|FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music||1992-2004|
Here are two musicians who complement each other perfectly, because both are at home in the border and transition areas between pre-set genres and who, during their exchanges, hit upon musical material of a highly explosive nature. Being equally at home in the fields of composition and improvisation, they know how to interweave both fixed elements and those invented during the actual process of playing in such a way that everything comes together and takes shape in the flow of transition. At the same time, the tendencies towards consolidation are counteracted, the music is opened up within the framework of the chosen models of communication and is freed from the ties to the pre-established and shifted into the free area of improvising.
Their musical language reveals that Friedemann Graef and Achim Goettert
have a connection to Jazz, or at least come from the Jazz tradition, without
allowing themselves to be limited to its well-known idioms. For this reason
precisely, they manage to discover new areas of sound, to surprise themselves
as well as the listeners. What is reflected in the biographies of the
two musicians is demonstrated also in the duo’s ‘sound’
tracings: preoccupation with New Music and European tradition, with ethnic
traditions and contemporary sounds within the broad spectrum, from Jazz
to Contemporary Music. Friedemann Graef and Achim Goettert transmute all
these experiences into a lively, often boisterous music making process.
In front of a background of Jazz, extensions of sound develop while, at
the same time – seen from the angle of New Music -, advanced material
is freed from the strict terms of order laid down by the composition and
put in a non-dogmatic, ‘playful’ context.
The two musicians artfully employ the numerous possibilities of the dialogue: question and answer, two-voice playing, unison, freely unfolding lines with simultaneous ostinati, canon techniques, minimalist intertwining, simulation of bass and drum functions, sporadic, regular or syncopated, swing or pulse generating accents with accompanying melody lines. A whole catalogue opens up, moving through all the keys in Achim Goettert's "Zengö 19 Suite". Unmistakably inspired by Afro-american sources, a European mentality is also reflected in this suite at the same time. It may not be accidental that the „Zengö 19 Suite“ by Achim Goettert was conceived during a visit to Pecsvarad in Hungary. The Blues combined with Bartók (not with his musical language, but with his attitude towards using and adapting ethnic material), experiences in the area of Jazz connect up with the knowledge of Contemporary Music, the „well-tempered blues saxophone“ ties up with the „microcosm of improvisation“. The collaboration between Achim Goettert and Friedemann Graef started a year after the creation of „Zengö 19 Suite“, in the middle of 1992. Both could also be heard in extended line-ups, for example with organ player Helmut Walz, trombone player Johannes Bauer and percussion player Günter Sommer, but have developed a continuous and particularly close and co-operative relationship within the saxophone duo. Listening to the titles of Friedemann Graef’s „Sweet Soil Suite“ I feel I am able to detect equally a feeling of Jazz, an experience in improvisation and a closeness to New Music as well as to European Classical Music and to Ancient Music. One of the strong points of the duo is to be able to transpose all this into an organic context and to admit in a playful kind of way to a virtue which has become rare in Contemporary Music: the creation of melody. Added to this that special physical energy of movement coming from Jazz, which remains distinct even when it can hardly be defined anymore. In other words: this saxophone duo swings without that usual finger-snapping servility. And sometimes the two sound like one single instrument, occasionally like a whole orchestra. At the same time they are - focused or multi-dimensional – both singly and collectively: composers, improvisers, interpreters, sound creators.
Friedemann Graef, born 1949, lives in Berlin and has been working as
a professional saxophonist in the field of Improvised Music since 1975.
He has played with, amongst others, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Peter
Kowald, Joe Viera, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, John Tchicai, Karl Berger,
Abdullah Ibrahim, Paolo Mura, Trilok Gurtu, Reinhard Flatischler, Pierre
Dørge, Harry Beckett, Albrecht Riermeier, Ray Anderson, Nippy Noya
and Heiner Goebbels. Aside from his involvement in an ensemble of Ancient
Music, as soloist in renowned orchestras and in the Berlin Saxophone Quartet
of which he has been a member since 1983, Friedemann Graef, who has won
a number of prizes as composer and interpreter, has also risen to prominence
in the area of New Music. He has produced works for choir and orchestra,
compositions for radio plays and ballet productions, organ and chamber