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Vilnius Jazz 2013: Pascal Schumacher Quartet (LU), Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (CH)

Pascal Schumacher Quartet (Luxembourg)

Pascal Schumacher - vibraphone
Franz von Chossy - piano
Christophe Devisscher - bass
Jens Düppe - drums

Pascal Schumacher has been described as a “Goldsmith” in his art, a boundary-pushing musician, a resourceful improviser and an imaginative composer. Keen to explore the links that exist between many musical genres, it is difficult to pigeon–hole his talent, his taste or his musical influences.

The "Pascal Schumacher 4tet" was formed back in 2002 at the legendary Sounds Jazz Club in Brussels. As a band leader Pascal surrounds himself today with the strongly talented German piano player Franz von Chossy (living and working in Amsterdam) and with the excellent rhythm section composed of the Belgian double bass player Christophe Devisscher and the German drummer Jens Düppe. Up to now the band was playing on 5 continents and in many countries reaching the hearts of thousands of people. The 4tet released five albums: Change Of The Moon (2004), Personal Legend (2005), and Silbergrau (2007) for IGLOO Records Here we Gong (2009) and their current opus Bang my Can (2011) for Enja Records.

Modern acoustic evocative jazz. At the moment of initiating improvisation, the musicians develop a strong force of attraction with a defined sonority, infatuating and charming, playing through jazz monuments and personal compositions, where every musician invites the other to keep on challenging musical frontiers. Clear melodic motifs, gloomy and bright, floating on melancholic waves, in other words music rich of imagination and expression, filled with altering emotions, going from soothing to violent, always with passion.

My oh my... Three words for last night’s concert: energy, energy, energy. (...) rarely have I seen young jazz musicians play acoustic jazz with this combination of energy, enthusiasm, joy and technique. (...) The pleasure they took in their music-making was evident, both visually, in the exchange of looks and smiles, and musically. (...) It is great fun watching this group play together, as they are all visibly happy to be making music together  - Mwanji Ezana (

Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (Switzerland)

Andreas Schaerer - vocals
Andreas Tschopp - trombone, tuba
Benedikt Reising - baritone and alto saxophone, bass clarinet
Christoph Steiner - drums, percussion, marimba
Marco Müller - double bass
Matthias Wenger - alto and soprano saxophone

Is it a one-man band, an orchestra, a traveling circus or a sextet? It is difficult to say. The band with a very intriguing name Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (Hildegard learns to fly) is a very special music project from Switzerland. It’s jazz, but also beat box and noise art, morbid polka with a little Frank Zappa and Kurt Weill aftertaste; a musical cabaret, that has both rap and opera. They’ve said that the best that can happen at a concert is losing all control – less rationalizing and analysing, more impulses and creativity!

Andreas Schaerer’s “Hildegard Lernt Fliegen” is currently one of the most creative music projects Switzerland has to offer: rarely has any other jazz ensemble put so much wit and imagination into their compositions and performances. The sextet around composer and singer Andreas Schaerer, who also toured with Bobby McFerrin, exhibits great aesthetics: strong brass sounds and astounding voice acrobatics create the unique band charisma. The arrangements for the unusual instrumentation – harmony instruments are intentionally left out – are sometimes intricate, sometimes subtly woven, sometimes lusciously rhapsodic in character, fitting the theatrical vaudeville note of their energetic performance.

Whether the style is to be clearly assigned to jazz cannot be answered: its beat box or noise art elements, morbid polka and off-key ballad extracts, and the occasional scent of Frank Zappa or the poetry of Kurt Weill make it impossible to find the accurate description. In any event – Hildegard Lernt Fliegen is a musical sensation for all senses!

Amongst many other titles, awards and prizes, the sextet won the most important newcomer prize in Switzerland, the so called ZKB Jazzpreis in 2008. In 2011 they received a grant from Pro Helvetia for the priority promotion of jazz music which is the most important jazz award in Switzerland.

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