31st Vilnius Jazz Festival. 11-14 October, 2018
Harri Sjöström / Bernhard Arndt Vilnius Jazz'2004

Harri Sjöström / Bernhard Arndt (Finland / Germany):

Harri Sjöström - soprano saxophone
Bernhard Arndt - piano

Harri Sjöström - soprano saxophone

Born Febr. 29.1952 in Turku, Finland Played piano and guitar in his childhood. Studied music with Harry Mann, (saxophone, flute, piano), later saxcphone with Leo Wright and Steve Lacy as well as photography and film at the Lone Mountain College and San Francisco Art Institute from 1974 - 1978. Also attended the special class for improvisation at the L.M.C. led by trombonist Johannes Mager. This joyful, creative and intensive experience with improvisation (musical and theatrical) captivated him so much that since then he has nearly always worked with improvised music and in numerous mixed media projects including film, photography, visual arts and dance. Has also participated in workshops held by John Cage, Georg Russell, Steve Lacy and Bill Dixon among others.

After leaving the U.S. moved to Vienna (Austria) which became his doorway to the European improvised music scene. Formed his first improvising groups and organised numerous projects in Finland and elsewhere. Brought many of the most notable innovators on the international improvisation scene to Finland. One of his early projects included a tour with Derek Bailey's Company which was their first in Finland. Moved to Berlin in 1985.

Founded the international Quintet Moderne and co-founded the The Player Is trio with Teppo Hauta-aho and Philipp Wachsmann. There's also the Bernhard Arndt / Harri Sjöström duo, which goes back to 1986. His new group is called Three Meter Dog with, among others, drummer and percussionist Tony Buck, pianist Bernhard Arndt, guitarist Kalle Kalima and double bass player Joe Williamson in various combinations and with occasional guest players.

Met Cecil Taylor in Berlin in 1990, and has been involved in a large number of projects with the legendary pianist and composer. Most notable of these were the Cecil Taylor Quintet, also featuring P.Lovens, T. Hauta-aho, and T. Honsinger, and the Cecil Taylor Quartet - QUA (Cadence Records) with Dominic Duval and Jackson Krall, as well as various large ensembles. Some are documented on FMP-Records.(Free Music Production) Has collaborated with a large number of the notable leading improvisors in the international scene since the late 70s and performed at numerous international jazz and contemporary music festivals. Occasionally performs solo. Harri Sjöstrom has been a saxophone teacher since 1980 and is a vital member of the European improvised music scene.

Bernhard Arndt - piano

Bernhard Arndt's piano improvisations combine conventional keyboard playing, prepared piano, interior play and live electronics in unusual, even stunning, ways. The background to his work is defenitliy not "Jazz", though Cecils Taylor's name might occur to you and he's mentioned as an associate in the liner essay.

Arndt's work grows out of the century's piano and/or keyboard exploration, and it includes elements of Henry Cowells's early work using piano strings, the glass on string glissandi of Harry Partch, John Cage's keyboard work from the early sonatas for prepared piano to the electric harpsichords of HPSCHD, Karlheinz Stockhausen's electronic manipulation of pianos in Mantra, and Terry Riley's use of tape delay in his electronic organ improvisations. Arndt has managed to pull all those techniques into the act of performance. The most recent improvised work that it's at all reminiscent of, and then primarily on the scale of surprise, is Marilyn Crispell and Georg Graewe's duets for detuned pianos.

Arndt is both an engineer of remarkable sonic shifts and an architect of well developed pieces, but more than that, he's something of a magician. These pieces often seamlessly combine the capacity of the piano strings for altered timbres and changing pitch with a variety of electronic techniques for repetition, magnification and change. The results can be as beautiful as they are mysterious, a sound world that exists between the instrument's interior and exterior and the accoustic and the electronic. Frog's , with its swamp choir and submerged conversation added, Praep-Delay1, with its overlaid oscillating chords, and Metropolis, with its foreboding, are outstanding, but there is interest and surprise on every track. Highly recommended. Stuart Broomer , Cadence magazine (USA)

© Jûratë Kuèinskaitë


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