"Distances" 2009 GRAMMY NOMINATION
"Stories Yet to Tell" 2010
"Dance Without Answer" 2012
Norma Winstone/ Glauco Venier piano/ Klaus Gesing saxes and clarinet
The Grammy nominated trio of singer Norma Winstone MBE, Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German reeds player, Klaus Gesing, present music from their highly acclaimed ECM album, Stories Yet to Tell, described by critics as ‘sublime’ and ‘exceptional’.
Norma Winstone occupies a special place among Europe’s jazz voices, ethereal yet rich she suffuses folk and classical sensibilities into her rarefied, glacially beautiful music.
Pianist Glauco Venier and reeds player Klaus Gesing, have a long history as duo partners. Invited to guest with them 10 years ago, Winstone noticed their instant rapport and the trio were formed. Three albums on, they have developed a sense of unity lauded as unique by critics.
Gesing and Venier, both strong composers, are also players who serve the song and the text. Gesing has developed a unique role for the bass clarinet, alternating between a real bass function and lyrical, virtuosic flights. Venier on piano establishes the harmonic frameworks and organically intertwines with Winstone’s haunting vocalese.
The ECM album ‘Distances’ received four and a half stars in Downbeat, winning an Academie Du Jazz prize as Best Jazz Vocal CD and a Grammy nomination. Their most recent album "Stories Yet to Tell" was nominated for best album in the 2011 Parliamentary Jazz Awards in the UK.
This wonderful trio launched their impressive new ECM title "Stories Yet to Tell" at the end of August and will be touring throughout next year to promote the album. The last album "Distances" (ECM) was nominated for a Grammy and this trio is now so well established that it is an absolute joy to listen to. The interplay between the three musicians is astounding. Norma Winstone is one of the world's greatest jazz performers with a subtlety and musicality that is breathtaking and her two musical partners are a perfect match.
A short film about the group van be seen at: http://player.ecmrecords.com/winstone
From a recent review of a live performance:
“ … What followed illustrated why Winstone is held in great reverence by those who know her work and showed that in Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German soprano saxophonist and bass clarinettist Klaus Gesing, the English singer has found possibly, the band of her life.” - The Glasgow Herald
"an impressive follow-up" John Fordham, The Guardian 4 stars of "Stories Yet to Tell"
"Distances is a rare vocal album rooted clearly in the tradition, but which transcends it through a collective exegesis where the whole clearly exceeds the sum". John Kelman, All about Jazz
"Distances is a prime example of ego-free music-making. Their programme, embracing originals, folk and classical music, Coltrane, a piece by 1970s Genesis Rocker Peter Gabriel, and even a spontaneously created calypso, is also a microcosm of where jazz is at now". Ray Comiskey, Irish Times 11th April 2008
"an absolute triumph" Peter Bacon, Birmingham Post 5 May 2008
"The voice of the 67-year old singer shimmers like a jewel when she meticulously intonates her tenderly touching lyrics. „Here comes the Flood“ by Peter Gabriel is the perfect example of how skilfully and virtuosically these three play with emotions - awesome"! Sven Thielmann, Stereoplay
"Difficult to decide what eventually arouse the most excitement: Glauco Venier's humour and inspiration, Klaus Gesing's "soprano" which comes closer to the human voice than any other since a long time, or Winstone herself, who, among the great many jazz singers of our days, stands out for her freedom of expression." Oliver Hochkeppel, Süddeutsche Zeitung 27.Mai 2008
Since emerging on the London jazz scene in 1966 with an engagement at Ronnie Scott’s Club opposite Roland Kirk, Norma Winstone has worked with many of the major names on the British and European scene. Her voice could be said to define an entire era of British and European Jazz, from reinventions of The Great American Songbook to more abstract excursions into vocal timbre.
She recorded five albums for ECM with the group Azimuth, with John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler.
Her own album for ECM, “Somewhere Called Home” with John Taylor and saxophonist/ clarinettist Tony Coe, is widely considered to be a classic.
Her voice has become an important part of Kenny Wheeler’s big band writing and can be heard in this context on the 1990 ECM recording “Music for Large and Small Ensembles”. In celebration of Kenny's 80th birthday in 2010, this music was performed again in London, and John Fordham wrote of "how uncannily similar their phrasing is" and Ivan Hewitt of the Telegraph describes how she held the audience "completely spellbound".
She is also a gifted lyricist and has written lyrics for many compositions by Steve Swallow, Kenny Wheeler and Ralph Towner.
Her lyrics for the Jimmy Rowles composition “The Peacocks”, which she re-titled “A Timeless Place”, have been recorded by many singers including Mark Murphy, Tierney Sutton and The Swingle Singers. She recorded it herself with the composer on an album called “Well Kept Secret” also with George Mraz and Joe La Barbera.
A collaboration with pianist Fred Hersch resulted in an album of his compositions with her lyrics called “Songs and Lullabies”.
Having won the Melody Maker Poll for Best Jazz Vocalist in 1971, she won the same category in the first BBC Jazz Awards in 2001 was nominated again in 2007 and 2008. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to music in 2007. In 2009 she was awarded the Skoda Jazz Ahead Award in Bremen for her contribution to European Jazz.
Her current group is a trio featuring Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German saxophonist/ bass clarinettist Klaus Gesing. The trio was formed around ten years ago when Glauco and Klaus, who were playing as a duo at the time, asked Norma to guest with them at a concert near Udine, in Northern Italy, Glauco’s home town. A rapport between the three was immediately apparent. She realised that this was a group that had a very original sound which she wanted to develop. The trio made their first recording “Chamber Music”, released by Universal, Austria, at the Artesuono Recording Studios in Udine in 2002. This is where they subsequently recorded their ECM album “Distances”, which was given a four and a half star review in Downbeat Magazine, had wonderful reviews in the German and English press. The CD received an award as top Jazz Vocal CD from Academie Du Jazz in France and its crowning achievement was a Grammy nomination as Jazz Vocal CD of 2008.
Klaus Gesing was born in Düsseldorf, Germany.After having studied both clarinet and saxophone in Germany for some years (he won the 1 st prize in the prestigious "Jugend Jazzt" Award of NRW on tenor sax in 1988) he moved to the Netherlands in 1990.
He was professionally trained in Jazz (John Ruocco) and Classical (Leo van Oostrom) Saxophone at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague , where he finished his studies with a special remark for his compositions and artistic expression. He had additional studies and occasional concert appearances with David Liebman.In the Netherlands he led his own group "The Jahi Jazz Ensemble", writing all the material and focusing on composition. With this group he had various radio broadcasts, concerts and festival appearances.He was awarded Best Soloist at the Middelzee Jazzfestival in 1994 and won the Van Merlen Jazz Prize of The Hague in 1995.
In 1996, now principally based in Italy , he travelled to the Vienne International Jazz competition in France , where he was again awarded the prize as "Best Soloist".
He released several CDs in Duo with Glauco Venier ("Klaus Gesing and Glauco Venier play Bach", "Klaus Gesing and Glauco Venier play Songs") and began an intensive collaboration with Norma Winstone. The result is the Trio CD "Chamber Music" (Universal Music 2002) with which they appeared on the Austrian Television, the Austrian Radio (Ö1) and recently at the Bath International Jazzfestival.
As a member of the 'JazzBigBand Graz' he contributed two of his own widely noted compositions and arrangements to the CD "A Life Affair" published at Universal Music in 2004. In 2000 he presented his first CD under his own name, the title of which stems from the first collection of tunes by John Dowland and is consequently called "First Booke of Songes". In 2006 he presented his second album as a leader entitled "Heartluggage", recorded and performed by Gwilym Simcock(GB), p; Yuri Goloubev (RUS), b and Asaf Sirkis (ISR), dr.
Further collaborations in the field of Jazz have been with, among others: Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Chris Lawrence, John Taylor, Enrico Rava, Dave Liebman, Take 6, New York Voices, Glauco Venier, Gabriele Mirabassi, Alfred Kramer , Adelhard Roidinger,Christian Muthspiel, Peter O´Mara, Uli Rennert, Paolino dalla Porta, Francesco Sogiu, Wolfgang Puschnig, Bebo Ferra, Peter Herbert, Jamey Haddad, Uli Scherer, Dieter Ilg , Thomas Alkier, Wayne Darling, Fritz Pauer, John Hollenbeck, Riccardo Zegna, Henning Siewerts, Jarrod Cagwin… Klaus Gesing recently entered the realm of film music with two quite diverse projects: One is a complete soundtrack to the mute movie classical "Joan of Arc" (1928) by the Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer that he composed in collaboration with the Italian organplayer and composer Paolo Paroni. It is performed live with organ, soprano saxophone and a 30 piece choir.
His other and most recent work is a multi media performance based on the only film by Samuel Beckett: "Film". It was commissioned by the 16th Grabenfest , a widely renowned festival of contemporary composition in Vienna. "Film" is a solo performance, using two videoscreens, a huge pendulum, live improvisation plus electronics, and its basic soundtrack was composed using exclusively heartbeat-, breath- and clockwork sounds. Fascinated by the immense possibilities of the use of time and space in moving images, in both, the film itself but also in his public presentation - the work with films is going to represent one of the core-points of interest in the work of Klaus Gesing.
In 2008 a second CD ("Distances" ECM 2028) of his long term collaboration with the English vocalist Norma Winstone and the Italian pianist Glauco Venier was published for the German label ECM. The reactions of both public and press were more than enthusiastic - followed up by concert appearances at the festivals of Elmau/Ger, Vienne/FR, Vienna/A, Novara/I, Burgherio/I and concerts in theaters and clubs throughout Europe and the USA.
His second appearance on the Label ECM (in 2009) is marked by the publication of Anouar Brahem's "The Astounding Eyes of Rita", a CD that is dedicated to the memory of the lately deceised palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish. On this album Klaus Gesing appears playing only bassclarinet, an instrument that became more important to him during the collaboration with Norma Winstone and Glauco Venier.
Glauco Venier was born in Sedegliano Udine Italy the 8th of September 1962. He graduated in 1985 with a degree in Organ from the Conservatory in Udine. In 1986 he studied for one year jazz piano with Franco D'Andrea in Milan. In 1990 he recorded the first record for solo piano called "Finlandia" now property of Walt Disney Productions.
In 1991 he got a scholarship to study for two semesters in Boston at Berklee College of Music with Ray Santisi, Herb Pomeroy, Hal Crook and George Garzone. Since that year he has collaborated with important musicians on the international jazz scene such as: Kenny Wheeler, Toots Thielemans, Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Marc Johnson, Charlie Mariano, Joey Baron, Adam Nussbaum, Michael Gibbs, David Liebman, Enrico Rava, Paolo Fresu, Flavio Boltro, Cuong Vu, Matt Garrison, Abe Laboriel Jr and many others.
He has made concerts in Germany, Swizzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Luxenburg, England, U.S.A., Canada, Holland, Estonia, Serbia, Cech Republic, Poland, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Belgium. He has made broadcasts for the Italian, Austrian, German, American, English, Russian, Slovenian and Croatian national radio and television.
He recorded several CDs as a sideman and twelve CD's as a leader.In March 2008 a new CD for the ECM label was released called "Distances" where Glauco is involved with English singer Norma Winstone and German saxophone player Klaus Gesing. In the same year " Distances" had a Grammy Nomination in the vocal jazz category. He teaches in the Conservatory in Udine and conducts many Workshops in Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
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