2015 WhyPlayJazz (RS017), CD + MP3 Album Download
Special guest: Wu Wei (Sheng & Jinghu) Saxophones: Heiner Wiberny, Charlotte Greve, Stefan Karl Schmid, Peter Ehwald, Heiko Bidmon Trumpets: Benny Brown & Felix Meyer, Florian Menzel, Volker Deglmann, John-Dennis Renken Trombones: Simon Harrer, Janning Trumann, Tim Hepburn, Jan Schreiner Rhythm: Martin Schulte, Jürgen Friedrich, Matthias Akeo Nowak, Daniel Schröteler Composition: Stefan Schultze
Recorded 16th - 20th September 2014 at Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal (Cologne, Germany) by Oliver Bergner, Ernst Hartmann and Katrin Fidorra. Produced for Deutschlandfunk by Harald Rehmann. Mixed by Christian Heck at tonart-studio, Kerpen-Horrem, Germany. Mastered by Christoph Stickel at msm-studios, Munich, Germany. All compositions by Stefan Schultze. Artwork by Cindy Schmid (swinx).
Stefan Schultze‘s (winner of »WDR Jazz Award 2010«) big band with its prominent members and the Chinese sheng player Wu Wei give us an extensive insight into an unknown world. A high-contrast balancing act between traditional allusions and bizarre advances full of non-trivial musical explorations.
Riding the acoustic roller coaster – Stefan Schultze Large Ensemble meets Wu Wei, Chinese virtuoso on the sheng
When Stefan Schultze, the widely interested and curiosity-driven pianist and componist, works on a new Large Ensemble Album for five years, only uncertainty is certain. When, moreover, he does it together with a traditional Chinese instrumentalist, he allows his listeners a large-sized view into peregrine worlds, in which acoustic rides, lullabies and dauntless grooves merge together.
The new album, Erratic Wish Machine, was carefully arranged during a month-long Goethe residence in Shanghai. After being recorded at Deutschlandfunk and premiered at Cologne Philharmonic Hall, it offers a high-contrast balancing act, a collective sound between tradition and odd advances.
For his new project the WDR-jazz-awardee 2010 could enthuse Wu Wei, a virtuoso on the Chinese mouth organ (sheng), to work together. This mysterious instrument – a miniature organ that can be carried, and a forerunner of the harmonica – matches the componists unusual or even edgy big band ideas in its own wondrous way – at least in the impressive and fascinating play of Wu Wei, who performs with such frisky joy, that it is a delight to listen.
The Large Ensemble, celeb-studded as usual, does its own thing, in order to arouse Schultze’s oddly fragile yet stoutly solid pieces of music. Freeing himself of the corset of tutti and half diminished chords, he wholly enters new ways of big band jazz, using exciting, globalised sounds, sound conglomerates full of relish, finely spun melodies, and sizzling rhythms.
“Opposites, that polarise yet tag along with each other; various styles that assimilate and yet remain diverse. Sounds, which sometimes ask too much of their listeners, but are never abstruse […] That way big band sound is fun.“ (Sven Ferchow für Neue Musikzeitung, 02/2011)
„Schultze’s compositions initiate movement and progress, create prickling states of pleasure, electrify with liberty for creative jazz musicians, whose improvisational co-creation is fundamental.“ (Olaf Weiden, Kölnische Rundschau 10/2011)
“The label WhyPlayJazz, otherwise known for its experimental combo recordings, has landed a great break-through with its first jazz orchestra CD – also a real achievement for composer and WDR jazz-award winner 2010, Stefan Schultze. Produced by radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, this album moves away from the usual theme-solo-theme-big-band-program with a build-up of tightly composed mood pieces through non-strophic, sometimes minimalistic motif and riff developments that are encompassed by expansive soloist soundscapes.”
The label WhyPlayJazz, otherwise known for its experimental combo recordings, has landed a great break-through with its first jazz orchestra CD – also a real achievement for composer and WDR jazz-award winner 2010, Stefan Schultze. Produced by radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, this album moves away from the usual theme-solo-theme-big-band-program with a build-up of tightly composed mood pieces through non-strophic, sometimes minimalistic motif and riff developments that are encompassed by expansive soloist soundscapes.
Overall this is a very unusual album, which is definitely worth of the attention of connoisseurs searching non-trivial musical explorations. Schultze, on the other hand, deserves praise and encouragement for pursuing his dreams, which eventually result in such superb recordings as this one.
For the production of Erratic Wish Machine, Stefan Schultze invited the virtuoso Chinese mouth organist Wu Wei (amongst others, heard with Pascal Contet and Ensemble Intercontemporain): very unusual and very successful. Unpredictable machine-wishes that yield a lot of surprises. Definitely worth a listen!
The sheng is a kind of Chinese mouth organ, and the pianist and composer Stefan Schultze was so fascinated by the virtuoso Wu Wei and his instrument that he composed a big band album around it. ‘It is a particularly loud instrument that is nevertheless capable of a lot of contrast, and I wanted to find a way to integrate it in my kind of big band music,’ says Schultze. ‘One has to create enough quiet moments to give this instrument the space it needs. The sheng should do more than glimmer through as a yet another minimal tone color.’ This approach has worked superbly on Erratic Wish Machine (WhyPlayJazz) by Stefan Schultze and his Large Ensemble.
Schulze is an impressive composer in his ability to break out of all big band traditions. His music goes through phases that range from introverted melodies through to extreme heavy rock. [...] The CD is rich in variety, consistently fascinating and beautiful, and gives Wu Wei the opportunity to really utilize the unlimited possibilities of the Sheng instrument.
His music is among the most original that the international big band scene has to offer. His compositions are full of surprising developments, full of original ideas, full of breaks in style and not the least, full of unusual sounds. Stefan Schultze continues to be a master of contrast and diversification.
Large Ensemble, a 17-piece big band of top musicians, impresses us with rhythmic finesse, melodious color and a good dose of humor.
Music that doesn’t conform to any single category, consummately orchestrated with complex arrangements and a full big band sound with true audience appeal. [...] tremendously interesting for inquisitive lovers of music who can appreciate an immense spectrum ranging from apparently directionless wandering pianissimi to gigantic eruptions from the whole ensemble.
A real big deal. Christof Schlingensief and Frank Zappa would have loved it. Stefan Schultze is definitely a mischievous character who loves surprising turns, contrasting opposites and raw edges.