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Bebop Spoken There

Val Wilmer: "The festival [New York Musicians Festival], an impressive exercise in African-American self-reliance, had come about after the promoter George Wein had moved his annual Newport Jazz Festival to New York the previous year [1972], and paid scant attention to the avant garde." - (Wire June 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

R.I.P. George Gruntz.

One of the outstanding concerts of the 1983 North Sea Jazz Festival held in Den Haag was the session by the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band. It was a star studded line-up that included Tom Harrell, Palle Mikkelborg, Howard Johnson, Julian Priester, Bob Moses, Charlie Mariano (pictured soloing) and of course Gruntz leading from the piano. Oh yes, they also had a vocalist - Sheila Jordan. It was a memorable mix of many nationalities but the music spoke with one tongue - modern jazz.
Therefore it is with much sadness that I received the news that George Gruntz had died, age 80, on January 10.
Lance.
Obituary.
George Gruntz was born on the 24th june 1932 in Basel. He worked as pianist, organist, keyboardist, composer and as big band leader (George Gruntz Concert Big Band). He worked with many artists such as Phil Woods, Roland Kirk, Don Cherry, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin and Mel Lewis.
During the 60tis he toured in Europe and accompanied as pianist stars like Dexter Gordon, Roland Kirk, Donald Byrd, Lee Konitz, Chet Baker, Johnny Griffin, Gerry Mulligan and Art Farmer. In 1965 he joined Flavio Ambrosetti and led his own trios. He also produced two early ethno-jazz-albumss, once with drummers from Basel, but also with the music of Bedouines (Noon in Tunesia, 1967). He created on the cembalo also his own Baroque-version. In 1968 and 1968 he toured with phil Woods's Europeam Rhythm Machine. 
1971 he founded with Flavio and Franco Ambrosetti the Concert Jazz Band, where stars like Alan Skidmore, Sheila Jordan, Dave Bargeron, Dave Liebman, Lew Soloff or Ray Anderson performed his arrangements and which travelled all around the world (except for Australia). It was the only european big band, which ranked ten times in a row in the Downbeat-Poll.
Already in the 60tis he started a cooperation with known composers as Rolf Liebermann, Earle Brown and Hans Werner Henze. Gruntz composed several plays and oratorias. In 1973 the opera of Paris ordered from him a World Jazz Opera, which finally premiered at the LaMama-theater in New York. With the poet Allen Ginsberg he composed the jazz-opera "Cosmopolitan Greetings", directed by Robert Wilson (Hamburg, 1988). An other jazzopera was 2003 "The Magic of the Flute" (Libretto: Peter O. Chotjewitz). Gruntz also wrote several scores for movies.
George Gruntz often worked as guest-director with radio-big-bands (WDR, NDR) and symphonie-orchestras all over Europe. Between 1970 and 1984 he was musical director of the Schauspielhaus in Zürich. From 1972 to 1994 he was artistic director of the Jazzfestival Berlin.
Ralph Gluch.

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