Walter Lang | Tales of 2 Cities

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Tales of 2 Cities

by Walter Lang

Walter Lang's music is European Contemporary Jazz at it's best, it's lyrical, soft, loud, romantic and very original.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Far Away Clouds
5:49 $0.99
2. Hear, What I Mean
7:58 $0.99
3. Prelude To Club Vinyl
4:05 $0.99
4. Club Vinyl
7:20 $0.99
5. A Day At the Races
4:11 $0.99
6. Rue De Lafayette
5:36 $0.99
7. Minesan's Dream
7:57 $0.99
8. Jubilation
6:12 $0.99
9. Something Else
5:41 $0.99
10. Swimming In the Mist
4:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Liner notes by Reinhard Köchl

European jazz? If something like that exists at all, then these scent marks were not set in the Old World. The Americans have already been playing the most authentic European jazz for quite some time: Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Brad Mehldau and even Uri Caine. All of them are pianists, designers, thinkers, adventurers, men with a wide-ranging, bicultural understanding for sound, space and time. They also incorporate a bit of the “hopeless romantic ”. They are instrumentalists, who feel magnetically attracted to painful and stirring elegies and give in again and again to their emotional inclinations despite all reservations, but never cross the embarrassing border to sentimentality. Instead, they submerge themselves in a special world, follow their classical roots blindly, make their way without fear of their hardly-to-deny influences from pop music, and finally land again completely intuitively at jazz, the most flexible of all music forms.

Only Europeans mostly seem to have roblems with this impure form of setting the tone, which probably sounds European because it is not basically oriented to swing.

The Europeans either copy unabashedly and impersonally the vibes and grooves of their esteemed colleagues from New Orleans, Kansas City und Brooklyn or they dissipate them in extremely stiff big band arrangements and defiant free experiments. That ’s typically European. They just can ’t loosen up enough. Just avoid sticking your foot in some cliché and nurture the disastrous reputations once again that European musicians would fail miserably if notes were taken away from them. But at the same time, more than a few Americans consider Johann Sebastian Bach to be the real inventor of the blues and Béla Bartók to be the real, original inspiration for the New Thing. Hosts of established jazz musicians even dream openly of a project with a symphonic orchestra. Bridges exist en masse, but only a few have the courage and the faith in their own skills to cross them.

This is why Walter Lang represents more than just the often-cited exception to a fatal rule.Born in 1961 in Schwäbisch Gmünd in southern Germany, the pianist studied at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston and at the Amsterdam School Of The Arts. He has played with jazz greats such as Lee Konitz, James Moody, Chico Freeman and Don Menza and was considered a Bebopper in its purest form for a long time. But – at the latest – the public began to listen with his very remarkable homage to the often unrecognized musical genius of Charlie Chaplin, in which he put aside the standard program and surprised everyone with something totally unusual, which was certainly different and risky but still somehow familiar. Does a European really exist who is able to expose all the clichés as lies?

“I had a sound in my head that was completely different from everything I had previously played and: I wanted to hear a straighter rhythm instead of the traditonal swing beat. ”Lang seems relaxed when he describes his intention, even though it means nothing less for him than the definition of a new beginning. We can call it his artistic coming of age, the liberation of an extremely talented jazz musician from the greenhouse of his genre. It was an unprecedented (for a European jazz musician) public admission that pop composers exist who are absolutely worth listening to such as Sting, Simply Red and The Beatles as well as astonishing magicians of classical notes such as Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Schumann in addition to the jazz of Ellington, Carmichel and Gershwin. And it would certainly be worth the trouble of getting them together for an imaginary session.

Walter Lang does this somehow and with the help from other protagonists of international standing. For example, Peter Tuscher is one of the pillars of his quintet, a refined trumpeter inundated in all qualities of sound. The others are Ekkehard Rössle, the versatile soprano and tenor saxophonist between restrained intensity and wasteful coolness, Karoline Höfler, the soulful, creative maker of deep tones on bass, and Rick Hollander, the nimble player who always anticipates the thoughts of his fellow musicians in advance with suggestive multi-rhythms on drums. A band from two large cities in southern Germany – Lang, Tuscher and Hollander are part of the jazz scene in Munich, and Rössle and Höfler are at home in the Stuttgart jazz world – recounts strange episodes from the planet music in the 21st century, where everything is changing and everything seems possible and even functions successfully with a line-up like this one.

Tales Of 2 Cities: They are personal stories from Munich and Stuttgart. But they are also conscious references of Lang to Gary Peacock ’s trio recording Tales Of Another or Charles Dickens ’novel A Tale Of Two Cities.They are the products of syntheses, fragments, impressions, feelings, quotes, alienation and borrowings and create a world of carefully layered gray and blue notes. Concentrated and free of any digressions, the band places its concept, worked out during a week long gig in the Cafe Central at the Plaza del Angel in Madrid,in the center of attention. In the opener Far Away Clouds , a typical collective number from the pen of the leader, wide-ranging arcs appear from nowhere and snuggle up closely to the imaginary space of inner peace. The same can be said of Hear, What I Mean, music in the form of a gigantic question mark. None of the five persists in the conventional theme-solo-theme-form, but instead each musician stands out more effectively as part of an artistically branching overall concept.

When Walter Lang heats up his tribute to the good old long-playing record, the shimmering hardbop and soul-jazz groove of the 60 s in Club Vinyl, he does it from the viewpoint of the dance-floor generation. Of course, he does it without trying to curry favor with the spirit of the times,but instead by simply employing the means of an acoustic combo. They understand excellently how to change small, almost everyday occurrences from the life of a musician into generally applicable stories, which remind us of great European writers such as Max Frisch, Antoine de Saint-Exupèry and Pavel Kohout despite their non-verbal components. They sketch a car race in A Day At The Races, a walk through Paris in Rue De Lafayette, and a club owner and artistic visionary named Mine (-“san ”means “Mr.”) in Minesan ’s Dream, who Lang met on a tour with Rick Hollander in Tottori on the main Japanese island Honshu and who told him about his dream of establishing a camp in which literature, music and the plastic arts are combined under one roof. Even the supposedly banal serenade for a friend on his 50 th birthday (Jubilation), in reality unplayable and continuously changing harmonies (Something Else), or the memory of a few laps in the fog-shrouded isolation of a heated outdoor pool somewhere in Poland ’s winter (Swimming In The Mist) become foreground and background stories full of spirit.

Walter Lang ’s compositions are looks back to the past and outlooks for the future, arrangements and improvisations,conscious and vague factors, floating and clear lines of European jazz and American chamber music of totally and completely musical cosmopolitans.



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