kanoe – Since You’ve Asked ( Releasedate: 03.11.2023)
kanoe / Since You’ve Asked
Großartige Songs aus dem reichen Fundus der Popularmusik von Scott Walker über Robert Wyatt bis St. Vincent. Auf ihren Wesenskern reduziert, in ein neues Licht getaucht und niemals übermotiviert vorgetragen. Lyrischer Jazz, Kontemplation.
Pianist, Arrangeur und Produzent Uwe Schenk hatte mit Jochen Feucht (reeds), Florian Dohrmann (b) und Michael Kersting (dr) bei den Aufnahmen zu dieser LP drei äußerst routinierte Musiker an seiner Seite. Musiker, die die Schönheit der Reduktion schätzen. Die Auswahl der Songs übernahm Co-Produzent Andreas Vogel. Der DJ und Musikconnaisseur wusste dabei genau, welche Stücke bei Uwe Schenk auf fruchtbaren Boden fallen würden. Schenk schrieb daraufhin sieben Arrangements, die die Grundlage von Since You’ve Asked bilden. Im Jazzidiom verankert, mit einem Fokus auf Holzbläserklängen, sorgt vor allem das warme Timbre der Klarinette für den unverbrauchten und frischen Sound der Stücke.
Beste Voraussetzungen für eine entspannte Recording-Session und im Ergebnis eine LP, die den Hörer dazu einlädt, sich ganz dem Klang hinzugeben, um tief in die Musik einzutauchen.
Jochen Feucht: all reeds
Uwe Schenk: piano
Florian Dohrmann: bass
Michael Kersting: drums
All arrangements by Uwe Schenk, except Share a Little Love in Your Heart by Uwe Schenk & Florian Dohrmann
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Uwe Schenk, 2022 / 2023
Coverpainting by Diemut Hoschar
Artwork by Gert Albrecht
Produced by Uwe Schenk & Andreas Vogel
When piano player and arranger Uwe Schenk was asked by drummer Michael Kersting to record together, an album of ballads seemed most in order. Besides, Uwe Schenk wanted to do one. Asked why, he said, “Variety“. Meaning a change of pace. And perhaps he wanted to show those who have forgotten how beautiful and lyrical jazz can be.
Donald Byrd once said, “After all these years of playing, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most difficult things to do is play a melody straight and play it well, with good tone and feeling“.
That is what Uwe Schenk and his fellow musicians do in this album: extraordinary reed player Jochen Feucht, versatile, restrained, but highly emotional; and a smart bass player, Florian Dohrmann, who has the right sound and locks in with the excellent drummer.
Up-tempo playing presents one set of difficulties; ballads present another. An unrecovered error is more conspicuous in a ballad than in a stream of high-speed notes.
Uwe Schenk didn’t want to play jazz standards in this record, other musicians before him did that quite well. He looked for other sources: adventurous pop with a certain kind of depth. “You know me, I’m a lover, not a fighter” says the musician, smiling, and true it is. This is music to ease your pain, to make things right, to contemplate. Music that touches your soul, if you are willing to listen.
The album begins with Robert Wyatt’s Shipbuilding, maybe one of the greatest political pop songs ever written and the finest work of Elvis Costello and Clive Langer. The critic Sam Kemp wrote „Langer’s sauntering jazz progressions suffused the words with real tenderness, as though we were being sung a lullaby and a protest anthem at the same time.“ Sadly, songs about the relationship between war and prosperity are today as relevant as in the times of the Falklands War.
St. Vincent`s New York is a song about loss, mourning the end of a romance. Or so it seems. Or is it a song about the passing of David Bowie and Prince and personal growth inside the Big Apple? Anyway, it’s a benign and lovely song: “You’re the only motherf—er in the city who can handle me”.
Another slow burner is It´s Raining Today by Scott Walker. This one is a real treat for Uwe and his band. They paint a picture as dark grey and as lively as it gets – observing from a distance: “It’s raining today / And I watch the cellophane streets / No hang-ups for me / Cause hang-ups need company”.
The magnificent At Last I Am Free by Chic inspired Uwe to write one of his most daring arrangements. The Financial Times called the song “the cracked soul of disco“ and “a vulnerable admission of disenchantment and alienation“. A worldly gospel song by the greatest disco band of all time, kanoe plays the song as a haunting lament and a reflection on transience.
Since You’ve Asked by Judy Collins was the first track that Uwe Schenk and myself chose for this album. It has everything: melody, drama, pensiveness, elegance. Like a folky rendition of a Bacharach song: “Take the lilies and the lace / From the days of childhood / All the willow winding paths / Leading up and outward / This is what I give / This is what I ask you for, nothing more“.
Alicia Keys’ If I Ain´t Got You is transformed by kanoe into a relaxed conversation. Gone is the fiery and tense feeling of the original – here, there’s a false sense of objectivity and only with the chorus melancholy takes its place. We all know that loneliness is a changing part in our lives, an experience that every human being has to face, but this interpretation of the song works kind of like a sober memory of a drunken night.
With Share a Little Love In Your Heart by Love Unlimited, written by the one and only Barry White, we come full circle. This is it: an album of ballads on vinyl, made to listen at home, alone or with your lover. No crowd pleaser, no dinner jazz for the faint of heart, no musical supernova. Each of these tracks is fascinating in itself. When placed together, as they are here, the seven pieces not only comprise an unusual and satisfying listening experience, but effectively document the fact, that every now and then music, jazz music, maybe only for the length of a record, can make the world a better place.
Andreas Vogel, DJ