Peter Protschka Quintet

Hearts and Minds

Price: € 14.95
Format: CD
Label: Double Moon Records
UPC: 0608917139723
Catnr: DMCHR 71397
Release date: 25 March 2022
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Label
Double Moon Records
UPC
0608917139723
Catalogue number
DMCHR 71397
Release date
25 March 2022

"... Here really beautiful, unspectacular jazz is played, which makes the heart jump for joy, "Straight Ahead Jazz", as I could read about this. Yes, from the hearts and minds of the musicians into the hearts and minds of the listeners, a perfectly successful synthesis in this case. ..."

Musikansich, 17-5-2022
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About the album

“Hearts and Minds” is not just a random album title, because the quintet of the Cologne trumpeter and flugelhorn player Peter Protschka actually plays with heart and mind. The band's first studio album – they previously released the live album “Twilight Jamboree” – is a collection of eight compositions, half of which come from the band leader and the other half from the American tenor saxophonist Rick Margitza. Behind these sophisticated pieces, there are homages to various jazz greats. and it should be clear to everyone whom is meant with "St. Sonny" or "E Jones". But he also describes his adoptive country in "August in Paris" or the sound of the band with “Warm”.

“Our long-standing repertoire is huge and that's why we decided to record it on a studio album,” Protschka explained his motivation. "The band was well rehearsed, because the recordings were made during our tour last September. As a result, the band was documented as it actually sounds live."

And that is quite pleasant to hear, although the label Post-Bop only fits the five-piece band to a limited extent, because it also processes many twisted bars and uses more open forms and more complex harmonies than a classic Post-Bop band.

"We play contemporary European straight-ahead jazz, but without losing sight of the American tradition," Protschka stated formulating his sound ideal. "It is a very warm, lyrical sound, with which our various backgrounds and influences can also be heard. But we all appreciate American music very much and you can hear that too."

The quintet has been playing together in the same line-up for nine years, and you can hear the carefully coordinated sound that the five musicians have developed together, be it in a sensual ballad like "Hymn for the Suffering" or in the ten minutes of "Tom's Groove" – by the way dedicated to the American trumpeter Tom Harrell. "We were all happy from the first second," Protschka recalled when first listening to the recordings. "Sound engineer Klaus Endel sent out great vibes and mastered a good sound."

The furious passages with Protschka and Rick Margitza in unison merge into a very special sound, but of course the tenor sax player also gets a lot of space for solos. "Rick is one of the most original tenor saxophonists of his generation," Protschka said. "He has developed his own language, very lyrical, but sometimes also intellectual. He plays very sensitively and works a lot with timbres, but you still hear the whole tradition – he even played with Miles Davis."

Protschka is also enthusiastic about his pianist Martin Sasse. "Martin is one of the very few pianists in this country who can play this music authentically," he stated enthusiastically. "He is one of the leading straight-ahead pianists and is constantly evolving. He is also a fantastic accompanist."

With Tobias Backhaus there is a man on the drums who has already played with musicians like Till Brönner, Tony Lakatos, Bob Degen, Frank Chastenier and Wanja Slavin. "Tobias is a very versatile drummer who is at home in many styles, but his heart beats for the American way of playing," Protschka stated. "He manages to maintain his energy continuously during a concert or recording session and thus gives the soloists the necessary kick."

Martin Gjakpnovski is responsible for the band’s solid foundation with deep tones on the double bass, which can already be heard on more than one hundred albums. "Martin is one of Europe's top bassists, who is always in demand when American musicians come over," Protschka said impressed. "But it's hard to get him, because he now lives in the Balkans."

Together with “Hearts and Minds”, the Peter Protschka Quintet presents music that sounds as relaxed and casual as it is fresh and energetic.

„Hearts and Minds“ ist kein beliebiger Albumtitel, denn das Quintett des Kölner Trompeters und Flügelhornisten Peter Protschka spielt tatsächlich mit Herz und Hirn. Das erste Studio-Album der Band - vorher gab es das Live-Album „Twilight Jamboree“ - versammelt acht Kompositionen, die zur Hälfte vom Bandleader und zur anderen Hälfte vom amerikanischen Tenorsaxofonisten Rick Margitza stammen. Hinter dessen raffinierten Nummern verbergen sich Huldigungen an diverse Jazzgrößen - es dürfte wohl jedem klar sein, wer mit „St. Sonny“ oder „E Jones“ gemeint ist -, er beschreibt aber auch mit „August in Paris“ seine Wahlheimat oder mit „Warm“ den Klang der Band.

„Unser langjähriges Repertoire ist riesig und deshalb haben wir uns entschieden, es jetzt einmal auf einem Studio-Album einzuspielen“, erläutert Protschka seine Motivation. „Die Band war gut eingespielt, weil die Aufnahmen während unserer Tour im letzten September entstanden sind. So wurde die Band dokumentiert, wie sie tatsächlich auch live klingt.“

Und das ist ziemlich süffig, wenngleich das Etikett Post-Bop nur bedingt auf der Fünfer-Bande haftet, denn sie verarbeitet auch viele krumme Takte und verwendet offenere Formen und komplexere Harmonien als eine klassische Post-Bop-Band.

„Wir spielen zeitgenössischen europäischen Straight-Ahead-Jazz, der aber schon ein intensives Auge auf die amerikanische Tradition wirft“, formuliert Protschka sein Klangideal. „Es ist ein sehr warmer, lyrischer Klang, bei dem auch unsere verschiedenen Hintergründe und Einflüsse zu hören sind. Wir schätzen aber alle sehr amerikanische Musik und das hört man auch.“

Seit neun Jahren spielt das Quintett jetzt in der gleichen Besetzung zusammen und man hört dem sorgfältig aufeinander abgestimmtem Sound an, dass die fünf Musiker miteinander gewachsen sind. Sei es in einer sinnlichen Ballade wie „Hymn for the Suffering“ oder in dem zehn Minuten mit hoher Energie nach vorne stürmenden „Tom’s Groove“ - übrigens dem amerikanischen Trompeter Tom Harrell gewidmet. „Wir waren alle von der ersten Sekunde an happy“, erinnert sich Protschka an die Aufnahmen. „Toningenieur Klaus Endel hat einen super Vibe verbreitet und einen guten Sound gemacht.“

Die furiosen Unisono-Passagen mit Protschka und Rick Margitza verschmelzen zu einem ganz eigenen Klang, aber natürlich erhält der Tenorist auch viel Platz für Soli. „Rick ist einer der originellsten Tenorsaxofonisten seiner Generation“, findet Protschka. „Er hat eine ganz eigene Sprache entwickelt, sehr lyrisch, aber manchmal auch intellektuell. Er spielt sehr sensibel und arbeitet viel mit Klangfarben, aber trotzdem hört man die ganze Tradition - er hat ja noch mit Miles Davis gespielt.“

Auch von seinem Pianisten Martin Sasse ist Protschka begeistert. „Martin ist einer der ganz wenigen Pianisten hierzulande, die diese Musik authentisch spielen können“, schwärmt er. „Er gehört zu den führenden Straight-Ahead-Pianisten und entwickelt sich stetig weiter. Außerdem ist er ein fantastischer Begleiter.“

Mit Tobias Backhaus sitzt ein Mann hinterm Schlagzeug, der schon mit Musikern wie Till Brönner, Tony Lakatos, Bob Degen, Frank Chastenier und Wanja Slavin gespielt hat. „Tobias ist ein sehr vielseitiger Schlagzeuger, der in vielen Stilistiken zuhause ist, aber sein Herz schlägt für die amerikanische Art zu spielen“, freut sich Protschka. „Er schafft es, seine Energie während eines Konzerts oder einer Aufnahme-Session kontinuierlich aufrecht zu erhalten und so den Solisten die nötigen Kicks zu geben.“

Für die Erdung der Band mit tiefen Tönen ist Martin Gjakpnovski am Kontrabass zuständig, der schon auf über einhundert Alben zu hören ist. „Martin ist einer der Top-Bassisten Europas, der immer angerufen wird, wenn amerikanische Musiker rüber kommen“, zeigt sich Protschka beeindruckt. „Es ist aber schwer, ihn zu kriegen, weil er mittlerweile auf dem Balkan lebt.“

Gemeinsam präsentiert das Peter Protschka Quintet mit „Hearts and Minds“ Musik, die genauso ausgeruht und lässig wie frisch und energisch klingt.

Artist(s)

Raw energy and passion – these are the trademarks of Peter Protschka’s playing and composing. The Cologne based Jazz trumpeter, one of the leading European trumpeters of his generation, considers them a bow to the American Jazz tradition as it has developed since the early nineteen-sixties. But at the same time they always exhibit a rather personal and European touch.

"I’ve always been fascinated by and drawn towards the music of the Hard and Post Bop eras. I love the energy and soul, the sense of humor and the lifestyle that are characteristic of this style", says Protschka himself. "That's why the sound of this era will always shine through all my Jazz projects, whether it is my current quartet or my Art Blakey tribute sextet, The Art Of The Message. Of course the quartet doesn't sound like an American band of the sixties – not least because we all have a completely different background than the musicians of that time. But I've always been interested in the sound of certain historical periods, which is why I also listen to a lot of Classical music. I've started several crossover projects, where I sometimes play a Baroque trumpet."

Apart from Classical influences, Protschka carefully weaves present-day musical trends into his music that go far beyond Postbop. However, he still considers those legendary groups and their composers to be his most important source of inspiration. "Musicians like Kenny Barron, Joe Henderson, Tom Harrell, or Wynton Marsalis have left us seminal recordings, and some of them continue to do so to this day. For me, this is not living in the distant past, but continuing and developing a great tradition."

Protschka lives in the middle of Cologne and has traveled frequently during the last few years – regular visits to New York and Paris were among his trips. That's where he gets to fill up on inspiration and energy. The urban sound of these cities is characteristic of his music, which represents an honest commitment to his own musical truth.
Source: www.peterprotschka.de

Press

... Here really beautiful, unspectacular jazz is played, which makes the heart jump for joy, "Straight Ahead Jazz", as I could read about this. Yes, from the hearts and minds of the musicians into the hearts and minds of the listeners, a perfectly successful synthesis in this case. ...
Musikansich, 17-5-2022

... Located in the late bop of the European school, the combo impresses with its first-class line-up in all positions and the interplay perfected over 9 years. ... This reads like old school now, but sounds absolutely timelessly modern.
NaDann, 11-5-2022

Soft and elegant glide the notes from the trumpet or flugelhorn of Peter Protschka, and somewhat rougher sound the saxophonist Rick Margitza ... This band keeps acoustic jazz alive.  
Stereoplay 05 2022, 31-3-2022

... They make 'Hearts And Minds' a tradition-saturated ride through jazz modernism.
Jazzthing, 23-3-2022


sk jazz, 29-6-2022

The quintet has been playing together in the same line-up for nine years (!) and the carefully coordinated sound that the five musicians have developed together can be heard whether in a sensual ballad like Hymn for the Suffering
SK.Jazz, 27-6-2022


hr2, 30-5-2022


Radio Dreyeckland airplay, 05-5-2022


Radio Chemnitz, 03-5-2022


OS Radio, 22-3-2022

... all own compositions, some of which sound like classics because of the intrinsic quality.
Rootstime, 22-3-2022

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