I'm back in 2013 with another post about one of my favorite contemporary European jazz pianists (which automatically means endorsing the great trio he is leading), Ekkehard Wölk whose classical background, his deep admiration for silent cinema and his rich musical language proves that how cultural diversity can give new, unexpected and utterly exciting faces to good old jazz.
In April 2011, The Ekkehard Wölk Trio performed a concert for 5000 Indian jazz fans in New Delhi. The occasion was used as a platform to introduce newly composed/arranged songs of The Berlin Album which I reviewed here. Thanks to Ekkehard, and the Seher Jazz Festival, you can watch the concert from that hot April evening on my blog.
I asked Ekkehard to share his impressions of India with me and he responded enthusiastically:
In early 2011 my piano trio with my year-long musical associates Johannes Fink, bass, and Andrea Marcelli, drums, released its' recent CD called The Berlin Album (Jazzwerkstatt Records, Berlin) which features a number of eclectic jazz arrangements of themes by Berlin-related composers like Felix Mendelssohn, Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler, as well as some original compositions of mine.
In a place near Kurfürstendamm we did our album launch concert which was received very favorably by the present listeners, and in the audience there happened to be some friendly and interested people who work in the cultural department of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
They told me about a concrete possibility for our trio to perform in India during an occasion in the light of the official year of Indian-German friendship. So, while being happy about the information I had received, I took initiative and contacted the Goethe Institute in New Delhi. Quite surprisingly (because another German ensemble had cancelled the opportunity) we were suddenly being invited and financially supported to play on the Seher Jazz Festival in April 2011, supported by the ICCR (Indian Council Of Cultural Relations) for a concert live audience of more than 5000 people on the open air stage in the beautiful Nehru Park on the 10th of April 2011.
It turned out to be an unforgettable and moving experience for us to come to the Indian capital and perform for an extremely enthusiastic audience in a mesmerizing warm early evening setting!
For me, it was the first time ever in India (and Asia in general), to a country which always has held a special fascination of sometimes even a disturbing quality for European visitors through all the past ages (I may only indicate E. M. Forster's famous novel A Passage To India and the film based upon the book by David Lean).
There is also the great and incomparably rich tradition of Indian classical music itself, for example for sitar, tablas and bansuri flute, which is completely genuine.
After the concert I took the chance to stay myself one week longer in Delhi to explore the incredible vitality of this place, the amazing religious and social diverseness of India, andalso visit a lot of the magnificent temples and other places like the Gandhi House which left an unforgettable impression on me.Enjoy the concert!
After the concert and during a session for selling CDs of The Berlin Album to those interested in further exploration of our music, I had a chance to meet some wholeheartedly warm and friendly people, discussing with us music and a lot more through the night.
The tracks I have included in this selection are the following:
A WALK IN THE TIERGARTEN: one of my own original compositions depicting the central of Berlin; very enchanting to play exactly this piece in the wonderful atmosphere of the Nehru Park in New Delhi, indeed!
SEHNSUCHT NACH DEM FRÜHLING/DESIRE FOR SPRING: an arrangement of a classical Mozart children's song.
MARCIA FUNEBRE: an arrangement of an excerpt from Felix Mendelsohn's famous A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
MASTER GEPETTO'S NIGHTMARE: an original composition of mine inspired by Carlo Collodi's world-famous children book THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO.
WENN WIR IN HOECHSTEN NOETHEN SEYN: an energetic arrangement of a protestant church choral also adapted by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Alternatively, you can watch it on YouTube and in glorious black and white (with a mellow sepia tone)!
You might also want to catch up with an interview Wölk gave about composing and accompanying silent films, available on Silent Era website.