The Squid's Ear Magazine


Gratkowski, Frank / Simon Nabatov: Tender Mercies (Clean Feed)

Long-time collaborators, German reed & wind player Frank Gratkowski and pianist Simon Nabatov release their third collaboration as a duo, concentrating their playing from large bands including the Simon Nabatov Quartet to the essence of their personal and impressive dialog, here performing at the LOFT, in Cologne for the celebration of Nabatov's birthday.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Frank Gratkowski-alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet

Simon Nabatov-piano


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UPC: 5609063006186

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF618
Squidco Product Code: 32939

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at the LOFT, in Cologne, Germany, on January 11th 2022, by Christian Heck.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"German reed-player Frank Gratkowski and Russian-born pianist Simon Nabatov have been making music together in a wide variety of constellations and contexts for over 30 years. The fruitful collaboration began in Klaus König's large ensemble projects, found the two interpreting Nabatov's musical readings of Russian literature, or as members of numerous ad hoc settings. Playing in duo, however, always allowed them to get to the core of what is essential in improvised music - open dialogue, the joy of surprising oneself and each other, cohesive story-telling next to abstract entanglements. The duo documented their elegant yet powerful approach on two CD releases thus far.

Tender Mercies is their third and most mature and expressive musical outing to date.

There is a little "tradition" of sorts - Simon Nabatov often celebrates his birthday by playing a concert with a friend or two in Cologne's venerable venue LOFT. The following party with Russian food and drink is a part of it. But it wasn't the anticipation of the festivities that propelled Frank and Simon to the musical heights captured here, it was rather the joy of playing together again, after a longer pause, caused by the nasty Covid times...

The scope of the subjects, technics and emotions is truly impressive - from exquisite flute playing of the title piece to the glorious re-instatement of true Jazz spirit on "Safe Home", from delicate impressionistic smudges of "Surfaces" to brutal outbursts of "Disgruntled Settlement" - and everything in-between - the listener is treated to an absorbing and exciting experience."-Clean Feed Records


Artist Biographies

"Frank Gratkowski, saxophone. Born in Hamburg, 1963.

Started playing the saxophone at 16 and, following a period at the Hamburg Conservatory (Hamburger Musikhochschule), moved in 1985 to study at the Cologne Conservatory of Music with Heiner Wiberny, graduating in 1990.

Further studies with Charlie Mariano, Sal Nistico and Steve Lacy.

Frank Gratkowski has been working as a soloist in various international formations (Grubenklang Orchester, Klaus Koenig Orchester, Musikfabrik NRW, Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra, Bentje Braam, BikBentBraam, All Ears, Zeitkratzer, WDR Big band, etc.). Since 1990 he has been giving solo performances throughout Europe, Canada and USA. With his first solo program, he was a 1991 prizewinner in the Musik Kreativ contest. The release of the solo CD "Artikulationen" followed the same year and a new one "Artikulationen II" in 2002.

Since 1992 he has been working in a duo with the pianist Georg Graewe (CD "VicissEtudes"). The duo is often extended through the participation of different additional musicians, such as drummer Paul Lovens (CD "Quicksand") and bassist John Lindberg (CD "Arrears").

In 1995 he founded the "Frank Gratkowski Trio" with Dieter Manderscheid (Germany), bass, and Gerry Hemingway (USA), drums, (CDs "Gestalten" and "The Flume Factor" ). In 2000 the trio has been extended to a quartet by Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos (CDs "Kollaps", "Spectral Reflections", "Facio" and "Le Vent et la Gorge"). Since 2003 also appearing as a Double Quartet plus Tobias Delius, Herb Robertson, Wilbert DeJoode and Michael Vatcher. In 2005 he got the SWR Jazzprize.

In 1999 the duo with the Italian trombonist Sebastiano Tramontana has been formed and since 2001 Frank Gratkowski has been performing with a trio including Wilbert De Jode (NL) on bass and Achim Kaufmann (D) on piano (CDs "Kwast" and "Unearth"). Since 2006 he's working with the Trio Gratkowski / Brown / Winant (CDs "Wake" and "Vermilion Traces/Donaueschingen 2009"). He is also a co-leader / composer of the Multiple Joy[ce] Orchestra and got a commission to compose for the ensemble Apartment House by "November Music " (Den Bosch NL) and the "Huddersfield Comtemporary Music Fesitival" (England) in 2009. Further actual projects are Fo[u]r Alto, a saxophone ensemble dedicated to microtonal music and "Artikulationen E" a solo program for saxophone with 8 channel live electronic.

Frank Gratkowski played on nearly every German and on numerous international Jazz and contemporary music Festivals including Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Quebec, Les Mans, Muelhuus, Groeningen, Nickelsdorf, Barcelona, Lithuania, Warsaw, Zagreb, Prague, Bratislava, Sofia, Bucharest, Odessa and Roma, Huddersfield, London.

He has been teaching saxophone and ensembles at the Cologne, Berlin and Arnhem Conservatory of Music and is giving workshops all around the world.

Furthermore he has performed with Robert Dick, Phil Wachsmann, Radu Malfatti, Herb Robertson, Marcio Mattos, Eugenio Colombo, Peter Kowald, Ray Anderson, Michael Moore, Ken Vandermark, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, Louis Sclavis, John Betsch, Jane Ira Bloom, Connie and Hannes Bauer, Xu Fengxia, James Newton, Muhal Richard Abrams, John Lindberg, Michael Formaneck, Ernst Reijseger, Fred van Hove, Theo Jörgensmann, Phil Minton, Peter Brötzmann, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, Hamid Drake, Michiel Braam, Han Bennink, Mal Waldron, Misha Mengelberg a.m.o."

-Frank Gratkowski Website (http://gratkowski.com/biography/)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Simon Nabatov's musical education began at the age of 3, his father, himself a musician, being the first teacher. The Central School of Music and Moscow Conservatory were the next steps. After the whole family emigrated and settled in New York in 1979, Nabatov continued his studies at the Juilliard School Of Music. By that time his interest and involvement in jazz and improvised music grew strong enough to make them his main activity.

Since then he performed and recorded with many fine musicians such as Paul Motian, Tony Scott, Sonny Fortune, Kenny Wheeler, Alan Skidmore, Herb Robertson, Louis Sclavis, Charles McPhearson, Billy Hart, David Murray, Paul Horn, Ricki Ford, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Barry Guy, Gerry Hemingway, Jim Snidero, Herb Geller, Dave Pike, Attila Zoller, Matthias Schubert, Barry Altschul, Vladimir Tarasov, John Betsch, Ed Schuller, Arto Tuncboyaci, Adam Nussbaum, Paul Heller, Jay Clayton, Ron McClure, Mark Feldman, Drew Gress, Phil Minton, Michael Moore, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Wolter Wierbos, Paulo Alvares, Gareth Lubbe, Ben Davis and many others.

He enjoyed continuous work with Ray Anderson Quartet, Arthur Blythe Quartet, Perry Robinson Quartet, NDR Big Band (Hamburg,Germany), Steve Lacy - Simon Nabatov Duo, Nils Wogram Quartet, Nils Wogram - Simon Nabatov Duo, Matthias Schubert Quartet, Matthias Schubert - Simon Nabatov Duo and Klaus König Orchestra.

His own projects and activities included, since three decades, hundreds of solo recitals.In the early 90s Nabatov founded the trio with the bassist Mark Helias and the drummer Tom Rainey; the quartet "Nature Morte" with the British vocalist Phil Minton, multireed-player Frank Gratkowski and trombonist Nils Wogram (both from Germany); and the quintet including his trio plus the violinist Mark Feldman and the trumpet player Herb Robertson.In 2003 another trio was formed, with the cellist Ernst Reijseger and the drummers Michael Vatcher (and later Michael Sarin).

As co-leader Nabatov played and recorded in duos with Steve Lacy, with the German tenor sax player Matthias Schubert, American drummer Tom Rainey, Dutch drummer Han Bennink, German trombonist Nils Wogram, Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger and the Dutch pianist Misha Mengelberg, just to mention a few. His current duo partners are the South-African born viola player and vocalist Gareth Lubbe, the Turkish clarinetist Oguz Buyukberber and the Brazilian pianist Paulo Alvares.

In the 1999-2000 season a large-scale radio production project (co - sponsored by WDR and Bayer AG) saw him write and record over 6 hours of music for solo piano, duo (with the American reed player Michael Moore), his trio, the quartet "Nature Morte" and the quintet. Beginning of 2000 the Swiss label HatHut Records brought out the first recording - the trio release "Sneak Preview". The next three recordings, quartet "Nature Morte", quintet "The Master and Margarita" and solo "Perpetuum Immobile" have been released by Leo Records.

Two more CD´s - " Chat Room" ( duo with Han Bennink ) and "Autumn Music" ( trio with Ernst Reijseger and Michael Vatcher ) were brought out by this independent English label.The next project produced by WDR in 2004 was a 90 - minute piece " A Few Incidents" based on the texts of Russian writer Daniil Charms. The octet included Phil Minton, Frank Gratkowski, Nils Wogram, Ernst Reijseger, Cor Fuhler, Matt Penman, Michael Sarin and Simon Nabatov. Leo Records released the recording of this composition in 2005. Together with "Nature Morte" and "Master and Margarita" it completed the "Russian Trilogy", 3 musical projects based on the Russian literature.

In 2009 Nabatov, sponsored by the Cologne culture institutions, completed a 5-day project called "Roundup" (involving M.Schubert, N.Wogram, E.Reijseger and T.Rainey), resulting in 3 CD's released on Leo Records: quintet "Roundup", a trio with E.Reijseger and M.Schubert - "Square Down" and another one with N.Wogram and T.Rainey - "Nawora".

Starting around 2000, parallel to his jazz activities, Simon Nabatov developed a deep interest for the culture and music of Brazil. This led him to study the Portuguese language, travel number of times throughout the country and learn a great deal about a number of different musical genres.

Some of the more structured activities in that field were a CD release "Around Brazil" on the ACT label (2006), and the two-months long Goethe-Institut "Artist-in-Residence" in Porto Alegre, which allowed Nabatov to learn more about the regional "musica gaucha". Since 2007 he often performs his solo program based on Brazilian music.

In the recent years Nabatov also delved into the field of electronic music, learning MAX/MSP programming environment; in April 2013 he premiered his new solo program for piano and computer, developed together with the German composer and electronic music specialist hans w. koch. In December 2016 excerpts from this program made up a half of the program of his most recent CD "MONK 'N' MORE".

Another musical adventure of the recent years was Nabatov's solo program dedicated to the music of the great jazz composer and pianist Herbie Nichols. Leo Records released a highly acclaimed CD of that program, and the PanRec label brought out a DVD.2015 saw Nabatov realize a four-part project "...still crazy after all these years" (celebrating 25 years in Cologne), which resulted in forming 4 new trios: with two young Cologne musicians Stefan Schoenegg and Dominik Mahnig, with Andre de Cayres and Rodrigo Villalon (dedicated to Brazilian music), with two giants of improvised music Barry Guy and Gerry Hemingway, and a trio with two string players, Gareth Lubbe (viola) and Ben Davis (cello). The first documentation of the project - Simon Nabatov Trio "Picking Order" was released August 2016 on Leo Records. Other 3 releases are planned for 2017.

Simon Nabatov performed and recorded numerous pieces of chamber music, some of them written specially for him: "Piano Concerto "Baba" by the American pianist/composer Kenny Werner, "Sonata for violin and piano" by the Irish bassist/composer Ronan Guilfoyle,"Trumpet Sonata", "Cello Sonata", "Trio for flute,cello and piano" by the Swiss reed-player/composer Daniel Schnyder. He also performed and recorded some of the more known "crossover" works, such as "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin (NDR Symphony Orchestra Hannover,1998) or "Concerto for Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra" by Rolf Liebermann (NDR Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, Hamburg,1996).

Nabatov was among the winners of the 3rd "International Great Jazz Pianist Competition" in Jacksonville, USA (2nd prize) in 1985, and of the "Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition" in Paris, France (3rd prize) in 1989. In 1987 he was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Simon Nabatov made numerous radio productions for most of the major European broadcasting companies: WDR, NDR, HR, BR, SFR, Radio France, Radio Zürich, Radio Ireland etc.

He played on countless international jazz festivals including Paris, Antibes, Helsinki, Zagreb, Nevers, Berlin, Dublin, Cork, Vilshofen, Bergamo, Groeningen, Vilnus, Karlsbad, Genua, North Sea, Brugge, Voss, Bergen, Riga, Vilnius, Ulrichsberg a.m.o.

Simon Nabatov gave concerts and workshops in over 60 countries, he appears on ca. 70 recordings, and his own music and projects are documented on over 25 CD's and 3 DVD's (all DVD's on PanRec).

He has taught at the Folkwang Hochschule (Essen), Musichochschule Lucerne (Switzerland) and at the International Jazz and Rock Academy (Remscheid).2012 - 2014 he was the substitute professor of Jazz piano and Ensemble at the Conservatory of Hannover, Germany.

Since 1989 he resides predominantly in Cologne, Germany, but keeps an apartment and a part of his heart in New York."

-Simon Nabatov Website (http://www.nabatov.com/biography.htm)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Turn Of Events 11:36

2. Tender Mercies 6:46

3. Safe Home 10:13

4. Cagey 4:33

5. Layers Of Disguise 7:19

6. Surfaces 2:45

7. Disgruntled Settlement 6:47

Related Categories of Interest:


Clean Feed
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Woodwinds
Percussion & Drums
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
Duo Recordings
New in Improvised Music

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Clean Feed.


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