Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Ekkehard Jost (1939 - 2017)
By Martin Schray
Last week Ekkehard Jost, one of the most astute writers about free jazz, passed away. Jost was a musicologist and played the baritone saxophone. He was a member of Amman Boutz, the Sommer/Jost Duo and Grumpff, with whom he released the excellent Wetterau on FMP/SAJ. In 1974 his reputation spread outside Germany with Free Jazz - The Roots of Jazz, still one of the most significant works on the subject. The chapter on Cecil Taylor was considered a revelation by the American critic, Gary Giddins, and his later contribution to the booklet accompanying FMP's Cecil Taylor in Berlin '88 is masterful. Europas Jazz, Sozialgeschichte des Jazz in den USA and Jazzgeschichten aus Europa are essential (if you read German). Jost wrote insightfully, but was always readable, never descending into Academese. He will surely be missed.
Thanks to Ekkehard Jost and his invaluable work for example I finally understood the importance of Don Cherry in the definition of the Coleman quartet and of th New Thing affair
I do not read German. I would be very interested to see a more detailed English-language obituary (Google Translate does a very poor job of translating German!).
Sad news, indeed.
I had repeatedly contact with Ekkehard Jost over the last 15 years.
His seminal study of European Free Jazz "Europa's Jazz 1960-1980" which I've discovered the year it was issued made me aware of the richness this "musical streams" had to offer.
He was a man with distinct opinions and his double profession as a musician and as theorist made his insights all the more valuable.
With his ideas and findings he proofed to be a generous person.
All this peppered with an astute and subtle humour which contained more than a grain of irony.
A connaisseur of the beautiful sides of life he eschewed any form idleness.
I miss him.
I remember the old days in the "Oktave" with all the Giessen jazz freaks. RIP Ekki.
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