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CHRIS TORKEWITZ “NY ENSEMBLES”

Chris Torkewitz’s historic concert
with his Jazz Chamber Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra from 2013 is finally being released.

His adventurous writing, which includes a wide range of colorful tone colors for the ensembles,
inspires inventive solos.

Composer-arranger-saxophonist-flutist-pianist Chris Torkewitz had one of the highpoints of his many careers on March 21, 2013. He presented a concert of his original music performed by his Jazz Chamber Ensemble and his Jazz Orchestra, two ensembles formed specifically for the event. Nine years later, the full concert is being released for the first time, and it proves well worth the wait.

The Jazz Chamber Ensemble, which consists of clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, harp, piano, string bass, drums, and a string quartet, begins the special concert with Torkewitz’s four-part “Chamber Suite.” While most of the music was written out, clarinetist Jay Rattman and violinist Curtis Stewart get plenty of solo space. Rattman improvises during part of all three movements while Stewart joins him towards the end of “Farbtoene.” Both soloists are featured on “Seiltanz.”


The first movement, “Vista, ” uses an eccentric rhythm with unexpected accents, and climaxes with Rattman flying above the ensemble. The moody ballad “Farbtoene” has some unusual textures and builds in suspense and tension. Kathryn Andrews’ harp is prominent as are the improvisations of Rattman and Stewart. “Noticias” becomes more passionate as it evolves while the brief final movement, “Epilogo, ” has pianist Vicky Chow leading the way to its conclusion.


The 17-piece Jazz Orchestra takes over for the next few pieces. “Filou” has the band playing a harmonically complex and modernistic arrangement that is a bit reminiscent of Bob Brookmeyer. Drummer Austin Walker, a muted David Smith on trumpet, guitarist Olli Hirvonen, and soprano-saxophonist David Ashton (whose solo takes honors) are in the spotlight. “Steingarden” sets a mysterious mood and features tenor-saxophonist Jim Saltzman and trumpeter Smith. For the relatively straight ahead “T.S., ” a tentet is taken from the big band with Chris Torkewitz added on tenor and flute. The composer takes an excellent improvisation and there are also memorable statements from pianist Florian Hoefner and trumpeter Smith. The full orchestra returns for the ensemble-oriented “One for You” with Jay Rattman heard on alto. The Jazz Chamber Ensemble makes a final appearance on “Seiltanz” which is a musical depiction of the monotony yet excitement felt while taking many transatlantic flights. The string quartet from the group (PUBLIQuartet) concludes the concert with the brief farewell piece “Ausblick.”


Chris Torkewitz is originally from Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany. Classically trained on the piano from the age of five, he took up the alto and tenor a few years later, soon adding flute. Torkewitz began composing music at 18 and worked in a variety of projects in Germany including a Latin jazz trio and tentet. Moving to the United States, he earned degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, served on the school’s faculty, and led a trio. In 2014 he returned to Germany to become a professor of popular music at the University of Arts and Applied Sciences in Freiburg. Still, he has been back in the U.S. many times since, usually performing there half the year. Torkewitz also toured Canada, Syria, Cuba, and Central America. Refer to the CD booklet for his artist bio.


NY Ensembles took a long time to be released but its rewarding music is timeless, quite modern while being accessible, and unique. It features Chris Torkewitz’s very individual writing at its best.

Artist: CHRIS TORKEWITZ

Title: NY ENSEMBLES

Artist Website: www.torkewitz.com

Release Date: May 1, 2022

Label: goschart music

CD Catalog Number: GMUCD-03

CD UPC Code: 745240099543

180g Vinyl Double LP:

LP Catalog Number: GMU33-04

LP UPC Code: 745240099550

Track listing

Jazz Chamber Orchestra

1. Vista (Chamber Suite I; solo Jay Rattman - cl) 3:51

2. Farbtoene (Chamber Suite II; solos Jay Rattman-cl, Curtis Stewart - vln) 6:47

3. Noticias (Chamber Suite III; solo Jay Rattman - cl) 6:17

4. Epilogo (Chamber Suite IV; solo Vicky Chow - p) 0:37Jazz Orchestra

5. Filou (solos David Smith - tp, David Ashton - ss, Olli Hirvonen - gt, Austin Walker - dr) 13:47

6. Steingarden (solos David Smith - tp, Jim Saltzman - ts, Austin Walker - dr) 14:45

7. T.S. (Tentet; comp. by Chris Torkewitz; solos David Smith - tp, Chris Torkewitz - ts, Florian Hoefner - p) 11:35

8. One for You (solos Jay Rattman - as, Markus Schieferdecker - b) 6:58

9. Seiltanz (Chamber Orchestra; solos Jay Rattman - cl, Curtis Stewart - vln) 4:07

10. Ausblick (String Quartet; comp. by Chris Torkewitz) 2:23

All music composed & arranged by Chris Torkewitz

Total CD Time: 71:09

CHRIS TORKEWITZ JAZZ CHAMBER ENSEMBLE (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 9): Jay Rattman - cl, Curtis Stewart - vln, Vicky Chow - p, Kathryn Andrews - harp, Lisa Dispigno - fl, Amanda Gookin - cello, Aleksandr Karjaka - bass cl, Adam Matthes - viola, Jannina Norpoth - vln, Markus Schieferdecker - b, Austin Walker - dr, Chris Torkewitz - conductor; CHRIS TORKEWITZ JAZZ ORCHESTRA (Tracks 5, 6, 8): TRUMPET & FLÜGELHORN: Sam Hoyt (lead tp), David Smith, Dan Blankinship, John Raymond; TROMBONES: Tim Vaughn (lead), Bradley Madsen, Isaac Kaplan, Max Seigel (bass trb); SAXES & WOODWINDS: David Ashton - as & fl (8), ss (5, 6), Jay Rattman - as & fl (5, 6), Jim Saltzman, Ben Bryden - ts, Mat Schumer - bar sax & bass cl (6); RHYTHM: Olli Hirvonen - gt, Florian Hoefner - p, Markus Schieferdecker - b, Austin Walker - dr, Chris Torkewitz - conductor; CHRIS TORKEWITZ TENTET (Track 7): Sam Hoyt - tp (lead), David Smith - tp, Isaac Kaplan - trb, Max Seigel - bass trb, Jay Rattman - as, Chris Torkewitz - ts & fl, Mat Schumer - bar sax, Florian Hoefner - p, Markus Schieferdecker - b, Austin Walker - dr; PUBLIQuartet (Track 10): Curtis Stewart, Jannina Norpoth - vln, Adam Matthes - viola, Amanda Gookin - cello
 
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