CD: Gestalt!

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Release date: 2020
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The essence of jazz, free improvisation, finds form! a completely new expression.



Cornelius Claudio Kreusch: Piano
Johannes Tonio Kreusch: guitar
Anthony Cox: Bass


01. A configuration
02. A pattern of elements
03. So unified
04. As a whole
05. That it cannot
06. Be described
07. Merely
08. As a sum
09. Of
10. Its
11. Parts

Audio sample: Track 01: A configuration
Audio sample: Track 03: So unified
Audio sample: Track 10: Its


Stereo: Music 4.5 (out of 5) stars / Sound: 4.5 (out of 5) stars

Rondo: 4 (out of 5) stars

Fono Forum: 4.5 (out of 5) stars “Your organic flow dazzles, dynamically finely graded, between delicate and gripping attack and dreamily revelling and thus fits into a grandiose overall picture…”

Jazzthetics: “A stroke of genius… The essence of jazz, free improvisation, finds a whole new expression on Gestalt!.”

Akustik Gitarre: “Trio production combines ECM jazz with world music and classical music… very worth listening.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung: “Magic of Making Music”

about: Gestalt!

It is always fascinating when improvised sounds take shape and become rousing music. For this miracle, appropriate musicians are needed who can lead and develop this conversation without words.

The jazz pianist Cornelius Claudio Kreusch and his brother, the classical guitarist Johannes Tonio Kreusch, have long proven that they are capable of doing so, although or perhaps precisely because they come from different musical genres and worlds. But they consider their latest album with the programmatic name “GESTALT!” to be an important highlight of their dialogue of improvising togetherness to date.

Which is also due to the third in the league, which here mediates between the two stylistics of the Kreuschs, makes the otherwise not unproblematic, often covering up team of guitar and piano sound completely harmonious and on top of that also spreads a sure rhythmic foundation at every moment: the American bassist Anthony Cox. He is one of Cornelius Claudio’s oldest friends and companions: “When I came to New York from Boston while studying at the Berklee College of Music, Anthony was the first American musician to fully accept me, open doors to me and make me feel like I belonged to it,” says Kreusch. With his desire for experimentation and his play, which combines with stoic calm, especially when using bows in the direction of modern music, he is now part of the inventory of the New York jazz scene. He worked with old masters such as Sam Rivers, Stan Getz, Elvin Jones and Craig Harris, as well as with innovators such as Henry Threadgill and John Scofield; he was a member of the bands of Anthony Davis, James Newton or Marty Ehrlich and has released several albums as a bandleader since the 1990s.

The postulate of the song “New York, New York” popularized by Frank Sinatra; “If you make it here, you can do it everywhere” has also met Cornelius Claudio Kreusch as one of the few German jazz musicians. For many years, his main place of action was an artist’s loft in the East Village in Manhattan, with neighbors such as Philip Glass, Jim Jarmusch, John Lurie, Robert Rauschenberg and others. The stimulating atmosphere pushed him to his current trends anticipating jazz fusion with funk and Afro-Caribbean; with his bands “Black Mud Sound” or “Fo Doumbe” he played in the legendary New York clubs like “Blue Note” or “Knitting Factory” and also on the stages of the big festivals and concert halls; his solo “Live! At Steinway Hall / New York” was put on the shortlist for the GRAMMY®, under the title “New York City – uptown downtown” he even ventured into pop, and also his internet company MUSICJUSTMUSIC®, with which he also became an award-winning entrepreneur, had its sphere of influence long from Munich and New York.

Johannes Tonio Kreusch also has his American past, studied in New York at the Juilliard School of Music, lived in the loft with his brother for several years and made his debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1996. But in the end, he was drawn back to old Europe, the quieter and searching in his music after the counter-draft to the “Fast, Higher, Next” also performed in new York in music. Here he played himself into the first group of classics with his revolutionary Heitor Villa Lobos reconstructions, but always remained on the lookout for new sounds and expressions of guitar sound, which also makes him a formative figure of the scene as an educator and festival director. His recently published Hermann Hesse homage “Siddhartha” shows excellently his openness to preparations of the guitar and to technical experiments, but also his ability to improvise in the context of a classical tone, by the way in the team with the Thomas Mann homage “Zauberberg” by his brother Cornelius.

As “GESTALT!” proves, these three solitary artists are a perfect triad precisely because of their very different nature, in order to give form to completely free joint music making: the autochthon rooted in the tradition of black music, the eternally new charm-seeking firehead and the resting firehead in the sound design and the mystical depth of European music. Anthony Cox recognized this intuitively and early: Ten years ago, when he was a guest at a concert with Cornelius Claudio Kreusch, Will Calhoun and Klaus Doldinger at the Ottobrunner concerts – supervised by both Kreuschs as artistic directors – the opportunity arose for an impromptu session with the two brothers. Afterwards, Cox said only, “Cornelius, we have to do that again and record it.”

It has taken a long time, but now this overdue summit has taken shape in every respect. Cox made ernst, booked himself the flight, and three of them let the pent-up ideas for this already unusual trio run free in the intimate atmosphere of Cornelius Claudio Kreusch’s Munich studio. “Two afternoons we just played on it, and the tape was a witness,” Kreusch says. The essence of these spontaneous sessions documented here excites. Because these three gifted musicians alternate and complement each other as if guided by magic in the creative leadership; because, unlike many free jazz sessions, which have fallen into disrepute, they demonstrate a grandiose sense of the correct ending of the individual improvisations; and because almost every movement gets a song structure, even though it was never intended.

What’s more, this album amazes the listener like none for a long time. Even the ingenious idea of making the lexicon definition from form to piece title: “A configuration/ A Pattern of elements/ So unified/ As a whole/ That it cannot/ Be descibed Merely/ As a sum/ Of/ Its/ Parts”. Together with the album’s extraordinary artwork, which works with symmetry, form and number symbolism, an almost magical interplay of music, word and image results, parallel to the magical coexistence of the musicians, in which cause and effect, before and after are canceled. Thus “GESTALT!” is the bold but successful dialogue of three free spirits and seekers in the most universal of all languages, music.

Oliver Hochkeppel

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