The most well-known chorals and hymns stand as the foundation for one of the most exciting musical projects of the 1990s.
Critically acclaimed German jazz performers saxophonist Jan von Klewitz and pianist Markus Burger (picture) blend modern improvisation with the art of interpreting baroque music while preserving its integrity.
“Since the traditional notation of church hymns was always used by organists to improvise-even in the middle ages- we are reviving this concept which is very close to the principles of jazz”, Burger said in an interview.
Staying very near to the original melodies and canti firmi, the artists improvise in a linear manner as opposed to improvising over the harmonic structure, returning to one of the root principles of jazz.
Their choice of tunes shows that these old songs are true standards, able to compete with today’s best rock and soul ballads in emotional strength.
Both of the musicians have been brought up in the Christian tradition, with first-hand exposure to this music. Jan von Klewitz’s grandfather is none other than the world famous Lutheran minister, Martin Niemoeller.
The duo has toured through Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Poland and the US.
Both musicians play an important role in Germany’s contemporary music scene and received the coveted Bach 2000 award in the German city of Erfurt, for their innovative arrangement of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Spritual Standards is part of the Luther Decade, a 10-year build-up to 2017, the 500th anniversary of the reformation.
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