and sometimes frustrating rehearsals. After our first meeting it was clear to us all that we have “found” each other and that it would be worthwhile to embark upon a common musical journey. I am therefore extremely happy to present the album “Pale Fire” as result of our work to date. It was recorded in two exhausting days at the studio in the Loft Cologne. Nevertheless, most of the pieces come from the live concert that followed.


Eine hervorragende Scheibe, perfekt austariert, die jegliche Trockenheit oder verkopfte Komplexität vermeidet., Thierry Giard (June 2014)

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