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THE METRONOME QUINTET – Plays Swinging Mahagonny ...
THE-METRONOME-QUINTET-Plays-Swinging-MahagonnyA
THE-METRONOME-QUINTET-Plays-Swinging-MahagonnyB
S 01
Track
Composer
Time
01
Gründung der Stadt Mahagonny
Kurt Weill/Arr. Bruno Spoerri
2:10
02
Ich glaube, ich will meinen Hut aufessen
Kurt Weill/Arr. Bruno Spoerri
4:03
03
Alabama Song
Kurt Weill/Arr. Bruno Spoerri
3:41
04
Jetzt hab` ich gegessen zwei Kälbe
Kurt Weill/Arr. Bruno Spoerri
4:48
05
Ach bedenken Sie, Herr Jakob Schmidt
Kurt Weill/Arr. Bruno Spoerri
3:25
06
An einem grauen Vormittag kam Gott nach Mahagonny
Kurt Weill/Arr. Bruno Spoerri
1:39
S 02
Track
Composer
Time
01
Metronome
Bruno Spoerri
4:37
02
Lunatic Moon
Bruno Spoerri
2:37
03
Sometime Ago
Sergej Mihanovich
4:14
04
Everything happens to me
Tom Adair/Matt Dennis
3:54
05
Counterclockwise
Bruno Spoerri
2:27
06
Jaywalker
Bruno Spoerri
3:15
Track 1-6: Swinging Mahagonny (based on music motifs of “Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny”
by Berthold Brecht/ Kurt Weill), recorded July 17th 1965 in Schlieren/ Zurich
(sonographic recording company, W.A. Wettler).
Track 7-12: Recorded June 24th 1967 in Schlieren/ Zurich
(sonographic recording company, W.A. Wettler).
All tracks remastered 2010 by Jury Lutz.

The Metronome Quintet:
Bruno Spoerri: Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophone, Ueli Staub: Vibraphone
Martin Hugelshofer: Piano, Felix Rogner: Bass, Rolf Bänninger: Drums
Liner Notes of the original LP by Jan Slawe (1967):

Joy of creative experimentation, epicurean variation of melodies, harmonies and forms, rhythms: these are the things and processes why the Jazz Friends love "their" music for decades - often regardless of the style changes that are taking place within remarkably short periods of time. If a rudimentary style or a particular repertoire of subjects solidify, then the vitality and continuity of real jazz is in danger. The musicians of the Metronome Quintet became aware of these connections over the years, intellectually or instinctively, since they operate on the stage of the Swiss and European jazz life with an admirable balance of their artistic level.

This new recording series of the ensemble provides a representative cross-section of today's sounds from their diverse repertoire. With the six pieces by Kurt Weill's music for "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" by Bertolt Brecht (premiered in Leipzig on March 9, 1930) the musicians fall back on a treasure of opera themes almost exclusively known to the music historian. Bruno Spoerri formed jazz-rich subjects from the “songs” of the work, which - appearing after they indicated at the beginning of each piece as almost direct quotations - are processed to rich variations. The ratio of arrangement and improvisation is well balanced, and the sound features of the movements and choruses can be felt just as clearly as the general musical skills such as the jazz sensorium and the right "feeling" of the quintet, and each of its members.

"Jazz it up" then? The thorny issue of borrowing "classic" tunes for the jazz use - it is no longer a problem here. The themes are not stolen (and Kurt Weill's music is not treated irreverently), but they only serve as an inspiration, as the basis of a new creative process. Moreover to date, these recordings - which were in fact already broadcasted by Radio Zurich and the West German Radio (WDR) - probably serve as the only promising attempt to wrest Kurt Weill's original and interesting music from the past and update it. You can even make friends with the fact that the latter (jazz) pieces bear the cheeky original German titles, because music, as we know, will not become more jazz-like, if one provides them with English titles. All that matters is the “how” of making music.

About the other six titles: They are in some ways probably more typical for the personal style of the Metronome Quintet and perhaps more varied in themselves. Composed and arranged completely independently of unfamiliar jazz templates, these small works reflect the whole gamut of personality of the Metronome Quintet. The penchant for ostinato, riff-like figures in the accompanying parts, the "elasticity" of the group (from duo to full quintet), the discrete return to the history of jazz, the few major solo cadenzas, the ritardandi and diminuendos within some final bars - all that combined with exemplary ensemble discipline, with sovereignty of the solos and secure musicality, makes the style of the Metronome Quintet, as we use to like it for years.

I know of only a few formations that in all seriousness of her artistic endeavors are able to bring a brilliant mood and a healthy sense of humor at the same time in the improvisations expressed. The Metronome Quintet is certainly one of those musically serene ensembles with a timeless style. In places, where many musicians work with grim seriousness of progress in jazz, I see a necessary virtue that deserves attention and sympathy today.
(Jan Slawe / 1967)


Memories of Martin Hugelshofer:

1953, when our group was founded as a quartet at that time, we were considered pioneers of "Modern Jazz". Actually we wanted to break out from the surrounding conventions. The conventional music was classical, folk, pop, dance music. The Jazz has not been brought to us (as now) and we had to sift through shellac records or pick it up from the radio at night-time.The result of our self-study and our intensive rehearsals - Jazz schools were still not in sight for miles around - came to a substantial response during the first public performances.

By ourselves we started to organize “Modern Jazz Evenings” that almost had cult status in the “Café Wellenberg” in Zurich. Without any doubt we had our own style - everyone for themselves as well as a group - which corresponded to the spirit of the times, and found an interested audience. A little later, greater successes followed: first prize at the international Jazz Festival Zurich (1961), numerous tours in Germany, release of several vinyl EPs and our first LP "Swinging Mahagonny" (1967 on the Swiss Columbia label), other LPs , a Japanese tour with appearances at the EXPO `70 in Osaka (Reissue of these famous EXPO recordings on October 8th 2010 on Sonorama Records as a limited edition 3-track 12inch vinyl EP and as digital download). To date, more than 800 performances of the Metronome Quintet were realized in nearly 200 different locations at home and abroad.

But there were musical trends in the 60s and 70s threatening to blow us away. The introduction of electronics has created the conditions for deafening rock and pop concerts and did not stop before jazz. Jazz-Rock and Fusion occupied the scene next to the also emerging free jazz field. Playing jazz standards (without resorting to electronic instruments with appropriate amplification) was considered taboo. For many, the very significant response from our performances in recent times is taken for granted. But we Metronome musicians remember a time when our group felt like a small island, which had a powerful surge to withstand.. Looking back over 50 years of the Metronome Quintet we may state today: The perseverance paid off, and thanks to the jazz none of us wants to miss the corresponding experiences.

Thanks to the Metronome Quintet, especially to Martin Hugelshofer and Bruno Spoerri, for valuable help in the realization of this project. Producer for reissue: Ekkehart Fleischhammer, original recordings remastered in July 2010 by Jury Lutz, unpublished photographs from the collection of the Metronome Quintet, cover design by DeVico design, Gockhausen / Zurich, reproduction of the original cover by Patrick Haase (rab.bit).