The Boundaries of Jazz

Every Sunday in October 


In October it’s all about pushing boundaries at! Countless jazz musicians have charted unfamiliar musical territory and broadened the genre’s musical horizon, whereas others have made it a point to present jazz history as accurately as possible. Each Sunday at 21:00, puts one of the following artists in the spotlights: Wynton Marsalis, Rashaan Roland Kirk, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Miles Davis.

On Sunday, October 2, opens ‘The Boundaries of Jazz’ with the Wynton Marsalis Septet. Immediately after he took the jazz world by force in the eighties, Marsalis made an enormous impact. His trumpet style is next in line to that of Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. Marsalis, an indefatigable promotor and guardian of the jazz genre, was hailed by CBS journalist Ed Bradley as follows: “Not long ago, people were saying jazz was dead and nobody wanted to hear it anymore, but then Marsalis and his trumpet came along and breathed new life into the music.” In the eigthies, Marsalis willingly took on the critics who felt that jazz was dead.Marsalis argued that jazz as an art form can never die as long as records exists and are being played, he encouraged young musicians to play and practice jazz music again.

On October 16, presents an artist who broke through the boundaries of the genre in the late 1950s and 1960s: John Coltrane. With his ground-breaking improvisation style, the saxophonist expanded the jazz vocabulary: Coltrane pushed the boundaries of the bebop genre as far as they could possibly reach. Coltrane discovered the possibilities of the use of overtones that enabled him to produce multiple notes at a time. His improvisations are so complicated that they were written down and are today used as technical exercises for music students. Miles Davis had the following words to say about Coltrane’s playing style: "He could play real fast and real loud at the same time and that's very difficult to do, it was like he was possessed when he put that horn in his mouth. He was so passionate- fierce – and yet so quiet and gentle when he wasn't playing."

On October 23, broadcasts a performance by Ornette Coleman. Coleman relied on the power of emotion and harmonics rather than the already existing structures and conventions of the bebop genre. His early experiments on the Atlantic Record Label resulted in a ground-breaking album called ‘Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation’. Its title established the name of the free jazz movement: a style that focused on improvised dialogues between the members of the jazz ensemble. The album features a double quartet, one in each stereo channel; the rhythm sections play simultaneously, and though there is a succession of solos as is usual in jazz, it offers freeform commentaries by the other instruments that often turn into full-scale collective improvisation. It was the first album-length improvisation: an at the time unheard-of forty minutes!

‘The Boundaries of Jazz’ closes on October 30 with Miles Davis, perhaps one of the greatest jazz legends of all time. Miles’ 1959 album ‘Kind of Blue’ can also be called ground-breaking, as his enormous creativity reached its top height. With the release of the ‘Kind of Blue’ album, Davis established a new concept called ‘modal jazz’, based on musical modes rather than chord progressions as a harmonic framework.

Sunday, October 2 at 21:00 CEST: Wynton Marsalis Septet 'In This House, on This Morning'

The final concert of the Münchner Klaviersommer 1992 was by Wynton Marsalis and his septet. The 31-years-young star trumpeter performed one of his own jazz suites to the sold-out Philharmonie, under the title of ‘In This House, On This Morning’. The concert covers every jazz style, in composition and improvisation, and in both small and grand forms. Marsalis’s Septet was made up of Wess Anderson (alto saxophone), Wycliffe Gordon (trombone), Reginald Veal (bass), Herlin Riley (drums), Todd Williams (tenor saxophone), and Eric Reed (piano).

Sunday, October 9 at 21:00 CEST: Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Live '63 &'67

‘Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Live in '63 & '67’ presents three astounding concerts by this musical superhero playing his entire instrumental arsenal of saxophone, flute, manzello, stritch, clarinet, siren and whistles— oftentimes simultaneously! Kirk is backed by extraordinary side musicians including legendary bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, drummers Alex Riel and Daniel Humair, and long-time pianist Ron Burton who keep the fire and swing burning throughout Rahsaan’s blazing workouts. This collection also includes two different renditions of ‘Three For The Festival,’ arguably Kirk’s most spectacular performance piece, showcasing Rahsaan as a thunderous acrobatic player whose multiple horn work was all jazz and no gimmick.

Sunday, October 16 at 21:00 CEST: John Coltrane: Live in '60 & ‘61

John Coltrane: Live in '60 & ‘61 provides an epic overview of a true giant of 20th-century music. Three separate shows reveal Coltrane's ascending creative arc from hard bop innovator as a member of the Miles Davis Quartet in 1960 to consummate bandleader in 1961. This recording not only features Trane's classic quartet with Elvin Jones (drums), Jimmy Garrison (bass) and McCoy Tyner (piano), but also spotlights him onstage with other jazz legends including Stan Getz, Eric Dolphy and Oscar Peterson. Includes mind-blowing versions of his signature tunes ‘My Favorite Things’ and ‘Impressions’.

Sunday, October 23 at 21:00 CEST: Ornette Coleman Sextet

‘Harmolodics’, the musical philosophy of jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman, is associated primarily with avant-garde jazz and the free jazz movement, although its implications extend beyond these limits. Coleman defined ‘harmolodics’ as “the use of the physical and the mental of one's own logic made into an expression of sound to bring about the musical sensation of unison executed by a single person or with a group”. Applied to the particulars of music, this means that harmony, melody, speed, rhythm, time and phrases all have equal position in the results that come from the placing and spacing of ideas - as evidenced in this broadcast of a performance by the Ornette Coleman Sextet.

Sunday, October 30 at 21:00 CEST: Miles Davis live in Munich

Miles Davis died in September 1991. His work as a trumpeter, bandleader and composer is a crucial part of twentieth century music, and he was a dominant force in the world of jazz. In 1988, at the Münchner Klaviersommer, Miles Davis and his group – Kenny Garrett (saxophone), Bobby Irving and Adam Holzman (keyboards), Joe McCreary (guitar), Benjamin Rietveld (bass), Marilyn Mazur (percussion) and Ricky Wellman (drums) – gave a memorable concert performance.