Phonographic Knowledge and the African Past

Radio broadcast for Deutschlandfunk about the Andrew W. Mellon Workshop, chaired by Ronald Radano, that took place from June 3 – 7 at the American Academy Berlin. Containing recordings of the Lautarchiv Berlin, of Pierre Schaeffer’s recordings from the 1950s in Mali that he later released on the French label Ocora, of the music theater The Head & the Load by William Kentridge (music by Thutuka Sibisi and Philip Miller), and quotes by Ronald Radano and Thuthuka Sibisi.

To create a context for a living organism: Tyshawn Sorey

Tyshawn Sorey (*1980) is a composer, performer, educator, scholar, percussionist, trombonist, and pianist from Newark/USA. He currently lives and works in New York. He completed his doctoral studies at Columbia University this year and has taken up a professorship at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in September, a position once held by his mentor, the composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton.
Sorey is a 2017 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship for “assimilating and transforming ideas from a broad spectrum of musical idioms and defying distinctions between genres, composition, and improvisation in a singular expression of contemporary music.” He has been Artist in Residence at this year’s Jazzfest Berlin. In the interview he talks about and being limited to a jazz drummer, his experiences in marching bands and the benefits of cookware.

Photos: Camille Blake

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Marte Röling on her record covers

Marte Röling (*1939) is a painter and sculptor from The Netherlands. She learned to draw from her father Gé Röling, who was also her teacher at the Rijksakademie (The Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam). From her mother, the painter Martine Antonie (Grolle), she learned in essence to look through things to the very core of the visible world.
Röling experienced success from a very young age. She was renowned for her fashion drawings for newspaper Het Parool, which have reached a number of over 1000 in 12 years. In the 1960s, Alan Bates, then representing the Dutch Label Fontana Records, commissioned Röling to design a series of album covers for avant-garde jazz releases.
In the interview, Marte Röling talks about her inspirations, a yellow ear and her surprise about her covers being exhibited in record stores.

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Johannes Ballestrem on his stay in New Orleans

Johannes von Ballestrem is a pianist and and currently on high demand in the jazz scene out and about in Berlin. He received funding from Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe to study piano styles in New Orleans, Louisiana last fall. Being there, he talked about his experience in the city, the musicians that he met, and how the music he studied will influence his future musical endeavors.

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Julie Sassoon on Julius Eastman

Julie Sassoon is a pianist working in the field of jazz and improvised music. For the opening of the Maerz Musik Festival in Berlin, she played three works of Julius Eastman (1940 –1990), of which two were German premieres. Sassoon’s piano colleagues for the concert were Christoph Grund, Ernst Surberg and Małgorzata Walentynowicz.

In the interview Sassoon explains why playing Eastman feels like running a marathon, she talks about warm and cold minimal music and denominates why she always had a strong connection with black culture.

Photo: David Beecroft

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International Women’s Day: Today’s female jazz and improv musicians

So you can’t name a handful female bass players from Germany – are you kidding? Or you can’t name female piano players from over 15 different countries – seriously?
Here’s a list of over 500 women in jazz and improvised music who are performing currently.
In 2015 I published a list with over 200 albums by women in jazz. This was a reaction to a radio broadcast that alleged that their music selection was solely based on artistic quality, distinction and how up to date the bands are.

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