Christian Muthspiel with Franck Tortiller, Steve Swallow, Mathieu Michel

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Christian Muthspiel with Franck Tortiller, Steve Swallow, Mathieu Michel – Seaven Teares - A Tribute to John Dowland

  • 30 Sep 2015 — 1 Oct 2015
  • 8:00PM
Photo by Berenice Hebenstreit
Photo by Berenice Hebenstreit

Vortex Jazz Club

11 Gillett SquareLondon N16 8AZ


450 years after the birth of composer John Dowland, Christian Muthspiel, together with Franck Tortiller, Steve Swallow and Mathieu Michel embarks on a journey to explore the ways in which the 'Sound of Elizabethan England', with its sketchy and enigmatic notation, can be translated into today‘s language of jazz. Join them for two special nights at the Vortex.

"As long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the music of the Renaissance, with its polyphonic interweaving of voices that seemingly float on forever, unimpeded by bar lines. Now, 450 years after the birth of John Dowland, I have embarked with my fellow musicians on yet another journey to explore the ways into which the “Sound of Elisabethan England”, with its sketchy and enigmatic notation, can be translated into today‘s language of jazz.

Interestingly, when you compare the stylistics of the modern era with those of the Renaissance, you can see the importance that improvisation has held in the music of Dowland and his contemporaries. All of the compositions in this recording are based on Dowland‘s “Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares” instrumental cycle, in which seven different types of figurative tears are rendered polyphonically by five violas da gamba and a lute.

The metamorphoses I propose stay close to the thematic content of the originals and use the special quality of Dowland’s lines and the resulting harmonies as fundamental structural elements to be rethought, modified and reinterpreted in a new context. In this way, seeds from Dowland’s masterpieces from the turn of the 16th to the 17th century have grown into new works that lie somewhere in the creative field between chamber music and jazz and serve as frameworks for interaction and improvisation within our quartet." (Christian Muthspiel, translation by Karin Kaminker)  

2 Concerts:

Wednesday 30 September, 8pm
Thursday 1 October, 8pm

Christian Muthspiel – trombone, piano, e-piano, compositions

Matthieu Michel – trumpet, flugelhorn

Franck Tortiller – vibraphone

Steve Swallow – bass 

>> “charming and surprising” (THE GUARDIAN) “an absorbing listen“ (THE OBSERVER)


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