Labels and genres are arbitrary preconceived notions. The idea one can take improvisational based music and package it as a "vibe" is a contradiction in terms when related to accepted ideas of what constitutes art. Vibe is an overly pretentious lifestyle and like taste is easy to live but far more difficult to explain. Markus Gottschlich transcends the arbitrary subjectivity of critical examination with an artful presentation of melody reinforced with an organic presentation and contemporary buoyancy that allows pieces from Schubert and Duke Ellington to peacefully coexist in an improvisational format that is both innovative in presentation and dynamic in style. A review of the work from a recording artist is merely a shared perspective on what the listener may experience yet the reality is most reviews are subjective conjecture with very little thought given to artistic intent. Knowing and better still understanding the artist as his or her own cultural by product based on experience goes a long way in grasping a deeper appreciation of a particular work. In continuing my musical adventure for new artists and new presentations I was fortunate to ask Markus a few couple of questions not only about his music but his role as artistic director for the Miami Beach Jazz Festival.
Influences are married deep within the soul of any artist had Markus had the following remarks concerning his melodic DNA.
M.G. "My Influences on piano are not easy to pinpoint, since of course all the great masters were/are influential to me. I studied the styles of many great stride, swing, bop, post-bop pianists. It also helps to have an amazing organist and pianist as an older brother. Harmonically and melodically the late romantic and impressionist European composers are important to me. Some of what still turns our heads today in Jazz has been around for ages- in terms of harmony. What "Jazz" brought to the table that was novel is syncopation (in my opinion)- so the influences widen to all kinds of "world music", folklore, etc..."
I was curious as to what Markus may have learned as Artistic Director for the MBJF to which he relied,
"That the music and its integrity always come first and that one's bigger purpose and implied responsibility is to contribute to the cultural landscape of a city or wherever one is active. The issues are: How important is it to try to stimulate and educate an audience vs. giving them only what they want? I'm fortunate to have been asked to join the board of directors for the MBJF, which is a great team of experienced community leaders and entrepreneurs. Also, Chuck Bergeron -a bassist of the highest caliber who teaches at the University of Miami- sits on the board and his input is immensely valuable."
In further examination of Of Place Between it becomes clear that whether an original composition or a re imagining of a timeless classic there is an amazing attention to detail in celebrating the integrity of the music.
Markus Gottschlich enhances the integrity by discovering and deconstructing a melody into organic rhythmic nuances of colors and textures you can hear. From Schubert to Duke Ellington this is a release grounded in the simplicity of melody and the complexity of the lyrical cadence that transforms each work into a unique presentation or rebirth of what is pure, honest and emotionally touching music. The supporting ensemble is just that, a dynamic collective of musicians and not merely the after thought of a leader filling space. Each member as a distinct purpose and reason for being coupled with their stage for presenting a harmonic synergy rarely heard in improvisational presentations of this nature. This is a unique collective with what is truly an organic presence with the end result as a vibrant life force of sound. A deceptively subtle living breathing microcosm of melodic wonder. The first part of my review can be found here:
Many thanks to Markus Gottschich for his help in presenting a review of not only Of Places Between but the opportunity to gain some keen insight into what makes him a driving force in modern jazz not only in the United States but from a global perspective as well.