Jakob Jenzer organises concerts in his atelier and this series runs under the label “kulturprofit”. There were three Jazz concerts this year and I had the chance to see the last one of the series where he invited Peter Fischer on drums, Stephan Urwyler on guitar and Heidi Moll on bass to present their current project MUF.
Heidi and Peter are already playing together for some time and their music can be described as a combination of rhythmic world beats with lyric and melodic patterns and grooves. Both experiment also with loops and they have been able to bring their ideas from the studio to the live stage.
Stephan Urwyler is very well known in the Bern Jazz and Blues scene and is very busy in different projects from Jazz combos, Jazz big bands to Funk and Blues productions.
Together they have been able to entertain us for more than two hours with their rhythmic and improvised music (which are in my opinion the two important characteristics of jazz music). The band started with a composition from Heidi Moll and Peter Fischer called “Dunes” and featured Heidi on her magnificent instrument (a double neck bass with a 5-strings neck and a 4-string fretless neck).
One of the highlights of the concert was Stephan Urwyler’s tune “Heiweh – Homesickness” which featured Stephan and showed his talent as a writer of beautiful melodies and excellent improviser over melodic changes.
All three used additional technical options of loops or guitar effect pedals to expand the sound variety or to create extra instrumental layers.
The second set was again of combination of compositions from all three members and especially remarkable was here the tune “Magma” featuring Peter Fischer.
I haven’t seen any announcements where you can see the trio again, but please check on their website www.muf-music.ch for more information.
Finally I also need to say one thing about Jakob Jenzer and his project “kulturprofit” which is based on his commitment to give the chance to unusual musical projects in an artistic environment. The way this evening was organized was perfect match for everybody: The audience got the chance to see a band for free (a donation could be made at the exit) and the musicians could present their music and ideas in a location with a curious audience. Hopefully Jakob Jenzer will continue with this series.
I found some videos from Heidi Moll and Peter Fischer and I created a playlist with the songs mentioned in the blog. Please enjoy.
This time I want to talk about an extraordinary guitar player, who died in 2005: Ted Greene. I have to admit, that I was introduced to him accidentally when searching online stores for recordings of Gershwin tunes. I bought the only album that he ever recorded and still is one of the most beautiful solo guitar albums I ever heard. The album is called “Solo Guitar” and was recorded in 1976, around the same time when Joe Pass recorded his “Virtuoso” albums. Joe Pass became famous and Ted Greene is forgotten, it seems.
Ted played usually a Fender Telecaster and experimented with different tunings, that is how he created his specific sound of deep bass notes. Ted spent most of his time as a teacher. “I didn’t mean to be a guitar teacher,” he said, “but I just fell in love with it.”
He wrote four books: Chord Chemistry, Modern Chord Progressions, and Jazz Guitar Single Note Soloing Volume 1 and Volume 2. These books became quite successful and are still available.
The album “Solo Guitar” was recorded at a time where Ted was having a Sunday night gig. The recording was made over 10 hours on two days where Ted was just playing what came into his mind. Out of this material 8 songs were put into this album. The list contains versions of Gershwin tunes ( A medley with “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”) and cover versions of other famous songs like “Ol’ Man River”, “Send in the Clowns” or “Just Friends”.
Ted Greene experiments on all this songs with different styles of playing (walking bass in “Just Friends” , classical almost baroque chord progressions and flageolet melodies in “Danny Boy” or just changing the key in “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”). The whole album shows the commitment of Ted’s playing to melody and harmony and results in perfectly balanced chord progressions and voicings. This is really one of the greatest solo guitar albums I know.
Since Ted was having so many students there is still an active Ted Greene community on the internet. You can find transcriptions from the album and many other student’s material compiled on the website www.tedgreene.com.
You will also find a lot of interesting videos on Youtube. I selected one video from 1993 where he plays “Autumn Leaves”. Ted speaks briefly also about changing keys “since it starts to loose it’s charm” when you stay on the same key for too long.
Finally I have also created a little playlist to allow you to listen to the album: