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Coming Up – Bruno Heinen sextet, The Cube, Sat April 6

April 3, 2013

The Cube doesn’t do jazzy things that often, but they are invariably intriguing ones when they do. I’ve not come across Bruno Heinen before, but he’s bringing a quality band. The press material says this –

Pianist and arranger, Bruno Heinen was knee-deep in Stockhausen from an early age. The luminous presence of wind-up music boxes from his childhood are at the heart of his exquisite arrangements of Tierkreis.  

Both Bruno’s parents – cellist Ulrich Heinen and violinist Jacqueline Ross – had worked with the composer & electronic music innovator Karlheinz Stockhausen in the 70’s in Germany when he composed Tierkreis (1974-5) for 12 music boxes Bruno’s father had acquired 4 of the music boxes, and Bruno’s fascination with the piece began in the family home.   A 5th was recently presented to Bruno for his birthday in late December – appropriately the Aquarius box – and he returned to the studio in January this year to lay it into this recording.

Tierkreis (meaning “the signs of the Zodiac”) has 12 melodies based on tone rows, one for each star sign.  Heinen has adhered to Stockhausen’s brief instructions for the popular work, allowing for any combination of instruments, but that the performance should begin with the melody falling under the star sign of the selected date, and end with a repeat of the opening melody.  Heinen’s recording in April, begins and ends with Aires, and on which the music box has a particularly vivid presence.

Heinen brings his classical training and jazz sensibility, with traces of funk, west coast flavour and Blue Note inflexions, to his substantial reworking of the composer’s ideas. Certain movements include improvising with the melodies and music boxes, while others involve re-harmonising.  His sextet of distinctive players bring their diverse experience to their readings and improvisations.

Stockhausen was a great believer in improvisation, and his influence rubbed off on a wide array of jazz musicians during his lifetime and since, including Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor and Herbie Hancock.

It’s five years since Heinen first arranged Tierkreis  for a jazz sextet, but in 2010 he also arranged the work rather differently for cello, double bass and piano for a performance that also included his father Ulrich Heinen, the long time principal cellist of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Tierkreis recorded with Markus Stockhausen’s blessing, in April 2012 at Eastcote Studios, was produced by Philip Bagenal and Bruno Heinen. Another gem in Babel label’s commitment to experiment and excellence, the album is dedicated to Heinen’s former teacher, the pianist and composer, Pete Saberton, who died in 2012.

And here’s the band, starting with him again –

A former classical piano student at the Royal College of Music, Bruno Heinen continued his studies with a Masters in jazz performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, taught there by John Taylor, and where he now teaches Jazz Harmony to Guildhall’s classical students. He has collaborated with many leading lights of the UK scene extensively since, including Julian Siegel, who guested on Heinen’s Dialogues Trio release Twinkle Twinkle released by Babel in 2012.  Bruno leads both his trio and the sextet, and performs with Palestinian Singer Reem Kelani.  As a composer, Bruno has written for groups ranging from sextet to two pianos and percussion, and from big band to classical string trio. He also leads the King Alfred School big band, and recently led them to win the Music For Youth Competition with his arrangements.

London-based Italian trumpeter Fulvio Sigurtà jazz training has included study at Berklee in Boston, and a Masters at the Guildhall School of Music in London. With the Guildhall Big Band he appeared on Pure and Simple, an album that featured John Taylor.

Tenor saxophonist Tom Challenger is best known for his electronica-leaning post-jazz band Ma, and Dice Factory, who debuted in 2012. Challenger became involved in improvisation while still at school, and later gained a first class honours degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Bass clarinettist James Allsopp won a BBC Jazz Award for innovation in 2008, recognition in part for his groundbreaking band Fraud. More recently he has led his band The Golden Age of Steam, whose debut Raspberry Tongue was released by Babel in 2010, followed by Welcome to Bat Country” on Basho.

Andrea Di Biase studied double bass at the Milan Conservatoire, and continued with postgraduate studies in jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He leads the Oltremare quartet releasing debut album Uncommon Nonsense in 2011 on Babel, and is a member of the Dialogues trio.

Drummer Jon Scott is also a member of Dice Factory, the Oltremare quartet and Dialogues trio, and is best known for his work with the MOBO-winning Kairos 4tet.

Can’t go, as I’ll be in London, but wish I could…

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