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Sunday, February 4, 2024

Oliver Schwerdt - Sunday Interview

Oliver Schwerdt. Photo by Christian Hüller

  1. What is your greatest joy in improvised music?

    Since I am not only an improvising artist the unrivaled joy I gain in improvised music sums up to a triadically dimensioned pleasure: while choosing the artists for the next ensemble I already enjoy the music we supposedly are going to realize throughout activating my sonic imagination, while on stage I enjoy the feeling of the vast freedom of speech based on the chosen personal vocabulary and material that needs instantaneously to be activated within the thrill of situational concretization during the actual energized communicating streams of exploring interplay, while experiencing the captured sonic document afterwards I enjoy literally focusing a scenic imagination.

  2. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?

    Within the most important thing of reliability in the personal style of the collaborators, I admire their ability to react and act with surprisingly and convincing statements and their ability to contribute to a foreground of a solo passage with wisely supportive accompaniment. Sometimes the greatest beauty occurs when guys like Christian Lillinger and Baby Sommer choose a minimalistic way in accompanying or when a guy like Peter Brötzmann steps back to let his co-workers explode in the absence of his line.

  3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most?

    Frank Zappa, the inventor of Läther : the frappant conceptional i.e. partially humorous edition of multiple musical styles.

  4. If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?

    I am a big fan of resurrection. Without any doubt in terms of necessity I would have to resurrect Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, because there is nothing that can complete the dynamic musicality realized by my vital duo interplay with Lillinger than his lively altissimo. But, in exploiting the phantastique dimension of the question more seriously: Let’s take Peter Kowald, who died in the year I invited Baby Sommer for the first time: I can hear him in a crunchy quartet with an earlier state of Anthony Braxton and Baby Sommer, also I can hear his sort of mystic tone in one of my legendary doubled double bass quintets with Tomasz Stanko, who, as we know, died, in the year I already have been talking to him for a participation in such.

  5. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?

    I would like to be asked for curating an annual week of improvising workshops presenting the further development of my solo piano work, igniting some more first-time duo-encounters and continuing my larger sound focusing ensemble works without concerning about the financing by myself. These annual weeks should happen twice a year, both in California, Japan and, of course, in Switzerland. 

  6. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like?

    Yes, I do love the B e a t l e s. The sound of the first album of the F o o F i g h t e r s sets me into heaven as well as the music of Michael Haves‘ S u p e r 7 0 0.

  7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    Oh, that’s funny: Since I am king of myself, I can change everything.

  8. Which of your albums are you most proud of?

    The trio album with Baby Sommer and Barry Guy called One For My Baby And One More For The Bass .

  9. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often?

    Yes, I do, when I hold the final record in my hands, it’s like listening to the music for the first time. I can’t change anything anymore, so, without any productional thoughts, I can really listen to the music. On average let’s say I listen to every record every five years once or twice.

  10. Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?

    Probably Kind of Blue. But mostly I choose Alexander von Schlippenbach‘s Twelve Tone Tales and C i r c l e ‘ s Paris-Concert to inspire me when I am preparing an upcoming concert.

  11. What are you listening to at the moment?

    Driving the car, Pat Metheny’s American Garage.

  12. What artist outside music inspires you?

    Kliff Lanzarote, the girlfriend of Friedrich Kettlitz‘ sister Sirina Lipett-Buff.
(Editors note: text formatting kept as submitted)

Recordings by Oliver Schwerdt reviewed on the Free Jazz Blog: