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Ladies and gentleman, this is 2011, and this is the „Alpha-Room“: Nils Petter Molvaer came with a helicopter. He had a concert the night before at the Munch Museum. No long time for preparations. But Guy Sigsworth is well prepared. It starts with some classical motives, like a grown up’s memory of listenng to some Goldberg Variations on a strange children´s birthday party. It takes a while till Nils Petter seems to find a key for the music. We hear a sample of a Justin Bieber song. Is anyone in the mood for Saturday Night Fever? Punkt turning disco? After a while (and some rippy rappy pop moments), Guy´s creating breathing space for the trumpet. Melancolia and exuberance.


It is still 2011, you better believe it. For the first time at Punkt, there is a special room, with the flair of an old French cinema. You‘re  watching live-remixes on screen that are taking place simultaneously. It has a documentary feeling, old nouvelle vague like (the school of Jacques Rivette). Here I see,the final live-remix of the 7th Punktfestival. Marilyn Mazur working with a small drum kit, Nils Petter Molvaer playing Nils Petter Molvaer and, suggesting some distant breath of „Bitches Brew“. Jan Bang, Erik Honore, Eivind Aarset, the usual suspects. They will be the usual suspects ten years from now on. An old vanishing word came to my mind that only makes sense in a Thomas Pynchon  novel like  „Inherent Vice“ – or in very relaxed Punkt moment – the word is „groovy“. Blame this on the Beta Room, too, it has a 1968 vibe.


Nicht jeder von uns hat oder wird Covid 19 überleben. Die Immunsupprimierten, die Pechvögel, die vom Zufall und törichter Politik An- und Ausgezählten! Bei einer Leserschaft von einer Million quer durch vorübergehende Normalitäten und Virusvariantengebiete keine grosse Überraschung. Bis es wieder so weit ist mit Delta-Lockdowns und geschlossenen Jazzclubs (und angesichts dieser interessanten Gruppe nachhaltig bescheuerter Impfverweigerer abseits medizinischer Indikationen, die die Herdenimmunität unterminieren), bis die neue Regierung ausgetretene Pfade weiter durchtrampelt, weil die Mehrheit des Landes dringend nötigen Wandel verweigert, sich einen netten wie limitierten Onkel zum Kanzlerdarsteller kürt, bis dahin, und danach wieder, schöpfen wir das Glück weiter aus der einzig möglichen Quelle, jenem gefährdeten Ort der Innenwelt, gern „Seele“ genannt, oder „Netzwerk der Myriaden“. Mit unzähligen Optionen kämpft auch Nils Petter Molvaer auf seinem neuen Album „Stitches“, das Ende August erscheinen wird. Kann er noch überraschen (faszinieren) – das ist die Frage, die jedes seiner Alben nach dem grossen Wurf „Khmer“ aufwirft, der noch aus dem letzten Jahrhundert stammt. Ich habe „Stitches“ nunmehr einmal gehört – ein bewegtes Hin und Her zwischen Aufhorchen, Schmunzeln, Fesselung, Dejavu – und einem endlos melancholischem Grundton. Die in den weiten Raum gestellte Frage lasse ich besser unbeantwortet, weiteres Vordringen ist unerlässlich, und das Empfinden, dabei keinerlei Zeit zu verschwenden, immerhin ein gutes Zeichen! (Dieser Text enthält Satire, Humor, Zukunft, Wahrheit, kaum steile Thesen, eine Widmung, und ziemlich gute Musik. Dieser Text ist der Virologin Melanie Brinkmann gewidmet.)



Last swim before departure. A week full of radio work. Brutal ardour on Lanzarote. Good time for caves. This man with a history is still adventurous after all these years, and playing in Jameos del Agua adds to every possible magic spell. If you haven’t lost it, you’ll probably bring it all out here. Ten autumns ago, the trumpet player had visited the island for the first time, with his wife and his two children, and then „breathing in“ the archaic space with the ear of a musician, he dreamt of playing the volcanic power spot one day. That day was yesterday.

Molvaer’s big first statement was Khmer, an album that filled some of the space left by pioneering works of „Electric Miles“ and „Fourth World Hassell“. When I did my first interview with him (I only did two) – he was just about to release his third album after Khmer – I asked what he would do to keep his sound fresh. He said: „That’s a good question!“ Its certainly was (and a bit mean) – an artist who has discovered a certain formula, often tends to repeat it till nostalgia is creeping out of every note hanging in the air.

And, in fact, after his first two albums on ECM records, something seemed to be lost on the way, the auditoriums were sold out, the people got what they (a lot of them) wanted, the „Molvaer sound“, the „Molvaer grooves“ with all its shades of night and club and neon. Exhaustion easily comes with riding a first wave of success. It took a while for Nils Petter to reconsider, and then, someday (would be hard to nail it down), a good quantum of the old freshness came back with risky line-ups, with forgetting of being a virtuoso or being the man who knows all the tricks.

His last album, for example, Buyoancy, is a good example of keeping the spirits high – as is his quartet of yesterday’s evening. Geir Sundstol, Jo Berger Myhre (a broad spectrum of playing and treating guitars), and Erland Dahlen (percussion) were not just good company, they shaped and re-shaped everything from scratch, never played by the book. At least so it seemed. Stunning. At one point, near the end, I had the impression Geir Sundstol has been delivering his version of a Daniel Lanois-pedal steel guitar composition. Circles closing in so many ways, circles that never forget the to look for promising exit signs – caves always have some hidden ones.


Producing The Jazz Facts in the Deutschlandfunk was pure fun. A lot of nice coincidencies: two days ago, I realized that not only Ralph Towner’s TRAVEL GUIDE, but Carla Bley’s TRIOS, too, were recorded in that „radio theatre“  in Lugano. And after talking with Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel about his first recording with producer Manfred Eicher, I decided to need another voice sheding some light on the special room and the producer’s input. So, I got Bley’s long-time sax player Andy Sheppard on the phone, and what he told me, was the icing on the cake, a great finish for the show. 

Now this was only part of the fun. Some guys do great work, working as musician and tone engineers behind the controls to make radio sound magic. In this case bass player Markus Brown (his trio  is just featured  in a big Scandinavian jazz magazine) was the great man working the details: listen to  the show, and you will see that it was done, let me say it this way, with love and care. In between jazz matador Karsten Mützelfeld entered the studio and offered me 20 Euros, because he couldn’t help but strictly ignore the deadline of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. This guy has great humour 
The good vibes continued when we arrived at the headquarter of jazz affairs and small-taked with Harald Rehmann. It was a perfect radio day, and you really shouldn’t miss the show! There will be features on the Punkt Festival and a showcase in Trondheim.  Last, not least, there are great new records by Carla Bley, Ralph Towner, Jan Bang, Nils Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen. Arve will perform in Dortmund’s Domicil on October 12th! I’ll be there. And Harald will record Arve at the Unterfahrt in München. 

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