Tales of Our Times Chris Jarrett

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  • Chris Jarrett (1956):
  • 1The Darkening10:43
  • 2Autumn Music (Hommage à Scriabin)05:56
  • 3Blues Berceuse12:17
  • 4Jazz Dungeons03:45
  • 5Homamage à Mozart (Andante cantabile)06:16
  • 6Fractures08:18
  • 7Gloomy Chanting06:48
  • 8Scherzo03:55
  • 92 Slavic Dances03:57
  • 10Introduction - Solemn March11:09
  • Total Runtime01:13:04

Info for Tales of Our Times

For decades now, the U.S.-born pianist and composer Chris Jarrett has been living in Germany. Jazz, classical, avant-garde and ethnic styles merge stunningly in his music. For this reason, he is often referred to by music journalists as a "rebel" against the "piano-establishment". The music of Chris Jarrett is vital and impulsive, full of breaks and surprises and rarely fits into the usual categories of the music industry. For Chris Jarrett, Frank Zappa is an equally valuable model as are the masters of the Baroque or the Renaissance. No wonder his repertoire ranges from atonal miniatures, to sonatas, film scores, ballet and opera. "When pressing the keys with such energy, such pianistic fury, but also with such brilliance and subtlety of attack, while virtually incorporating the bulky instrument ... [he awakens] associations to the mythical Centaur - half human, half piano ... full of fantasy, original, bursting with energy and technically perfect." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) This new release is a truly remarkable album of his original compositions for piano.

Chris Jarrett, piano

Chris Jarrett
Chris Jarrett, son of a Slavic family, was born in 1956 in Allentown, PA and grew up in the woods of the Appalachians. He began to play the piano at the age of 13 and got lessons free of charge from the great Austrian pianist Vinzent Ruzicka. After finishing school he studied piano and music history at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Unhappy with the elitist attitude there and penniless, he started his wandering years. He worked and lived as a shrimp fisherman on the Gulf of Mexico, factory worker in Texas, office clerk in New York City and kitchen help in London. These jobs pro- vided his basic expenses and at the same time gave him insight into diverse ways of living. He ended up in Europe. His carreer begins in 1985 in Oldenburg, Germany. There he dedicates himself again to music, converting his experiences of his youth and wandering years into music. During this time his first records ("Dance On The Volcano", "Outcry") as well as the ballet music "For Anne Frank" and his first symphonic work ("... Loves Me Not") appear.

From 1988 to 1989 he teaches at the Carl-Von-Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, gets involved into more live performing and composes film music, such as "Happy End" (Dir. W. Pfeiffer), and the choreodrama "Long Play" for the National Theatre Subotica under Nada Kokotovic. From 1989 to 1994 Chris Jarrett performs in Poland, Italy, the USA, and the Soviet Union. His CD "Fire" is re- leased and he writes the film music for "Faust" (Dir. W. Murnau). From 1994 to 1996 he tours Europe with his film music to the silent movie "Battleship Potemkin" (Dir. Sergej Eisenstein). He works on his opera "Donne - A Poetic Opera" and his CD "Live in Tübingen" is released.

On the occasion of an award to the German President Richard von Weizsäcker he performs his dance theater composition "Hands". The collaboration with D. Petzold, G. Pietsch and H. Naehring results into a composition for declaimer and ensemble called "Wege" ("Paths"). Im summer 1996 he performs in Tunisia with the lute player Zin-El-Abidine in concerts and TV shows. These con- certs result in the formation of the international group "Les Musiciens du Monde" with base in Tu- nis, Tunisia. In 1997, aside from continuing concert appointments in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France, Chris Jarrett receives a commision for a "Gesamtkunstwerk" together with the German artist Isabelle Federkeil. This pieces utilizes sculptures and paintings of this artist within church walls together with Jarrett's oratorium for chorus, organ and 3 trombones: "Salvations 3?" (Original title: "Erlösungen 3?").

After several concerts in Texas, where he becomes acquainted with the Mexican guitarist Roberto Limon, he begins to write a guitar concerto. He also finishes recording sessions with the famous Hungarian violinist Zoltan Lantos and completes an extremely successful solo-piano-tour of the concert halls of the Ukraine. In 1998, besides his normal concert schedule, he finishes 2 larger compositions: "Spes Unica" (for 2 singers and chamber ensemble) and "The Ommmmm Cantata" (for women's choir and rock band). In 1999, he continues touring as a solist, but also concertizes with such musicians as Zoltan Lantos, Ramesh Shotham and Urna Chahar Tugchi. He also dedi- cates 1999/2000 to the completion of his opera "John Donne", which hinders more extensive con- certizing. Chris Jarrett tours in Poland, Germany, Yugoslavia and France in 2001/2002, but dedi- cates himself to the foundation of the Chris Jarrett Trio as well. Along with such musicians as W. Dauner and D. R. Davies, the trio concertizes for the opening of the Theaterhaus Stuttgart in April, 2003. This year also sees the premiere of Shakespeare's Romeo and Julia in the Young Person's Theater, Düsseldorf (Germany) under Guido Schumacher's direction and with new stage music by Chris Jarrett.

During a solo-tour of Serbia in November, Chris Jarrett plays in the renowned Kolarac Hall, Bel- grade ("Carnegie Hall of the Balkan") where he is rewarded by a thunderously thankful audience. The commission of the Greek pianist Joula Zografou leads to the composition of "Suite Grecque". This Suite (scored for 2 pianos, clarinet und percussion) is based on the dance-rhythms of tradi- tional Greek music, but leads them directly into the 21st century by means of new harmonisations and modern variation techniques. First performances take place in Athens, Thebes and Alexan- droupolis. Solo and trio concerts take Chris Jarrett to Austria, Switzerland, Bavaria and Morocco in May of 2004.

In September, the premiere of the artistic documentary-film "Geträumtes Leben - Gelebter Traum" ("Dreamed Life - Living Dream" - Karl-Heinz Heilig, director / Chris Jarrett, music) takes place. The end of the year takes him to Cairo, Egypt where "Suite Grecque" is performed in the Opera House. The beginning of 2005 sees the founding of a new ensemble: Four Free. Three of France's most talented improvising musicians (Adrien Dennefeld, electric guitar; Jérôme Fohrer, double-bass; and Pascal Gully, drums) and Chris Jarrett make up this "chamber-hardcore" ensemble with it's own very special sound. The same year witnesses the creation of a piece written especially for per- formance during the soccer world championship in Germany in 2006. "Viertelfinale" (semifinale) for 11 strings and conductor/referee consists of motives translating a football game (and not without humor) into the language of contemporary music.

Ivan Shaoki Jarrett is born near Paris in October, 2006. Chris Jarrett moves there, shortly before his sons birth where he remains for 1 1/2 years, almost completely ignoring his musical carrier dur- ing this time. He returns to Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate) at the beginning of 2008 renewing his compositional work. In 2009 Chris Jarrett begins work with the virtuoso Turkish saz-player and composer Ismael Türker, tours Germany and Canada with his new solo programm and revises and teaches his 2-year long course "Music in History". In September, the first CD of his Quartet "Four Free", "Wax Cabinet" is released.

Besides solo concerts and piano workshops, in 2010 Chris Jarrett is accompanying the reknowned soprano Jayne Casselman in song recitals, touring with "Four Free" (amongst other venues, at the Vienna and the Pula Jazz Festivals) and composing a commissioned work for the Offenbach Festi- val in Bad Ems, Germany. His music derives from an urge to communicate. The music is as diverse as his ideas, which he transforms into music. He ignores any dictates of style. Chris Jarrett utilizes the structures of clas- sical music and the freedom of jazz improvisation. He combines the love for forms of development with jazz energy. The spectrum of his expression is wide: wild, rhythmical, ironic, epic, melancholic, bizarre, mystical and jazzy. He has been inpired by diverse musical styles from different times and composers. Great influences to be heard in his music come from Johannes Ockeghem, Sergej Prokofiev, Charles Mingus and Frank Zappa.

This album contains no booklet.

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