Happy Birthday Franz Koglmann!

On the occasion of Franz Koglmann’s 70’s birthday, Wiener Musik Galerie pays tribute to its programmatic mastermind of many years with a concert. His music will be juxtaposed with the sound of his French counterpart Stéphane Belmondo, the communal element between the two musicians being first and foremost their love for Chet Baker: Love for Chet is the title of Belmondo`s homage to the icon of cool jazz in Vienna. Franz Koglmann himself will appear in two trios and a duo and will perform in a sextet to present the world premiere of his work my sweet old etcetera... In a chamber arrangement, this work exemplifies Koglmann’s very own aesthetic fabric, woven between the poles of the European tradition of written-down music and American jazz.

Coming out of a wild phase of free jazz in the late sixties and taking up the baton from the Third Stream movement and Lennie Tristano’s cool jazz, Koglmann developed an eclectic formal language - never entirely losing sight of the Second Vienna School. Cool and calculated, his art is devoid of any of the expressive exhibitionism that is anathema to the stoic that is Koglmann. To this very day he approaches his music with alchemistic passion, combining and recombining the ingredients into ever new blends. He seeks and finds his inspiration in Johann Strauss and E. M. Cioran, Marilyn Monroe and Anton Webern, King Crimson and Oskar Schlemmer. He takes just as much pleasure in applying an intellectual lens to sensuality as in eroticising the cerebral; in a dialectic interplaye between structural thought and intuition he secularises the transcendental while transcending any all-too-human banality. “First you need to apply chains, before you can break them.” Franz Koglmann, who has always been deeply distrustful of simplistic utopias, once observed. “To me, the greatest freedom lies in successfully mastering form.” it.“


In the world of jazz trumpet players, there is a musician who has left his indelible mark on the hearts and souls of its audience: Chet Baker. Chet was an angel with broken wings, Chet had this very unique ability to speak to our mind. He touched the heart of the audience like no other. Chet has fascinated the greatest: Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans, Elvis Costello, Stan Getz, NHOP, Michel Grailler, Ricardo del Fra, Doug Raney to name a few. He passed away prematurely in 1988, but his music is still alive, and will remain for ever magical and captivating.

No need to present Stéphane Belmondo, trumpet and flugelhorn player, renowned musician and composer, awarded of many prices and distinctions in Europe. Stéphane is surely one of the most talented, popular and most appreciated French Jazz Musicians. The connection between Stéphane Belmondo and Chet Baker is obvious: in the 80’s they met and played together several times in Paris. Stéphane admired deeply Chet, and Chet was very touched by this young trumpet player, one of his favorite in the young generation.

It took a long time to Stéphane to think about the idea of recording a tribute to Chet Baker, his hero. Stéphane collaborated with Yusef Lateef, Milton Nascimento, Michel Legrand or Dee Dee Bridgewater to name a few, recorded a beautiful homage to Lili Boulanger, to Stevie Wonder. It was a long and necessary trip before recording this tribute to Chet.


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