Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ARCADO + KÖLNER RUNDFUNK ORCHESTER – For Three Strings And Orchestra (1992)

Label: JMT Productions – POCJ-1120
Format: CD, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 1992
Style: Classical, Jazz, Contemporary, Avant-garde
Digitally recorded and mixed June 1991 at WDR Studio, Cologne. 
Digitally mastered December 1991 at Schalloran Studio, Berlin
Artwork By – Robert Coto; Design [Cover] – Stephen Byram
New Design (pages 2,3,4) by ART&JAZZ Studio, By VITKO
Producer – Ulrich Kurth
Recorded By – WDR Cologne
Recorded By, Mixed By – Hermann Kaldenhoff
Recorded By, Mixed By, Mastered By – Jörg Ritter

In the past, string instruments in jazz have had to play a certain role - the bass player (with pizzicato strings) was the time keeper and the policeman who took care about the harmonic structure; the cello created exotic sounds; and the violin was allowed to imitate brass instruments or to play gypsy-jazz. First in Free Jazz this set up started to change. And it took another several years till pure string ensembles were created who presented a new style: for example projects of the bass players Barre Phillipps and Dave Holland, the cellist Abdul Wadud and David Darling, the violinist Phil Waxman or Leroy Jenkins, the Kronos-Quartet, the Soldier Quartet or the Modern String Quartet. Musicians were needed who are able to combine composed and improvised music like the members of the Arcado String Trio.

The New York Times about Arcado: "The group members (Mark Dresser bass, Mark Feldman violin and Hank Roberts cello), part of just about every important new- music band on the downtown scene, are virtuosos, able to sift through the best elements of European classical music, pop and jazz and bring them to a rapprochement that sounds new." The members of Arcado write their own repertoire - the magazine Fachblatt wrote: "Dresser, Feldman and Roberts fuse chamber jazz with elements of classical music. The outcome is scintillating and oddly attractive and leaves much room for improvisational excursions."

Mark Dresser studied classical music in San Diego and Rome, he also performed with the San Diego Symphony orchestra. In recent years he has worked with avant-garde jazz artists like Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and Tim Berne (Tim Berne's Fractured Fairy Tales, JMT 919 030-2). Mark Feldman is not only at home in jazz (Anthony Davis, John Abercrombie, Tim Berne) and classical music (Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra), but equally on Broadway, pop (Sly and Robbie, Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell) and country (Willie Nelson, George Jones). Hank Roberts is constantly working together with JMT Productions: in 1987 he released his debut album (Black Pastels, JMT 919 016-2), 1988 he recorded with the group Miniature featuring Tim Berne and Joey Baron (Miniature, JMT 919 022-2), in 1990 he started his own band Birds Of Prey featuring the pop singer D. K. Dyson (JMT 919 036-2), and 1991 Miniature released a new project (I Can't Put My Finger On It, JMT 919 045-2).

Two albums are available from Arcado: Arcado String Trio (JMT 919 028-2) and Arcado String Trio, Behind The Myth (JMT 919 039-2). The production Arcado, For Three Strings And Orchestra featuring the Kölner Rundfunk Orchester, conducted by David de Villiers is an experiment. Is it possible that classical musicians understand the intentions of three jazz musicians? Are there formal solutions which make an integration of the improvising ensembles with the orchestra possible? What will happen to Arcado's unique sound and improvisational excursions? Does it work if a classical orchestra plays with avant-garde soloists? Three of four pieces were written by the members of Arcado. The fourth composition is by Manfred Niehaus, a modern composer, who worked 23 years as a journalist for new music and Jazz at WDR Cologne. He organized projects with orchestras and jazz musicians, for example with Michael Mantler, also Karl Berger and Michael Gibbs.

David de Villiers, born 1944 in Capetown, studied in South Africa and Germany. He worked from 1977-81 at the opera house in Frankfurt/Main; since 1984 he is the first conductor and vice director of the music stages in Bielefeld. In August 1992 he will start as a general music director in Gießen, Germany. De Villiers is also working with the Capetown symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the South African Radiostation. For three years he was leading the chamber orchestra "Ad Artem de Metz". Very often David de Villiers is featuring young talents, several times he was leading workshops. he is also presenting concerts for children which are very popular.

For Three Strings And Orchestra is a unusual team-work which was only possible because Arcado, David de Villiers, the Kölner Rundfunk Orchester and Manfred Niehaus worked together with open minds.

_ Original Press Text written in 1992

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  1. ARCADO + KÖLNER RUNDFUNK ORCHESTER – For Three Strings And Orchestra (1992)



  2. Thanks! This is very dense music. Got to give it a good listening.

  3. Very, very interesting Vitko. Thanks!