CD / VINYLE collector/ DOWNLOAD
recorded at Studio LA BUISSONNE (november 2016 by Gérard de Haro)
Cover Emmanuel GUIBERT
Production Label Vision Fugitive
Distribution Autre distribution
Stephan Oliva/Susanne Abbuehl/Øyvind Hegg-Lunde
As jazz invigorated the twentieth century with its irresistible energy, it experienced more transformations in a handful of decades than any other artform in history. Charged with the change, rebellion, controversy and conflict embodied by such eminent figures as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, the jazz age also endured a number of ‘velvet revolutions’ exemplified by lesser known but no less memorable characters. Alongside the most notorious and vocal arbiters of change who broke with convention, a community of silent rebels, like Hermann Melville’s Bartleby, still found a dissenting voice and made it clear they “would prefer not to." Echoing Lennie Tristano before him, Jimmy Giuffre was just such a shadow man. With no use for opposing viewpoints, he utterly transformed the nature of improvisational music from top to bottom. And the devil is in the details. By eliminating percussion from his pivotal trio, clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre paved the way for original jazz compositions that revitalized Baroque contrapuntal intricacies through some strange twist of fate. Melody dominates harmony in an auditory adventure where each musician has an equal voice in creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Foregoing the double bass, Stephan Oliva, Susanne Abbuehl and Øyvind Hegg-Lunde – one of the most sought-after percussionists on the burgeoning Norwegian jazz scene – pay indisputable tribute to Jimmy Giuffre. Mirroring his choice to minimize the instruments most commonly associated with small jazz combos, they achieve balanced symmetry between rhythm and harmony, demonstrating a willing step outside their comfort zones to stretch the realm of possibility. This kind of risk should be no surprise to Susanne Abbuehl, whose prior CDs bridge the modern poetry of E.E. Cummings and Emily Dickinson with vocal improvisations based on breath control. In the tradition of Norma Winstone or spellbinding Patty Waters, she is a jazz ‘storyteller’ and heir apparent to her forerunner, Jeanne Lee whose remarkable The Newest Sound Around album with Ran Blake represented yet another ‘velvet revolution.’ And it was Susanne Abbuehl’s distinct honor and privilege to have studied under her tutelage.
This modern tradition that explores the instrumental flexibility of the voice and expressiveness of silence couldn’t have found a more suitable partner than Stephan Oliva, a pianist whose impressive discography is testament to his affinity for such alchemists of sound as Bernard Hermann, Giacinto Scelsi and Lennie Tristano. Not to mention other smooth goldsmiths of silence like Don Cherry or Keith Jarrett, whose stylings he reflects, allowing them to shine on their own or polishing them to a high gloss finish in three original compositions. Alchemy is all about attaining perfection through transmutation and sublimation. And such ancient esoteric practices have found an unexpected legacy in contemporary music. Putting the emphasis on the subtlest aspects of performance, this CD aspires to the same ambition. Reduce the amount of raw material in order to expose its very essence and streamline the instrumentation to stretch the realm of possibility. And, if any doubts still persist that the world began with the life-giving breath of the creator, this trio of three voices, balancing solid percussion with light and airy vocals, may just be all the indisputable evidence to convince you otherwise.•
1 – The Listening 5’37 (Jimmy Giuffre/Susanne Abbuehl)
2 – River Chant / Tree People 6’33 (J Giuffre/Susanne Abbuehl) / (Jimmy Giuffre/ Jimmy Giuffre)
3 - Princess 6’56 (Jimmy Giuffre/Susanne Abbuehl)
4 – Trance 2’24 (Jimmy Giuffre)
5 – On Your Skin 3’33 (Stephan Oliva/Susanne Abbuehl)
6 – Desireless / Mopti 5’20 (Don Cherry)
7 – Mosquito Dance 3’24 (Jimmy Giuffre)
8 – Winter Day 5’10 (Stephan Oliva/Susanne Abbuehl)
9 – Great Bird 5’07 (Keith Jarrett/Susanne Abbuehl)
10 – Jimmy 1’47 (Stephan Oliva)
11 – What A WOnderful World 4’05 (Bob Thiele - George David Weiss)
Swiss/Dutch singer and composer Susanne Abbuehl was born in Bern, Switzerland, on July 30, 1970. Drawn to music and language early on, composing songs and writing words in her own language, she started studying the harpsichord as a child. At age seventeen, she moved to Los Angeles where she graduated from high school and started taking lessons in classical singing. She was a member of a high school jazz group that toured the U.S. and Canada. Back in Europe, she took up professional education in jazz and classical voice at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where she studied with Rachel Gould and the late Jeanne Lee. She earned a Masters of Arts degree in Performance and Music Pedagogy, graduating cum laude.
Abbuehl also studied North Indian classical vocal music with Dr. Indurama Srivastava in Amsterdam and later became a student of famed master singer Dr. Prabha Atre in Bombay, to whom she regularly returns.
She studied composition and analysis with Dutch composer Diderik Wagenaar.
Her recordings for ECM, „April“ (2001), and “Compass” (2006) received wide critical acclaim internationally. „April“ won an EDISON Music Award (Dutch Grammy) in 2002.
2013 brought the release of „The Gift“, her third recording for ECM. It features compositions by Susanne Abbuehl for poems by Sara Teasdale, Emily Brontë and Emily Dickinson. Produced by Manfred Eicher, the line-up includes Dutch pianist Wolfert Brederode, Swiss flugelhornist Matthieu Michel and Finnish drummer Olavi Louhivuori.
With her own group, Susanne Abbuehl has toured extensively and was invited to perform at major festivals in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.
She performed and recorded with musicians from various musical backgrounds, including the Jeanne Lee Music & Dance Ensemble, Christof May, Stephan Oliva, Michel Portal and Paolo Pandolfo.
Susanne Abbuehl has been commissioned to compose for various settings, including work for radio, theatre, and sound environments.
Her composition “Der Gaukler Tag”, a radio play produced for Swiss National Radio SRF with Claude Salmony, performed by her students in Lucerne, and featuring her colleague Lauren Newton as well as actress Marie Jung as speakers, was nominated for the 2013 Prix Marulić.
In 2016, Susanne Abbuehl was one of the recipients of the Swiss Music Prize. In 2017, Princess, the release by Stephan Oliva, Susanne Abbuehl and Oyvind Hegg-Lunde for the French label Vision Fugitive, won the Grand Prix du Disque Jazz Académie Charles Cros. And in January 2018, Susanne Abbuehl won the European Musician 2017 award from the French Académie du Jazz.
Susanne Abbuehl is Professor at the music universities in Lucerne and Lausanne, Switzerland. She has also lectured in France, Italy, England and Holland.
De la voie de Bill Evans (dont un concert entendu en public l’amena au jazz) aux voix de Susanne Abbuehl, de Linda Sharrock ou d’Hanna Schygulla (qu’il accompagne), de l’ascèse (Lennie Tristano, revisité avec son compère François Raulin) au trapèze (son duo avec la « danseuse aérienne » Mélissa Von Vépy), de Paul Motian (qu’il révère et invita) aux musiques de films (qu’il compose), Stéphan Oliva est décidément un pianiste et un musicien atypique et pluriel.
Apparu sur la scène du jazz au début des années 90, après de solides études classiques, Stépan Oliva s’intègre d’emblée à un groupe informel d’instrumentistes de sa génération (Claude Tchamitchian, Jean-Pierre Jullian, Bruno Chevillon, François Merville…) qu’animent les mêmes aspirations esthétiques.
Ils deviendront vite les espoirs du jazz hexagonal et restent aujourd’hui des références au niveau européen.
Mais Stéphan Oliva n’est pas un musicien de clan ni de caste: il suit une voie singulière, marquée par ses fidélités, ses émois et ses rencontres. Evans, Tristano, Windsor McCay, Paul Auster, Brahms, Berg, Bernard Hermann, Giacinto Scelsi, G.W. Pabst… constituent pour lui un panthéon vivace, source d’inspiration plutôt qu’objet de dévotion compassée.
Quant à son jeu de piano subtil et raffiné, il trouve avec tous ses partenaires le contrepoint poétique qui le complète et qu’il accompagne. Les « Visions fugitives » qu’il propose avec le clarinettiste J.M. Foltz, son complice de longue date, sonnent dans ce contexte avec l’évidence d’un enchantement renouvelé.
disc / booklet