- 1Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit05:15
- 5Ich bin ein reiner Tor04:49
- 11Von Welt zu Welt05:37
Info for Parsifal
The monumental becomes sensual and the sensual monumental: Parsifal is definitely another masterpiece of improvisation by Germany's leading bass player, Dieter Ilg.
Jazz and classical, Dieter Ilg knows both worlds well. Partly to learn about the history of music, he studied classical double bass at the Freiburg music academy though he had decided to become a jazz bass player at the age of 16.
Now one of the leading jazz bassists in Europe, Ilg has occupied himself for years with Guiseppe Verdi, a contemporary and Italian Counterpart of that most formidable, gigantic, and definitely most German of all opera composers, Richard Wagner. In a trio with pianist Rainer Böhm and drummer Patrice Héral, his subtle and unique interpretation of the famed Verdi opera 'Otello' in a studio recording and in the ACT live version 'Otello live at Schloss Elmau', Ilg elicited rave reviews from critics and audiences alike: 'It has been a long time since a trio has seemed as intertwined with each other as this one,' adjudged the NDR broadcasting company. 'If not already the case, Ilg, Böhm and Héral are now at least a perfect example of unfettered music making,' wrote Jazzthing. Norway's Jazznytt magazine summed it up with one word in its CD critique: 'Beautiful'. And consequently the double bass player was then honoured with the Echo Jazz Award 2011.
So it wasn't a giant leap from Verdi to Wagner, and least of all to his last opera, the 'sanctifying festival for the stage' ‘Parsifal’, which also lends its name to Ilg's latest ACT album. 'There are some overlaps,' says Ilg: 'The opening melody in the prelude to Wagner's Parsifal is similar to the famous double bass solo near the end of Verdi's Otello. Wagner completed many parts of his Parsifal compositions during his journeys to Verdi's homeland, before ultimately dying in Venice.'
Ilg's past occupation with mostly German and European folk melodies took him to Wolfram von Eschenbach. The epos 'Parzival' from the first decade of the 13th century is from him, and it fascinated Wagner and served him as inspiration. It deals with world religions, misunderstandings and irritations, with understanding and deliverance – themes that have obviously not become any less topical since Wagner, and that also affect Ilg. With this recording, the bassist is not forced to reinvent the wheel, but he is happy to be able to choose the path on which that wheel rolls.
On ‘Parsifal’ Dieter Ilg succeeds with an astonishingly logical, chamber musical reinterpretation of the opulent material. 'The monumental becomes sensual and the sensual monumental,' he explains, and demonstrates his seemingly unending creativity with impressive virtuosity and stylistic variability in each and every piece: The title of the first track 'Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit' indicates the tone of the album - an intensive, suspenseful and masterly game with opposing extremes. The bombastic 'Parsifal' motif alternates between the major and minor keys and is interpreted excitingly and openly; the hymnal is rendered playful; the 'Klageruf' sounds less plaintive than demanding and mighty, the 'Zaubergarten' enchants almost weightlessly, with light melancholy; Wagner's programmatic 'Ich bin ein reiner Tor” is condensed with a driving groove and towers up dramatically. And it suffices to hear how the impressive 'Amfortas' theme is introduced, varied upon, played around and injected with dynamism to see that this trio recognises the inexhaustible musical opportunities that classical music holds for jazz, and exploits them like no other.
Ilg approached his ‘Parsifal’ entirely without intellectualisation and free of inhibitions. There were almost no strict guidelines for his companions, 'We go with our intuition and enjoy the potential of the moment' the double bassist explains, 'That way the individual abilities of the musicians come out the best'. Rainer Böhm masters the situational challenge spectacularly again, and with magnificent derring-do, as does the French drummer Patrice Héral, who once again melodically and sensitively integrates himself in a way that few of his fellow percussionists master.
‘Parsifal’ is definitely another masterpiece of improvisation, which surprisingly ends with another famous German composer: an almost breathy version of Beethoven's 'Ode an die Freude” (Ode to Joy), Wagner is known to have been a passionate admirer of Beethoven. One of the focuses of his late work is the search for peace – both inner and outer,' Ilg explains. 'I would be happy if people hearing my Parsifal felt that peace of mind by the end of it.'
Dieter Ilg, bass
Rainer Böhm, piano
Patrice Heral, drums
Produced by Dieter Ilg
Executive Producer: Siggi Loch
Variations by Dieter Ilg after Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal, except “Sehnsucht” by Dieter Ilg after Ludwig van Beethoven
is regarded today as one of a handful of European musicians who make their unmistakable musical style a valuable contribution to the projects they work on. Whether it is as a internationally well-respected sideman or as band leader of his own ensembles: Ilg always combines the quality of the bass as a musical foundation with a graceful ease and expression that is rarely heard on a technically difficult instrument such as the double bass.
It is sometimes assumed that there are two kinds of bass players: those who 'groove' and accompany (serving mainly as a rhythmic presence) or those who - freeing themselves of the serving role - strive to explore their artistic heights as a soloist (displaying their versatility as virtuoso improvisers). Unlike many Dieter Ilg combines the two ends of this spectrum.
His versatile, individual, passionate and tasteful voice has become a valuable contribution to the international jazz arena.
At the age of six Dieter Ilg – then an experienced recorder player (in kindergarten) - learned to play the violin and the viola before deciding to play the double bass at the age of thirteen.
After four years of lessons at the music school in his home town Offenburg Ilg went on searching for new teachers. He studied with Norbert Brenner ( solo double bass player of the SWR Orchestra Baden-Baden) and later on attended Jazz courses in Burghausen, Remscheid and Tübingen, working with a wide variety of instructors and professionals.
From 1981 until 1985 Ilg refined his practical skills as well as his theoretical knowledge with Prof. Wolfgang Stert at the Musikhochschule Freiburg. Winning the Fulbright scholarship then enabled him to study at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City (1986/1987).
At this time he was already skilled enough to understand the art of musical structure as it was conveyed to him by such masters as Eddie Gomez and Miroslav Vitous. It was also then that he made his further experiences on the stage as a member of the Joe Viera Sextett (1981 - 1984) as well as with his first trio-project, co-founded with Klaus Ignatzek. Not before long he had built up a busy schedule performing with such players as Bobby Watson, Roman Schwaller or David Liebman.
It was Liebman who significantly influenced Ilg's decision to stay on in New York for a while when he invited him to join the John Coltrane Memorial Concert in NYC in January 1987. The future began to look exciting.
Seizing the moment Ilg founded his first Trio with guitarist John Schröder and drummer Wolfgang Haffner shortly after returning from New York. He also became a member of the Randy Brecker Quintet. Suddenly things were on a roll and he was awarded with the Baden-Württemberg Jazz Prize. The press said:
The brilliance and expression of his tone, the originality in the concept of his ensemble and his individual approach to harmony are fascinating.
Regular performances with the WDR Big Band, frequent tours in europe (for example a tour of Spain with Bennie Wallace ) and a new line up to his own trio - this time including pianist Marc Copland - is what followed. These collaborations resulted in the production of three CD's featuring drummers Bill Stewart, Ralph Penland and Jeff Hirshfield.
The 90's were a time of musical friction as well as for making decisions.
Daily business on one hand went well:
Since 1991 Ilg had toured with Germany's renowned Jazz formation, the Mangelsdorff/Dauner Quintet. The Goethe Institute sent him round the world playing with Christof Lauer and the working relationship with Copland had resulted in evermore interesting facets of sound. Ilg ventured into worldmusic and jazz-rock with the French-Vietnamese guitarist Nguyên Lê and drummer Danny Gottlieb, also the list of performances as a sideman kept growing longer and longer.
The only thing missing was the kind of recognizable and characteristic project that comes straight from the heart.
In searching for music that represented his roots Ilg finally found what he had been looking for in his work on Folk Songs (1997), Fieldwork (1998) and LIVEILG (2001).
The idea was a simple and obvious one: where else - other than your own native country - would you discover your cultural origins?
Ilg began exploring and arranging old German folk songs with his musical companions Wolfgang Muthspiel on guitar, Steve Argüelles on drums and – to begin with - Benoit Delbecq on piano.
The project was a huge success and toured for four years - so much so that in the end even the musicians themselves nearly got bored with songs like Im Märzen der Bauer and Winter Ade.
At last the German press caught attention and Dieter Ilg was recognized in his home country as the instrumental master that he was.
Still - even at this point labeled as a newcomer - he already brought new talent under way teaching at the Musikhochschule Freiburg (1995 - 1997, 2001ff).
It was European cuisine amongst other things and a woman that prevented him from locating in the USA permanently.
He developed a passion for culinary pleasures of a certain standard, which now has become a personal character trade. He gained a reputation as a chef and goutier, his recommendations for restaurants were highly esteemed and a 'dinner at Dieter Ilg's' achieved cult status.
When this became known to the magazine Jazzthing it offered him a regular column. Apart from his love for regional cuisine (Southern Germany as well as Italy and France) Ilg is a passionate supporter of Volker Finke's soccer concept. Finke worked succesfully for the SC Freiburg for 16 years, then followed by a two year stint at Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan and in 2011 an upcoming period as „manager of sports“ for german, traditional club 1.FC Köln.