DW Jazz Concerts: Christopher Dell and trio with Bob Degen

2 Mar

Legendary American pianist Bob Degen joined Christopher Dell, Christian Lillinger and Jonas Westergaard, the members of the DLW trio, for this episode, which is a live recording of their concert at the 2021 Jazzfest in Bonn.


Dell is not just a vibraphonist and composer. He's also an urban design theorist. His work is influenced by motives, themes and questions of the contemporary city. According to him, the city is an improvisational process affected by actors, things, actions, discourses and so on. "Being driven by [these] motives, his work can take on different forms — such as writing a book, teaching urban design and architecture theory, playing or composing music..." according to his website.

Jazz from Germany, the US and Denmark

Dell's fellow musician, Christian Lillinger, was also part of the trio that played at the 2021 Jazzfest. He was born in 1984 in Brandenburg, in eastern Germany, and studied with the famous German drummer and percussionist Günter Sommer, who is considered one of Europe's first Free Jazz musicians, with a focus on harmonically and rhythmically free improvisation. Lillinger was part of the German youth jazz orchestra, the Bundesjazzorchester, from 2001 to 2003. He also composes music and has been a member of the DLW trio since 2018, when it was formed under the name of Ensemble Stefanovich Dell Lillinger Westergaard (SDLW).

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Contrabassist Jonas Westergaard is from Copenhagen and has been active in the Danish and German jazz and improvisation scenes since the 1990s. He's played extensively with several jazz musicians, including German pianist Michael Wollny, Danish saxophonist and composer Benjamin Koppel, and German pianist and composer Marc Schmolling, among others.

The legendary jazz pianist Bob Degen was born in Pennsylvania, US, in 1944. He began learning the piano when he was only four years old and had his first public performance at 10 with his father, who was also a musician. In 1961, he went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and took lessons with pianist Margaret Chaloff, who had instructed such musicians as Herbie Hancock and  Steve Kuhn. Degen has played extensively in Europe since the 1960s and usually performs in trios. He moved to Germany in 1974.

What you'll be listening to

The concert in Bonn included a world premiere of Dell, Lillinger and Westergaard's newly composed music, inspired by the likes of Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner. The first piece is a "suite" dedicated to the album "Third Stream" (1960) by The Modern Jazz Quartet. The group, which traced its roots to jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's big band in the 40s and 50s, played a combination of cool jazz, bebop and classical music. Its members included the pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, double bassist Percy Heath and drummer Conny Kay.

Next you will be listening to some abstract "sketches" by the trio and Bob Degen, followed by a final piece called "Superloader." That's all for this edition of DW Jazz Concerts hosted by Manasi Gopalakrishnan. The show was produced by Thomas Schmidt and Christian Stäter, with editorial support from Anastassia Boutsko. DW and Jazzfest Bonn own all rights to the music recorded at this concert in Bonn, 2021. 


Author Manasi Gopalakrishnan

Edited by: Cristina Burack

Permalink - https://p.dw.com/p/4NpPe 

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