MONOSUITE for string orchestra and improvisers


Sequenza String Orchestra
1st violin: Gerdur Gunnarsdóttir, Constanze Sannemüller, Elias Schödel, Adrian Bleyer, Kira Kohlmann, Christine Rox
2nd violin: Irmgard Zavelberg, Mirjam Steymans, Alwin Moser, Naomi Binder, Adi Czeiger viola: Marla Hansen, Pauline Moser,
Yodfat Miron, Andrea Sanz-Vela, Valentin Alexandru cello: Ulrike Zavelberg, Teemu Myöhänen, Nil Kocamangil, Marnix Möhring
bass: Axel Ruge, Matan Gurevitz

Hayden Chisholm - altosax / shruti box
Achim Kaufmann - piano
John Hébert - bass
John Hollenbeck - drums & percussion
Juergen Friedrich - composer / conductor

Pirouet Records


scores + parts  (other improvising instruments possible)

"Monosuite" - that's what this fascinating work with its sparkling, shimmering sounds is called - contains music that bursts out in a powerful, clear tonal stream. The listener is immediately pulled into a maelstrom of undiscovered beauty. This is a stunning composition for a 22-piece string orchestra and four masterful jazz soloists. These great musicians interact with the Sequenza String Orchestra in lively, elastic, and amazingly organic piece of jazz artistry - inspired music played with creative discipline. Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)
Arnaldo DeSouteiro / Jazz Station

Pianist Jurgen Friedrich doesn't play a single note of music on Monosuite, but his personality and cognitive bearing are omnipresent. While Friedrich's piano was at the heart of the sound on the trio-based Pollock, he removes his hands from the ivories on this follow-up date, allowing a cadre of string players and a highly flexible foursome to express his well-crafted thoughts in their own way.
This 49-minute opus is as much about sought-after equilibrium as anything else. Friedrich builds a series of checks and balances between the strings and improvisers, never letting one dominate for too long, but always allowing for strange meetings and sensational story lines. The strings have their say as they spring to life and sprint up and down on the album opener "Waves," but the improvisers make their move soon after. Alto saxophonist Hayden Chisholm explores the surroundings of "Breaks" with some support from the strings, while drummer John Hollenbeck helps to feed the string-born intrigue on the fabulous "Fiddlesticks." "Blossom" quickly builds to sonic overload before breaking into free roaming dissonant explorations and "Low Tide" proves to be an eerie aural fright of a track. Pianist Achim Kaufmann's foreboding fingers bring a sense of angular dread to this piece.
While Friedrich sets this suite in motion with a series of miniatures, the last four movements are lengthy constructs. "Loops" deals with focus shifts and a tug of war between the uncertain and direct. "Ritual" opens on a solo bass meditation from John Hébert, and builds into a folk-like melody with staccato strings emulating guitar or banjo sounds. "Chacaglia" begins with exotic percussion sprints before settling into somber territory, while the album-ending "Weave" comes off like the illegitimate musical child of film composer Thomas Newman, the legendary Igor Stravinsky, minimalist icon John Adams, and arranger Eddie Sauter, who makes the list because of his urgent, Stan Getz-associated "I'm Late, I'm Late."
Friedrich creates freedom within order throughout this ambitious suite and he never simply uses the strings as window dressing. This is music that thrives on integration and the promise of what might be waiting around the next corner. Relationships, be they simple or complex in nature, are at the heart of this work, helping to make Monosuite a fascinating listen from beginning to end.

Dan Bilawsky / allaboutjazz

Hier geht es um etwas ganz anderes als nur "Jazz mit Streichern". Denn Jürgen Friedrich zelebriert expressive Orchestermusik mit teils improvisierten Solopartien für Klavier, Schlagzeug, Saxofon und Flöte. Er bedient sich aus dem Fundus musikalischer Stile von J. S. Bach über die Spätromantik bis hin zu den Neutönern mit einem Schuss Exotismus und einem gehörigen Anteil von Swing und Free Jazz. Da wird munter zitiert, ausprobiert und mitunter auch persifliert. Fest verankert ist das Werk in der deutschen Musiktradition: Neun Miniaturen stehen monolithisch für sich und verkörpern jeweils ein eigenes Konstruktionsprinzip. Dabei bleiben die Kompositionen immer in der Schwebe - es gibt keine Auflösung. Bei aller filigranen Kunstfertigkeit macht diese Monosuite richtig Spaß. Man höre, staune und genieße! 5 von 5 Punkten.

Sven Sorgenfrey / Financial Times Deutschland

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Gefördert von der Kunststiftung NRW.

Supported by the Initiative Musik Non-profit Project Company Ltd. with project funds

from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media on the basis of a

resolution passed by the German Bundestag.