CDR Just Music ensembles
The first two tracks were recorded in the main cathedral of Frankfurt am Main during a mass in 1968. At that time, some priests in Frankfurt were reaching out to young people by inviting rock groups, etc. into the service. In my case it was a Catholic priest who had seen John Coltrane perform and was a big modern jazz fan. So he asked Just Music (JuMu) if we wanted to play at the Dom, which is the biggest church in Frankfurt — a huge hall. In still moments of the recording you can hear the priest’s voice celebrating the mass.
There was a Protestant minister also in Frankfurt who sympathized with JuMu’s music. In 1967 he had invited me to play church organ with JuMu violinist/clarinetist Witold Teplitz accompanying on drums, next to the altar. On instruments we had no experience or training on, we both played in a totally free manner. He called it atonal music. (Some time after, a teacher asked me if I still played this “atomic” (atomar) music — he meant atonal music, but I couldn't help laughing, convinced that he had created a more fitting term.) The minister who had invited us was named Dieter Schnebel. He shortly left the priesthood and became famous as a New Music composer. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Schnebel
Tracks 3 and 5 were recorded at “Centrum Freier Cunst“ / Fuchshohl Studio. These performances occurred a year apart from each other; track 5 features Witold Teplitz playing his violin perched upright upon his knees – as seen in the JuMu TV performance: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHHT4OlaDns&feature=channel_page
Track 4 was made at a radio station as part of the series “Treffpunkt Jazz“ (Meeting Point Jazz). I still have the recorded talk with the two hosts, very important guys at that time (one was chief editor of the “Jazzpodium“). They said that they missed form and style in JuMu’s performance (“too free“), comparing us to groups in Stuttgart, the Modern Jazz Quintet Karlsruhe and Frederic Rabold’s group. They had those qualities we were supposed to lack. These commentators really were missing the point: our 100% open improv WAS the form and WAS the style of each tune. A similar misunderstanding of JuMu happened again soon after, at a Duesseldorf concert curated by Sigfried Schmidt-Joos who also missed the point. Nowadays such blindness of the managing VIPs seems ridiculous. But in those days when the split between amateurs and professionals ruled their thinking some critics emanated an ice-cold anti-recognition.
In 1969 we were all young, around nineteen or twenty years old (Herrmann was the exception, at twenty-six). I don't recall any of us being interested in what was going on in the Pop world – it would have been below our horizon. Probably unconsciously, we all tried to look older. We affected beards; Witold smoked cigars and pipe.
The last two tracks were recorded in a Prague radio studio before a live audience, who listened with attentive concentration. After the concert they told us they'd all been deeply touched by our passion and seriousness. This was just after the so-called Prague Spring revolution in 1968, which had been put down harshly by the Soviets. For the audience, JuMu had somehow touched off a profound emotional recall of their political and human losses — a time when all hope seemed lost. (In 1983, I played in Prague again with "Cassiber", and the audience were similarly moved.)